Auckland mayoral hopeful John Tamihere's vow to freeze rates, if elected, is being met with scepticism, with one local ratepayers' association calling it a hollow promise.

Tamihere has come out swinging in his campaign to be the city's next mayor, announcing overnight that he will put a hold on rates rises for the next three years.

He would also ask that landlords freeze rent hikes during that time - but would do so based on the goodwill of landlords, rather than enforcement.

But some have laughed at the pledge, saying more was needed to back it up, rather than just a statement.


Titirangi Residents and Ratepayers Association chairwoman, Mels Barton, laughed when told about Tamihere's vow, saying: "Good luck with that."

"I don't think freezing rates is realistic. A lot of people voted to have their targeted rates for the next 10 years to fight kauri die-back and to clean up water on our beaches."

She said there was a commitment there from ratepayers - as well as from the Auckland Council - that money would be spent dealing with those particular issues.

"We would certainly be very disappointed if that wasn't followed through with; because that's a 10-year programme."

Barton said although people would be happy not to pay anything at all, the reality was that it cost money to run a city.

"If you want good public transport, you want clean water to swim in and you want your forests to survive for the next generation, then that costs money.

Auckland mayoral candidates Phil Goff and John Tamihere. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Auckland mayoral candidates Phil Goff and John Tamihere. Photo / Jason Oxenham

"I just don't think it's a realistic promise. I think it's hollow because these things have been promised to ratepayers and they need to be delivered."

Tamihere and Auckland mayor Phil Goff are due to appear at a Meet the Mayoral Candidates event at the group's annual general meeting tonight.


The event is being held at the Titirangi Presbyterian Church - so it was hoped they would behave themselves, she said.

NZ Property Investors' Federation executive officer Andrew King acknowledged that a lot of costs had gone up in recent times - including rates and insurance.

So he could not understand why Tamihere would single out rent - and landlords.

"It seems kind of incredulous."

Barton said asking landlords to stop rent hikes based on goodwill was again, unrealistic.

Such a move would be better off being backed by a specific policy, she said.

"If it came with a policy that the council could actually control rent - through a bylaw or whatever - then I'd have a lot more time for it.

"But just a statement like that, without anything propping it up that demonstrates that he can deliver it, I don't think there's any point. It's just a hollow promise."


Meanwhile, the Auckland Ratepayers' Alliance group is welcoming Tamihere's commitment; saying spending cuts are achievable.

Spokeswoman Jo Holmes said Aucklander would be relieved to see a bold rates policy that offered a clear alternative.

"Every other candidate, including Phil Goff, now needs to clearly explain their own rates policy so we can see how they stack up.

"It's true that this policy will require spending cuts, but that's not a bad thing. In fact, a leaner, more focused Council has been long overdue."

Other members of the public have come out in support of Tamihere's promises, voicing their approval to the man himself via his official Facebook page.

Micky Mike wrote: "Good on Tamihere for at least having a stab at keeping rates in check, as the other lot are quite happy to double rates with total disregard of the impact this will create across all sectors of society."

Stephen Moore acknowledged that although unrealistic, he was still supportive.

"Well done - about time someone stood up for ratepayers."