Auckland mayor Len Brown says the council will not put any ratepayer cash into building or running an international convention centre.
He told the Weekend Herald yesterday that there would be no money for the SkyCity convention centre in a new 10-year budget.
The council and Mr Brown were blindsided by suggestions from the Government and SkyCity before Christmas that ratepayers' money be used to fund the shortfall in costs for the controversial project.
SkyCity said the original $402 million cost had been "revised" to $470 million and to $530 million.
Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce floated the idea of ratepayers helping cover operating costs, but has since talked down the idea and suggested the council look at its regulatory fees for the consent and construction process.
Mr Brown said he had never been formally approached by the Government on the issue.
Yesterday, Mr Brown urged Aucklanders to accept a controversial plan for a motorway toll or a regional fuel tax to invest in public transport instead of the "basic transport plan" in the budget that contains $3.8 billion of spending cuts to transport over 10 years.
"We face a cost either way, but the cost of doing nothing is worse - the next generations face grinding to a halt," he said.
Mr Brown was optimistic Aucklanders were ready for tolls or a fuel tax and higher rates, saying people were already witnessing better transport and could be sure the new taxes would go directly into transport. But he said if Aucklanders said 'no' to tolls or a fuel tax he would accept the decision.
The mayor also pledged to work to deliver a 2.5 per cent overall rates increase by the end of the budget process. The figure in the draft budget is 3.5 per cent.
Early feedback to the Weekend Herald suggests that Mr Brown has an uphill battle selling the draft budget. There was criticism about rates increases, rising debt, big salaries and a council suggestion that Aucklanders are getting wealthier and can afford higher rates.
Len Brown's budget
• No money for convention centre
• 3.5% average rates rise, but Brown hopes to deliver 2.5%
• Two transport options - tolls/fuel tax scheme or $3.8b of cuts
• $2.5b city rail link proceeds under both options
• Early feedback is critical