Aucklanders will be asked to pay $21 or $48 a year in their rates to protect kauri trees from a deadly disease.
Auckland councillors voted yesterday to present two options to contain the spread of kauri dieback disease which has already led to more than a dozen tracks in the Waitakere Ranges being closed as an immediate measure.
The options will be part of the new 10-year budget, which goes out for public consultation between February 28 and March 28 next year.
We should start from the position of what does it take to run this city
At present the council has just $5 million set aside over the next 10 years to control kauri dieback. There is an 80 per cent risk of the disease spreading with this spend.
The $21 option will provide an extra $83m over 10 years and reduce the risk of kauri dieback spreading to 30 per cent to 50 per cent. The $48 option will provide another $100m and reduce the risk of the disease spreading to 10 per cent to 20 per cent.
Both options are part of a proposed environment targeted rate that also includes increased spending on plant and pest control and biodiversity
An amendment for a third option to spend an extra $113m that would have tipped the overall rates rise to 3 per cent was lost by 12 votes to 9.
Environment committee chairwoman and Waitakere councillor Penny Hulse was happy to support the $113m measure for a slightly larger rates increase to benefit the environment.
"We should be starting from the position of what does it take to run this city for the next 10 years," Hulse said.
She was referring to a deal worked out between Mayor Phil Goff and finance committee chairman Ross Clow that sees all the different components of next year's rates add up to an overall rates increase of 2.5 per cent, a key election promise by Goff.
Goff has dropped an unpopular interim transport levy that saw rates rise by 4.8 per cent in 2015 and introduced a water quality targeted rate that will push up rates by 2.8 per cent and council's preference for the $48 environment targeted rate that will push up rates by 2.5 per cent.
The transport levy is being replaced with a regional petrol tax of 11.5c a litre that will raise between $130m and $150m a year to be spent on transport.
Goff said if the Government does not have the petrol tax "done and dusted" by the end of next year he will have to reintroduce the transport levy until the tax is passed into law.
The new budget, he said, will stop the trend towards gridlock and fix the problem of diluted sewage pouring into the harbour, beaches and streams every time it rains within 10 years, not the 30 years as previously planned.
A household in the average valued house of $1.08m will pay $66 a year, or $1.30 a week, for the proposed water quality targeted rate.
Because the targeted rates are set using the value of properties, someone living in a $500,000 home will pay $30 and $123 for a $2m property.