Tomorrow, for example, even though only seven of 20 councillors support the mayor’s proposed 10-year budget, it is likely to be adopted, because possibly five opponents will look the other way and abstain.
Chamber of Commerce chief executive Michael Barnett calls this abstaining “a total nonsense” and “a breach of trust with ratepayers”, and I agree.
In a democracy, if the executive can’t get a majority to support its plans, the accepted course is for the rulers to go away and prepare a budget the majority will support.
The Auckland Ratepayers Alliance has said:
The Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance is pledging to hold to account those who support Len Brown’s proposed Auckland Council budget tomorrow, including those who allow it to pass by abstaining. The Alliance, which launched in April, has nearly ten thousand members and is growing every day.
Ratepayers’ Alliance spokesperson, Jo Holmes, says:
“Make no mistake, this is a bottom line for our members and activists. Any councillor that votes for, or abstains tomorrow will be a target in the lead up to next year’s election.”
“We are now confident that the Ratepayers’ Alliance will have enough financial support to conduct a mailout to every Auckland household. We will ensure that all voters know who the guilty Councillors are. There will be billboards, radio ads and even ringtones naming those who allowed Len Brown to hike rates at 99 times the level of inflation.”
“Those who fail to vote tomorrow to stop the Mayor’s rates hike will not get away with it.”
The 9.9% rates increase is just an an average. In some low income areas it is as high as 17%!!!