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Auckland Council considers selling assets to fill $270m shortfall for next financial year

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Auckland Deputy Mayor Desley Simpson.
Photo: RNZ / Dan Cook

Auckland’s deputy mayor says council will go line-by-line through its assets to try to fill its $270 million budget hole.

The estimated budget shortfall for Auckland Council’s next financial year was due to Covid-19 revenue drops, rapid inflation and interest rate rises.

Deputy mayor Desley Simpson told Morning Report they “always knew” this year would be bad, but didn’t quite expect it to be that bad.

Simpson said the council was in a position to deal with the issue – with capacity and a number of options available.

Auckland Council has the ability to borrow as its debt to revenue was now below pre-Covid levels.

Other options would be discussed later in the week but selling off Auckland Airport shares was an option, she said.

Simpson said if it was something Auckland mayor Wayne Brown wanted to do and councillors agreed, Aucklanders would also get a say.

She said Brown would go “line-by-line” to ensure every item council put money into was valued for its worth against what council had the ability to offer.

Auckland Deputy Mayor Desley Simpson and Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown.

Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown, with Simpson.
Photo: RNZ

“If we are sitting on something that isn’t delivering any benefit, we potentially should look at whether that is worth keeping.”

With regard to the airport shares, Simpson told Morning Report “a lot” of money was tied up in it but “we don’t sit at the table”.

Simpson reiterated that there was no intention of putting the shortfall onto Aucklanders through large hikes in rates.

Residents were dealing with a cost-of-living crisis and council needed to be aware of that, she said.

Story Credit: rnz.co.nz

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