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All options to combat $270m budget shortfall are being considered, Auckland deputy mayor says

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Simpson said she’d like to see the rises capped at the current, planned 3.5 percent.
Photo: RNZ / Dan Cook

Auckland deputy mayor Desley Simpson says it is not her intention to burden ratepayers with steep rates rises to combat a tripling of the council’s budget shortfall.

It is estimated that Auckland council is looking at a growing budget hole of $270 million for the next financial year, due to Covid-19 revenue drops, rapid inflation and interest rate rises.

Staff said a rates hike was possible, as long as it did not create – “an unacceptable shock for households and businesses”.

Simpson said she would like to see the rises capped at the current, planned 3.5 percent but it will be a wider council decision.

“Everyone’s hurting, everyone’s hurting and I just don’t think that there’s absolutely no desire in my mind, nor I believe in the mayor’s to put, just that problem directly on the rate payers, none at all.”

In a statement released earlier today, Auckland mayor Wayne Brown said they needed to find $270 million “through a combination of head office savings, operational efficiencies, relentless scrutiny of the expenditure and commercial performance of CCOs and the port, and limited rates rises.”

Simpson said Brown was committed to looking within the business first.

“Council has made some savings and efficiencies last term. We’ve done what we would like to call, the low hanging fruit and I believe there is more to find.”

All options to plug the budget gap were being considered, including selling assets, she said.

Story Credit: rnz.co.nz

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