Affordable Auckland Mayoral candidate Stephen Berry has labelled Mark Thomas’ latest policy announcement as disingenuous saying, “He promises to freeze rates for one year before making that conditional on the consultation process in the 2017/18 draft budget, while also advocating a $65 increase in the Uniform Annual General Charge.  Thomas is speaking out of both sides of his mouth.”

Stephen Berry unveiled Affordable Auckland’s rates policy in January of this year, pledging to freeze council rates at their current level for the next three years. “I made that announcement with no conditions, no caveats and no small print. Affordable Auckland candidates will keep Council rates at the same level for the next three years and will only support UAGC increases if rates are reduced to fully compensate.”

“In addition, I have been upfront with voters by telling them that a rates freeze alone will not stop their rates from increasing. Because they are required by law to be paid based on a percentage of   property value, it is also necessary to prevent further increases in house values which Government SOE Quotable Value expects to commence later this year. This will only happen with increased zoning flexibility, increasing house supply and removing the Rural Urban boundary while respecting private property rights.”

Mr. Berry points out that while Thomas has said he will reduce spending by focusing Council activities on their core role, that role has not yet been defined. “On the contrary, I have been very clear that Affordable Auckland will only be funding the genuine core activities specified in Section 11A of the Local Government Act.”

11ACore services to be considered in performing role

In performing its role, a local authority must have particular regard to the contribution that the following core services make to its communities:

(a) network infrastructure

(b) public transport services

(c) solid waste collection and disposal

(d) the avoidance or mitigation of natural hazards

(e) libraries, museums, reserves, and other recreational facilities and community amenities.

“The ratepayers of Auckland deserve upfront and honest representation of policies from those seeking their votes. Voters can be sure that when I say we will freeze Council rates for the next three years, I really mean it.”