Doing more with less
I want to ensure that the city is managed in a fiscally responsible way. This means Auckland Council must work within its budget, keep rates low and affordable, and get the best value for money for each dollar it receives from ratepayer and other sources.
- Property rates rises will be kept low and affordable at an average of 2.5 per cent per annum or less
- Costs of expensive infrastructure should not in the main be funded from rates.
- The flat levy on all property rates to pay for a shortfall in transport funding should be removed, and replaced by a road charge so that those who benefit from use of the roads contribute to the costs of reducing congestion. This may initially be in the form of a petrol tax, later replaced by a congestion charge or toll, to help service debt raised for infrastructure and to influence commuter behaviour.
- To keep property rates low and affordable, we need to do more with less. That means cutting fat, eliminating waste and duplication, and finding efficiencies.
- As part of doing more with less, the council will be required to examine the cost effectiveness and necessity for all aspects of operational expenditure.
- Each department within the council will be set an efficiency target, averaging three to six per cent across total council expenditure.
- Where new expenditure is sought, funding should be secured by the discontinuation of lower value activity.
- Further investment in procurement systems is needed to deliver savings for ratepayers.
Council-controlled organisations (CCOs)
While CCOs have been established as arm's-length entities, clear expectations have been established for all CCOs with respect to their revenues, expenditure and financial management.
- An expectation that all CCOs will participate in collaborative procurement to maximise the economies of scale from the group procurement spend.
- An expectation the council and CCOs will progressively move towards a shared services environment for other back office functions.
- Investigate adopting a fair level of user-pays where there are demonstrable private benefits generated from CCO operations.
- The elimination of duplication with other organisations with a presence in Auckland, including central government.
Capex and debt management
Auckland's rapid growth requires a coordinated, partnership approach to capital and infrastructure needs by local and central government.
As mayor, I am working constructively with central government to address Auckland's infrastructure needs, to raise capital for much needed infrastructure investment and to give Auckland the tools it needs to broaden revenue without further burdening ratepayers.
A congestion tax will likely be one element of a mix of policies to raise additional revenue in the medium and long-term, and the council is working with government now to investigate how this might work.
I will also work with my council colleagues to ensure that where council does have levers to equitably generate additional revenue for infrastructure, it does so.