The Herald reports:
Councillors have delivered a mixed verdict on the possibility Aucklanders could be levied another tax — nicknamed a “toilet tax” by opponents.
The Weekend Herald revealed today Auckland Council and the Government are considering the tax to pay for a $1 billion sewer tunnel running deep below our biggest city and aimed at allowing for future growth and significantly reducing sewage and stormwater overflows into harbours.
But the potential tax also comes hard on the heels of a 11.5c a litre regional petrol tax, introduced six days ago, and a bed tax for accommodation providers.
This is what you get with a Labour Mayor. Rates increases plus lots of new taxes.
Albany councillor John Watson said Aucklanders were being hit with a “double whammy” of new charges and asset sales — both over a short period and despite promises amalgamation would cut costs. He wanted an independent review of the Super City.
“When the Super City was set up the fundamental selling point to Aucklanders was that it would result in reduced costs. That hasn’t eventuated because we are now getting additional charges for services you’d expect to be included … in rates.”
Waitematā and Gulf councillor Mike Lee said too much money had been wasted on an IT budget blowout and a new council headquarters.
“Watercare did the massive upgrade of Project Manukau, the Waikato pipeline and Project Hobson, and they were all on the books about the same time, but it was easily affordable to take on that debt. Not anymore.”
Rodney councillor Greg Sayers said Mayor Phil Goff hadn’t lived up to his campaign pledge to find 3 to 6 per cent savings from the council budget.
“This would amount to between $70 million and $140m … enough to pay for the new wastewater infrastructure and meaning Aucklanders would not have to pay Phil Goff’s toilet tax.”
Sayers is spot on. Off memory Goff’s savings drive has found around 0.4%, if that.