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The bill arrives for the “supercity”

Written By: - Date published: 1:52 pm, August 1st, 2012 - 37 comments
Categories: auckland supercity, local government, supercity - Tags: , ,

As has been well covered in the media, some Auckland ratepayers are in for a rude shock:

Aucklanders brace for rates shock

More than a quarter of a million Auckland households are in for a shock when rates bills averaging an 8.1 per cent increase arrive in letterboxes from this week.

On Thursday, North Shore, Waitakere and Rodney households and businesses will be the first to feel the impact of a single rating system for the Super City under which some rates will go up and others will go down. The rest of Auckland will receive the bills next week.

Mayor Len Brown describes the merging of the eight former councils’ rating systems into one as “a very difficult situation”.

Council figures show the new system will give 256,000 households an 8.1 per cent average rates increase, and 187,000 households an average 4.9 per cent decrease. …

Yesterday, Mr Brown said the average rates increase throughout the the region was 3.6 per cent, and the swings were an inescapable consequence of a Government-imposed rating system based on capital value. He said the move to a single rating system was the final piece in the jigsaw for the Super City, and it was only fair that Aucklanders paid the same in rates everywhere in the region.

It seems that households in Manukau are the biggest losers, with an average increase of 10.3 per cent.

Naturally some right wingers are trying to blame Len Brown, but this was all set in motion long before he was elected:

Super city: ‘Ratepayers will have to dig deep’
By Bernard Orsman
4:00 AM Thursday Apr 9, 2009

Auckland ratepayers will pay at least $550 each in restructuring costs for a Super City, says the Waitakere City Council. And Rodney Mayor Penny Webster says that, contrary to public expectations, rates will not come down under the new system. …

See also:

Rates rise on cards
By Kieran Nash
5:30 AM Sunday Oct 31, 2010

Aucklanders face a rates rise of nearly four per cent under their new Supercity structure for the next financial year. But if it wasn’t for the cost of the Supercity and Rugby World Cup, there may not have been a rates increase at all.

A report released by the Auckland Transition Agency, the organisation in charge of setting up the Supercity, has forecast rates will rise by 3.9 per cent for the 2011/12 year.

Those feeling disgruntled with their higher rates bill can thank the Nats, and Rodney Hide, who set up the structure of the “supercity”.


37 comments on “The bill arrives for the “supercity””

  1. AmaKiwi 1

    “Taxation without representation is tyranny.”
    The American revolutions overthrew the Crown with the rallying cry, “Taxation without representation is tyranny.”
    Self-government was stolen from us in the SuperCity coup d’etat.  Now overpaid mandarins control our communities, doing the bidding of our millionaire masters.  They expect us to obediently foot the bill for the follies of our parliamentary dictators.
    Now is the time for a rates revolt against Parliament.  They made the mess.  They should pay for it.

    • mike e 1.1

      Funnily its the rich who are getting slammed with the biggest increases poetic justice.

    • Colonial Viper 1.2

      Now is the time for a rates revolt against Parliament. They made the mess. They should pay for it.

      You can’t have a rates revolt against Parliament.

  2. Michael Wood 2

    You are right about the fact that the primary reason for some large increases is the National-Act forced amalgamation. However please be careful about repeating cooked up figures like the “shock 8.1 average rates increase!” generated by Cameron Brewer.

    The actual average increase is 3.6%. Some are higher, and some get decreases. Surveying those with the highest increase, and then presenting it as the headline figure is, statistically speaking, like taking the average age at my local retirement village and then saying “average age across large group of people in Mt Roskill is 76!” – technically true, but designed to mislead, in this case to smear Len Brown.

    • Colonial Viper 2.1

      Its the NZ Herald who need to get the message because its the NZ Herald broadcasting the 8.1% figure out to hundreds of thousands of Aucklanders.

    • OneTrack 2.2

      Let me get this right. We have King Len in charge, but, somehow, it is National and Acts fault that he can’t keep to a budget. What budget? He has an almost limitless pool of money that he can use to do whatever he wants. And he is.

      But it is still somebody elses fault when the rates go up, and as noted above, the rises aren’t standard across the city – how convenient, wouldn’t want to upset his mates.

