24 May 2012

Auckland Council approves 3.6% rates rise

5:23 am on 24 May 2012

Rates in Auckland are set to go up by 3.6%.

Councillors on Wednesday night signed off the city's inaugural 10-year budget following a day of fierce debate.

Councilllors agreed to adopt all of Mayor Len Brown's proposals, including the general rate rise of 3.6% for the next financial year and a flat charge of $350 per household.

The issues attracted much debate, with councillor George Wood saying the $350 increase was too low and they could legally charge a lot more.

Another councillor, Richard Northy, said the flat charge was not necessary and people in poorer suburbs would be worst hit.

A group of councillors unsuccessfully put forward an alternative budget with a lower rate increase.

Mr Brown says getting the budget through is a victory for Auckland and the city now has the tools to become the economic powerhouse of the country.

The mayor is particularly pleased the council has agreed to go ahead with the City Rail Link, but says he had to compromise on his personal wish for free access to swimming pools for all Aucklanders.