Majority of Aucklanders support rates increases, according to budget consultation
3 May, 2023
Manukau Ward councillor Lotu Fuli says the council “has a lot of headroom” to borrow more money to fund public services. Photo: Supplied by Lotu Fuli.
Interview by Simon Wright, adapted by David Liwei Shi
The Auckland Council’s 2022/2023 annual budget proposal has stirred controversy, receiving feedback from a record-breaking 41,146 people.
Manukau Ward councillor Lotu Fuli told 95bFM’s The Wire that the planned financial cuts for Tāmaki Makaurau “touched the hearts and minds” of many local communities and divided Aucklanders’.
Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown said their consultation showed public support for the “key elements” of the proposed budget and promised to take feedback onboard.
Just 17% of Aucklanders surveyed supported the planned cuts, but a majority were on board with some.
34% agreed with some of the proposed budget cuts, while 39% did not want any reductions.
Brown is against significant rates increases or debt borrowing, but Fuli argued the council “has a lot of headroom” to borrow more money to fund public services.
“The majority of Aucklanders have actually said they would be okay with paying a little bit more on our rates. That is the big message we have heard from the feedback from our communities.”
Over half, 51% of submitters opposed cuts to regional services, 27% were against reductions to public transport services, and 28% opposed reduced spending on arts and culture.
Brown said he believed pushing forward with the planned selling of the council's Auckland Airport shares “allows room to move on some of the more disliked cuts to social, arts and culture services”.
But Fuli said not selling any of the shares received the most support from respondents.
“34% said they do not support selling any of the airport shares, and the second largest number supported selling some of the shares. So they want to sell only 8%, retaining 10%.”
The council will make a decision on the final budget in June.