      • ropata 2.2.1

        nope, you didn’t get it right.
        brown is picking up the pieces and the nats are trying to sabotage him.

        your nactoid mate rodney hide screwed aucklanders.
        your other (ethics-free) pal banksy tried to screw them some more

        shame on you for such an ignorant smear of Len Brown.

      • Draco T Bastard 2.2.2

        It’s National and Acts fault because they put in the legislation that forced the rates up. If Len or anyone had tried to change that system they would have been breaking the law.

        If you’d read the post you would have realised that.

      • tracey 2.2.3

        for a moment i thought you were talking about john key

  3. fabregas4 3

    And many are predicting a power increase of similar proportions when (if) the assist sales occur. Don’t imagine there will be any surprise in three years time when it occurs.

  4. tc 4

    First installments folks, wait till the IT shambles (courtesy of Deloittes, Hide, Ford and others like Foley), underinvestment in waste water and others come crashing onto the scenes.

    Bend over Auckland ratepayers and get used to it.

    • andy (the other one) 4.1


      Water is a massive screw up. Metro water has no idea of the shit data they have been served by old councils. Welcome to monthly billing Auckland, 21 days to pay, reminder at 28 days, second reminder at 35 days and final at 42. $7 late fee on that invoice and if they have your address incorrect its $7 per month per invoice.

      Waitakere is going from 6monthly billing to monthly, and they are being charged waste water for the first time. Tenancy tribunal in Waitakere will be a mammoth screw up, water bills will triple out west for renters.

      Fuck up to ensue.

      • tc 4.1.1

        Don’t forget the lack of investment by Ford as Watercare CEO as Banks council demanded a dividend during a time of massive urban growth that Watercare had to service and he obliged like the good doggy he is.

        I see he is being well rewarded currently on the transport CCO doing sweet FA and ensuring their vision doesn’t get in Joyce’s way…..how surprising.

        • andy (the other one)

          spot on, tc.

          monthly billing is cash flow device only. Revenue smoothing…

          Balance sheet looks good for council…..

          • Draco T Bastard

            Personally, I prefer monthly – saves getting the large bill at the end of the month. Now just need to persuade the landlord to put in a water tank – Waste water is determined by the amount of water billed for. I keep wondering if they’ve done that on purpose to encourage people to put in water tanks or if they’re just stupid.

        • Glg

          Thought Ford was going to Chch. Good riddance.

    • Aye TC

      The IT contract is scary beyond belief.  The trouble is that mere mortals are not meant to have understood what happened and are meant to succumb to the brilliance of the very well paid consultants who recommend $500 million of expenditure.

      The problem is that Auckland City’s system was pretty good and could have been expanded to provide all of the new city’s IT requirements.

      This particular aspect of the super city needs some serious analysis.  But we will need some very pointy heads to understand and interpret the IT bullshirt.

      • Glg 4.2.1

        The start again process for the new computer system was bullshit. SAP ain’t cheap folks, and the new system will cost a fortune. A non-contested bid for that computer system too.

        • Carol

          Meanwhile some council workers out west are having to do their work using some antique, slow and ponderous hard & software

      • tc 4.2.2

        Doesn’t take a pointy head Mickey. Look at most corporate acquisitions where the business purchased is merged into the existing well run, understood and expanded system to cope with the growth.

        I’m no SAP fan as other ERP systems cost far less but it does work and is world class at certain tasks like Plant Maintenance.

        You’re quite right in stating auckland councils SAP was fit for purpose but then Deloittes don’t make as much money in doing that do they.

  5. captain hook 5

    is that trooo tc?

  6. AmaKiwi 6

    Dear People,

    We have lost control of our communities to the SuperCity mandarins who do the bidding of their masters in the Beehive.

    None of us is surprised that along with our loss of local democracy have come higher onerous rates and fees.

    Do we throw it back in their faces and demand that the Key government who staged the SuperCity coup d’etat pay for the increases?

    Earlier I proposed a rates revolt (comment 1). Colonial Viper said we can’t have a rates revolt against parliament (comment 1.2). Ask the Greeks who rioted in the streets. Ask the people who fought in the Arab Spring uprisings.

