Manukau Mayor Len Brown has plans for Margaret Thatcher's notorious poll tax if he is elected Super City mayor, says his main rival, John Banks.
The Auckland City Mayor has pounced on comments Mr Brown has made while discussing options to fund local government, including changes to the rating system, such as an income-related city tax.
These include comments from Mr Brown to the Takapuna Residents Association two weeks ago and a 2007 statement where he said it was "time to seriously consider replacing rates with a city tax".
Mr Banks claimed a poll tax, which blighted the last days of Lady Thatcher's time in power in Britain, would unfairly hurt low-income people who Mr Brown said he represented, and leave them shouldering the major burden. High earners were able to minimise their income, Mr Banks said.
This did not occur in Britain. The Thatcher poll tax was a uniform charge for all residents.
Last night, Mr Brown said claims he wanted a poll tax were "Alice in Wonderland poppycock stuff" and severely undermined any credibility Mr Banks had left after nearly coming to blows with North Shore Mayor Andrew Williams at a mayoral debate last week.
"I have never advocated a poll tax. I have said we should be open to other options of funding council services rather than always increasing rates," he said.
Speaking earlier at a National Radio mayoral debate, Mr Brown said what he suggested at the Takapuna meeting was the need for a genuine debate about how to ensure sustainable income and revenue for local government.
Mr Brown said a 2007 Government review of rates did not examine other options for funding local government, such as levies, bed taxes, infrastructure bonds and using income tax.
"Once the new [Super City] structure is bedded down, I can't see the harm in exploring if there are other fairer options for funding councils that don't rate people out of their homes and [do] reduce the impact of rating."