New Fiscal Policy to ensure Auckland Council does more with less
Mayoral candidate Phil Goff has today released a fiscal policy designed to restrict rate rises to an average of 2.5 percent, introduce a major new programme to drive savings across Auckland Council and restore public confidence in its management of ratepayer money.
“The Mayor’s first responsibility to the people of Auckland is to make sure the city is managed in a fiscally responsible way. Unfortunately trust and confidence in the Council has fallen to a very low level and the expected savings from amalgamation have not been made over the past six years,” said Phil Goff.
“Under my leadership, that will change. I will lead a Council focused on cutting fat from the system, responding more effectively to the needs of residents and providing more transparency around the spending of ratepayers’ money.”
This includes requiring each Council department to make savings that would contribute to a new efficiency target of at least 3 percent of overall spending. A particular focus will be on combining Council and Council Controlled Organisation’s procurement systems and progressively moving towards shared services for the Group in terms of back office functions such as finance and HR.
The overall fiscal policy provides a comprehensive response to the challenges facing Auckland, including:
- Keeping rate rises to an average of 2.5 percent or less per annum (based on current Council fiscal projections)
- Launching a 3-6 percent efficiency drive across Council
- Changing Council culture to make it more effective and responsive
- Retaining the city’s strategic assets while considering the sale of surplus, non-strategic assets
- Working with central government to expand its Infrastructure Fund and investigate infrastructure bonds
“While more than half of New Zealand’s growth is in Auckland, the extra GST and income tax collected goes to central Government. I will advocate for Auckland to get its fair share of that extra revenue to pay for servicing that growth.
"To reduce the risk of even greater gridlock and a worsening housing crisis, we need an additional $17-20 billion for core infrastructure to support future urban land areas. It is inappropriate and unfair to fund that solely through the blunt tool of raising rates. We need to find alternative innovative funding sources such as sharing more Government revenue with Council, public-private partnerships or raising infrastructure bonds.
“I will also advocate for the removal of the flat levy on rates to pay for a shortfall in transport infrastructure funding in favour of a road charge. This could be in the form of a petrol tax that is later replaced by a congestion charge or toll. It is only fair that those who benefit most from using the roads contribute to the cost of reducing congestion.
“Implementing this fiscal policy will be an important step towards restoring ratepayer and Government confidence in Auckland Council by ensuring that in future it works effectively and efficiently in the best interests of the people of this city,” said Phil Goff.