Auckland Ratepayers' Alliance
Remember last year when Phil Goff said he needed a “one-off rates bump” of 5%? 

Well, since then he’s apparently discovered climate change and is now proposing yet another new tax – this time a ‘targeted rate’ that he says will fight climate change. It was announced as the Mayor’s feature budget proposal for next year.

The new climate action target rate will mean next year’s overall rate hike is 5.9% – even higher than last year’s “one-off” measure.

We’ve seen it all before. There was the “Auckland Regional Fuel Tax”, the “natural environment” targeted rate, then the “water quality” targeted rate, then the “swimming pool fencing inspection” targeted rate, and the “accommodation provider” targeted rate – the last of which the Court of Appeal recently declared unlawful as the Mayor’s justification made no sense.

Phil Goff was elected to cut wasteful spending – but instead he’s never seen a tax he didn’t like. Don’t be fooled by the word ‘targeted’. The rate will apply to every rateable property in Auckland!

The Auckland Regional Fuel Tax was also supposed to be about “tackling climate change” and funding public transport. But Mr Goff is wheeling out exactly the same lines for this new tax despite still sitting on half the money from the fuel tax!

Here at the Ratepayers’ Alliance we’ve been looking into what the new climate change Council tax will apparently pay for. And the answer is not much. It’s basically business-as-usual: buses, cycleways, new electric ferries, and some tree planting.

Goff’s climate targeted rate is a scam – it doesn’t even reduce emissions But here’s the killer – and Phil Goff doesn’t want you to know it – transport emissions are already capped and traded under New Zealand’s Emissions Trading Scheme. That means that any emissions saved from, say, switching diesel ferries to electric, will only free up carbon credits for emissions to be produced elsewhere in New Zealand. Overall, while we’ll all pay more, the country (and the planet) is no better off! And that’s not to mention that a good chunk of Auckland’s electricity last winter came from Huntly burning dirty Indonesian coal. Here’s a useful explainer of the Emissions Trading Scheme from Energy Resources Aotearoa.

That’s right, Phil Goff’s plan to add another $57 onto next year’s rate hike to fund ‘climate action’ is all smoke and mirrors that will pump up Auckland Council coffers while doing nothing to reduce overall emissions. Let’s stop with the façade that Phil Goff is a greenie. Mr Goff realises that Aucklanders’ patience is wearing thin with his annual compounding rates hikes, so now he’s trying to dupe us by dressing up rate hikes as climate action.

The media might be falling for Phil Goff’s greenwashing, but while thousands of businesses across Auckland go to the wall, and householders struggle, we’ll be exposing Phil Goff, Desley Simpson, Richard Hills and all the other Councillors trying to pull the wool over our ratepayers’ eyes.Museum and zoo vouchers insult AucklandersIn other news this week, Auckland Council is the main beneficiary of a new taxpayer-funded voucher scheme for Council-owned attractions. It seems Wellington is so out of touch with the economic situation in Auckland, they thought the Council needed support more than the rest of us!Here’s what our sister group, the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Unionhad to say:

Auckland Council venues don’t need relief. Even during a 100-day lockdown, they were at zero risk of going out of business because they’re backed by an entity with the power to take as much rates from Aucklanders as it wants.

This voucher scheme will harm businesses in Auckland who, having barely survived lockdown, now have to compete against subsidised council-run attractions and the handful of lucky businesses who are allowed to opt in to the voucher scheme.The economic effects of the pandemic have touched all Aucklanders, so why is the Government trying to pick winners?

Aucklanders deserve broad relief, and the obvious way to do this is through the tax system. Suspending excise tax on booze, for example, would give the entire hospitality sector a boost. Even broader relief could be provided through a reduction in the Auckland fuel tax. Lower fuel costs for businesses would filter through to lower prices, and families would be encouraged to jump in their cars and explore the region.

It does seem weird that the one organisation in Auckland not laying off staff gets most of the taxpayer support! Another kick in the guts for Auckland’s business community.
Thank you for your support, Jo Holmes
Jo Holmes
Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance

Sent to us by a reader in Auckland, who comments: “We needs a government that has the mettle to put a pay cap on all council employees, mayors and councillors.  Say $250,000 per annum.  None are worth more than that.  Most much less.  Some will squeal “Councils will lose good staff”.  Rubbish; where do you suppose that they will go?  Most of them would be utterly useless in the private sector.” —Eds