The first peek at Mayor Phil Goff's 10-year budget for the Super City is going down well with councillors, but a petrol tax to pay for a better city is drawing widespread criticism.
The petrol tax, approved by the new Government, is the key feature of Goff's proposed budget.
It is likely be set at 10c a litre plus GST, taking the cost for motorists to 11.5c. It will raise $130 million to $150m.
You have grasped the huge concerns Aucklanders have expressed for the state of our waterways, the state of our harbours and the state of the environment.
Aucklanders yesterday slammed the tax as a "tax upon a tax" and several readers pointed out petrol already had GST.
"How many times can you milk this cow?" asked one reader.
Several people were concerned about the flow-on effect the tax might have on the cost of public transport and even goods such as food - a view shared by National Road Carriers chief executive David Aitken, who said truckies had low margins and higher costs would be passed on to consumers.
Others supported the tax, hoping it would encourage people to move to public transport or electric vehicles.
At yesterday's finance committee meeting where Goff formally released his budget proposal, councillors Daniel Newman and Linda Cooper expressed concerns about the impact of higher petrol prices for low income workers in their respective Manurewa-Papakura and West Auckland wards.
"It is going to be tough for them," Cooper said.
A 2014 council study into transport funding options found a rates and fuel tax mix would lead to Auckland's most vulnerable households paying 15 per cent of the extra charges.
Goff said Aucklanders preferred a regional fuel to other options, such as a general rates rise, road tolls or selling strategic assets.
The extra income from the fuel provides up to $7 billion of extra spending over the next 10 years to help ease congestion, improve the housing crisis and reduce sewage pouring into the city's harbours.
Goff received strong backing from councillors for the general thrust of the budget, with praise from Penny Hulse for proposing targeted rates to improve water quality and the environment.
"You have grasped the huge concerns Aucklanders have expressed for the state of our waterways, the state of our harbours and the state of the environment," she said.
But Hulse also expressed a view shared by other councillors that the fiscal constraints council is working under are placing pressure on cultural facilities and the spend on parks and recreation.
Councillors Desley Simpson and Richard Hills challenged Goff's assumption the Auckland Art Gallery's finances were not as bad as claimed. Goff has suggested the institution charge overseas visitors to increase its income.
North Shore councillor Chris Darby also called for a rethink on a proposed region-wide water rate so it is fairer for residents north of the Harbour Bridge.
Councillors will make decisions on the proposed budget on December 11 for it to go out to consultation in March. It comes into effect in July next year.