    We are in the fourth year of a Global Depression. This government’s response is to squeeze the middle class and the poor into ever deeper poverty. Rates are just one more regressive tax that has been increased under this Parliamentary Dictatorship. How bad does it have to get before we take back our country?

    • ropata 6.1

      Revolutions don’t usually happen until people are desperate, starving, or homeless

      • Colonial Viper 6.1.1

        Revolutions happen when people are desperate. They don’t happen when people are starving or homeless. The reason being that revolutions require high levels of resourcing and organisation. Homeless starving people can’t pull that off.

    • Colonial Viper 6.2

      Earlier I proposed a rates revolt (comment 1). Colonial Viper said we can’t have a rates revolt against parliament (comment 1.2). Ask the Greeks who rioted in the streets. Ask the people who fought in the Arab Spring uprisings.

      1) A riot is not a revolution. Don’t mix up the two.
      2) I’m hoping you don’t consider Egypt in your list of Arab Spring uprisings. What happened in Egypt is more accurately characterised as a military coup i.e. the Generals who used to report to Mubarak and the government are now the ones in charge of the government.

  7. QoT 7

    It seems that households in Manukau are the biggest losers, with an average increase of 10.3 per cent.

    Whether the stats are true or hand-waved, that’s just kinda ironic.

  8. AmaKiwi 8

    To Colonial Viper and QoT

    I repeat my question: “How bad does it have to get before we take back our country?”

    We are in an economic depression and our rulers are doing all the wrong things. Instead of creating jobs they are abolishing them. Unemployed people don’t spend money so more and more businesses are failing. Where I live vacant retail and industrial buildings abound. Our rulers are selling off blue chip assets to build non-essentials, cutting taxes for the rich, raising all forms of regressive taxes on the middle class and poor. The gulf between rich and poor relentlessly widens and our rulers are unmoved calling it “natural free market economics.”

    What do YOU propose to do about it?

    Maybe you are not desperate but plenty of people are. We have four adult children, all in their thirties, three of the four with post graduate degrees. None is even remotely as well off as we were in our mid-twenties. One member of my extended family works 50 hours a week as a skilled tradesman. He has rented a room for the winter but by spring will return to his “normal” accommodation: a tent in his friend’s yard.

    How bad does it have to get before you stop blogging and start some forms of protest and civil disobedience?

    The NZ Herald editorialized that Banks should resign. What would happen if we gathered 10,000 signatures from Epsom voters calling on Banks to resign? What would happen if we followed some of the tactics of Ghandi and Martin Luther King, Jr.?

    Stop blogging. Start DOING.

    • Carol 8.1

      So are you going to lead by example, AmaKiwi?

      Me, I feel like I’m part of a movement looking for some leadership.

  9. AmaKiwi 9

    Years ago I trained as a community organizer in Chicago, the same organization Obama worked for but not the same years as him.  I am eager to share the strategies we used there but they need to be “translated” to the NZ scene and the 21st century. Our organization was started by Saul Alinksy who wrote “Reveille for Radicals” and “Rules for Radicals.”

    The essence of the strategy is to go to communities and ask the people what THEY think are the things that need to be fixed.  Then you help them come up with tactics to move the power structure to fix what is broken.  This is entirely “from the bottom up” power.  We never went to a group and assumed we knew what needed fixing or how to do it.  But by explaining what had worked for others we facilitated thinking so they could develop their own tactics to solve their own problems. 
    We got results and had a great time doing it!
    Example:  A large apartment complex was owned by a slumlord.  He kept the rent but made no repairs.  We got the tenants together as described above.  Tenants did their research and found out slumlord is a university professor downtown.  They devised the tactics.  You should have seen his face when in the midst of his lecture on “Urban Problems” a bunch mothers with babies in arms came into the lecture hall screaming “Slumlord.”  Overnight he became a responsible landlord and the tenants moved on to their next problem:  getting street walkers out of their neighborhood.  They solved that problem, too.

    Yes, Carol. I’d loved to have some fun again and there is plenty that needs fixing these days.

    • Carol 9.1

      I agree it has to be bottom up. And I would think getting involved at the grassroots and getting the feel of things, learning how things are, and what’s been tried is the way to go.

