Doubt is being cast on whether Government reforms to councils will make a difference to people's rates bills.
Legislation making its way through Parliament aims to curb costs by changing the purpose of councils to funding only core services.
Over the past decade, rates have been rising by 7% per year on average.
Auckland University local government centre director Peter McKinlay doubts the reforms will reduce rates, saying councils already work hard to keep the bills low.
But Local Government Minister David Carter says the reforms will bring about a culture change to how councils view spending, which will eventually have an impact on rates.