Mayor Andrew King has held firm with his rate rise by proposing a 15.5 per cent rise in his 10 year plan.

King released his 10 year plan for the city today where he proposed a 15.5 per cent rate rise, one per cent off the original 16.5 he put to the table at the start of November.

"I am a businessman and what is driving me is balancing our books," King said.

"I am not here to try and be a popular mayor at the expense of running our books in an unbalanced manner."


"I'm prepared to sacrifice my popularity to do what is right for the future of our city."

King and council chief executive Richard Briggs said the 15.5 per cent rise is due to the cost incurred by the operation of the city.

"15.5 are because of the growth that has already happened," Briggs said.

"If we want to maintain an acceptable level of service across the city then we need to put those costs up."

The rates rise was not the only surprise in King's plan as he wants to buy out buildings on Victoria St in between Victoria on the River and the proposed site for the Waikato Regional Theatre at the Hamilton Hotel.

He plans to demolish the buildings occupying that space and create a city central park.

The total cost of purchasing the properties is $20 million.

"This is about opening the city to the river," King said.


"We've had mayor after mayor talk about opening the city to the river and nobody has done anything about it."

The proposed plan will also axe future Destination Playgrounds for Hamilton, with the mayor wanting to focus on creating new neighbourhood playgrounds.

The option would deliver new or upgraded playgrounds over 10 years at a cost of $3m capital expenditure.

Hamilton has seven Destination Playgrounds already another eight were proposed to be built in the original playgrounds for the future plan.

"What we have been neglecting is the neighbourhood playgrounds and that is where we are channelling the money into those local playgrounds."

Hamilton Gardens will also be getting a redesign in the mayor's proposed budget, but an entry fee will be added to the theme gardens.

King wants to implement an entry fee for non-Hamilton residents for those over the age 18 which will eventually increase to $25 when the 13 new gardens proposed are completed.

"It is only for those inner themed gardens, our Disney Land."

"Hamilton ratepayers are paying $2 million a year to maintain those gardens and another $2 million to finish those gardens and I don't believe the burden should be purely on Hamilton ratepayers."

Elected members will discuss King's 10-year plan at the council meeting on December 6.

Key points

• 15.5 per cent rates rise

• No further Destination Playgrounds

• Entry fee to the Hamilton Gardens

• Opening the city up to the river

• Close Hamilton's I-Site