      There’s plenty of possibilities for that in NZ: global peace and justice, occupy_aotearoa, local government politics, etc.

  10. AmaKiwi 10

    Hi, Carol.
    Here are the things I am working on at the moment. 
    First, the Labour Party is dying because it is “top down” leaderships.  I am trying to organize people around the Nov. 17 Annual Labour Party Conference in Auckland.  My personal issues:  One member; one vote.  The ability for the members (not caucus) to replace the leader when it is obvious he/she will not win the next election.
    Second, ousting Banks from parliament. 
    Public humiliation is powerful tool for change.  If Banks resigns it could tip the balance of power in Parliament.  Banks has a home in Auckland, a wife and teenage kids.  That means he is vulnerable.  What ideas do people in Epsom have to humiliate him into resigning?  How about people placing hoardings on their properties near Banks’ home demanding he resign?  How about leafleting his neighborhood advertising a huge “Farewell Banksie” street party?   I want to connect with Epsom people who want to use fun tactics to oust Banks.  But the ideas have to come from the people, not me.  Bottom up, NOT top down.

  11. Blue 11

    @Amakiwi “Banks has a home in Auckland, a wife and teenage kids”. Ok, thats pretty creepy if you’re thinking about his teenage kids as a target (for what I wonder?). Sadly I have come to expect nothing less than this type of shabby tactic from the left. Why don’t you try policies that resonate with middle New Zealand, they are the ones with voting power. Its not the beneficiaries, its not low income earners, its not the high income earners or business, its the middle. The ones who have to pay for everything and benefit from none of it. Consider them then you may get some power to change. Ignore them at your peril.

    • AmaKiwi 11.1

      Dear Blue,
      You are letting your imagination run wild.  I am NOT threatening John Banks’ kids with anything.
      One of the most effective ways to change a person’s behavior is social condemnation.  Banks has disgraced himself.  Even the NZ Herald told him to resign.  Being of thick skin, he probably assumes it will soon blow over.  If we accept we are powerless, we will be silent and Banks will remember it as a few bad weeks.
      I do not want it to quietly go away.  I want Banks out of Parliament.  If the people of Epsom are prepared to keep the pressure on (and have some fun doing it), the social condemnation of his neighbors, close friends, and family should soon cause him to leave Parliament.
      I have said in other postings the tactics used to solve any problem must be decided by the people who want to solve it and their assessment of the local situation.  In this case, the people of Epsom need to access Banks’ vulnerabilities and what tactics will work best.  I can only share what I have seen work elsewhere in similar situations.
      I would be delighted to hear any suggestions you have on how to remove Banks from Parliament in the next month or two.  Please share them here.  Hopefully others will offer their ideas, too. 
      I have seen mightier Totaras than Banks felled by persistent public condemnation.  I will not accept that we are powerless.

    • Colonial Viper 11.2

      Why don’t you try policies that resonate with middle New Zealand, they are the ones with voting power. Its not the beneficiaries, its not low income earners, its not the high income earners or business, its the middle.

      You’re an idiot. Half of all NZers have incomes of $28K or less.

      And they all get a vote. (The fact that many of them don’t regularly use it might just change…)

      • AmaKiwi 11.2.1

        To Colonial Viper
        I suspect “Blue” is not so much an idiot but rather Auckland National MP Jackie Blue.
        But back to the subject, can you help organize a community campaign to embarrass John Banks into resigning?  I am in West Auckland so Epsom is not quite my patch.  I am close enough to meet with people and offer my experience as a community organizer.
        Do you know people in the Epsom area who might like to have fun outing Banksie?

    • Draco T Bastard 11.3

      Middle NZ makes up about 20% of the population. IMO, better to target the ~75% at the bottom that are being ignored because everybody thinks the middle make up the majority.

      • Colonial Viper 11.3.1

        Middle NZ makes up about 20% of the population.

        However, the top 1/3 of households earn approx $85K pa and up, at a guess. And I will suggest that they lean National.

        AND it is not difficult to find beneficiaries and those on and near the minimum wage who vote for John Key. I mean, who else are they going to vote for?

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