Efeso Collins wants to hike Auckland rates by 20%

Stuff reports:

Left-leaning Auckland mayoral candidate Efeso Collins says a push for fare-free public transport will be the first thing he wants to achieve if elected in October.

Collins, a two-term Ward Labour councillor, says Aucklanders spend up to 30 per cent of their household on transport, and it is one of the biggest issues the city has to deal with.

“If we are going to address our climate emissions this is the first and best way to do it,” he told .

Fare-free will not reduce greenhouse gas emissions by one kilogram as transport is within the emissions trading scheme. It will just force Auckland residents to pay a lot more in so companies that produce greenhouse gas emissions can pay less for them.

The idea is not new to an Auckland mayoral campaign. Jim Anderton in 1977 had it as a policy when he came second to sitting Auckland City Council mayor Sir Dove-Myer Robinson.

In the last full financial year before Covid-19 hit patronage hard, fare revenue was worth more than $150 million a year, and an earlier Auckland Transport assessment was that extra demand would cost $60m to meet.

The $60 million is a conservative estimate. Free on Waiheke ferries alone will probably chew up $15 million or so (off peak travel for seniors costs $2 million so travel for anyone at anytime would easily exceed $10 million). Every day thousands will flock to Waiheke if it is free.

But let’s go with figure of $60 million of extra demand and $150 of current fares. That means $210 million of extra needed through which is an extra $420 per household.

The average residential are $3,599 in Auckland so the cost of this initial promise by Collins would see rates increase by 12%. They’re already planning a rates increase of at least 6% so basically what Collins is promising is to hike up rates by 20%.

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