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Petrol, tax, rates hikes possibilities for Auckland

Published: 7:17AM Monday February 13, 2012 Source: ONE News/ Newstalk ZB

Road tolls, higher petrol prices, a visitor tax and increasing the airport departure tax are being put forward as ways to pay for Auckland's transport plans.

Mayor Len Brown has today released a discussion paper around how the city will meet a $10-15 billion funding shortfall.

Brown's office said that simply increasing taxes and rates will not cover the funding shortfall and road users should not be the single focus in funding the deficit.

But, Prime Minister John Key told TV ONE's Breakfast Auckland consumers might not be able to afford to fund the projects.

The projects that need to be funded include an inner-city rail link, an additional Waitemata Harbour crossing, ferry service improvements and roads linking different parts of the city.

Other funding options included in the report include raising rates, higher parking charges and higher income taxes.

"We have a three-year window in which to decide what approach to take, but doing nothing will mean leaving a legacy of transport chaos to our kids," Brown said.

"Our top priority is fixing Auckland's transport problems. We know what they are, we know doing nothing is not an option, and it is important that we as a region have open and frank conversation about what options we are going to pursue to fund the much-needed solutions."

Council limits

The Prime Minister told Breakfast regional councils are limited in what they can do.

"Council can't raise revenue in the way that Government can. Government has that unilateral right to put a tax on and just increase that tax. Actually council's don't have that ability. They are limited in what they can do."

Key said this discussion will allow Aucklanders to focus on what they really want, as they may put a tax on things some people do not use.

"Would we let them just go and raise taxes all over the show? I think we have to be cautious about that."

He said this is Auckland's plan but they have to go through the Government. And Government can veto raising money through this mechanism, he said.

Key told Breakfast a lot of homes in Auckland may struggle if these increases occur.

"Whenever you put another cost on a household you've got to think what they have to give up to pay for it. If they are a high income household you might be able to meet that cost but for a lot of households in Auckland they're not high income households.

"So I am just saying you have to tread carefully with this stuff."

Aucklanders have from February 24 to March 23 to give their feedback. Verbal submissions will be heard from April 10 to May 7.

The discussion document will be available on the Auckland Council website , at council service centres and libraries.

View the document here - pdf

Funding shortfall options for Auckland:

- Increase general rates
- Higher targeted rates
- Increase contributions to new developments
- Regional income tax, which would be on top of PAYE tax and would be imposed on people working in Auckland
- Regional payroll tax
- Regional GST on top of existing GST
- Tax increment funding
- Regional fuel tax and RUC diesel levy
- Tolling new roads
- Road pricing on existing roads
- Additional car parking charges
- Visitor tax
- Raise airport departure tax on international flights
 
Is it fair for Aucklanders to pay more for transport plans? Have your say on our messageboard

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  • ioneeye said on 2012-02-13 @ 18:30 NZDT: Report abusive post

    Get rid of the Ten's of thousands of the over stayers for a start. Departments know who they are but don't have the guts to do it. Some of these are still costing all Millions to which can be diverted in the right direction once they have been deported. The Petrol Tax put on some years ago went into most Council consolidated funds box. If Auckland had used theirs correctly they would not have been in the situation that they are now in. Ask the Previous Mayors where the money went!

  • Wolfman said on 2012-02-13 @ 13:05 NZDT: Report abusive post

    Once again a Kindergarten Politician with big visions thinks he can tax everything that moves. Who does this Brown think he is, God? Good way to kill off a city would be to try and bring in all these taxes so that this chest thumping face slapping air head can get what he wants. You won't need a visitor tax, as no one will bother going there, and I can see the other airports around the country benefitting from an increase in Departure Tax.

  • mouthguard said on 2012-02-13 @ 12:40 NZDT: Report abusive post

    It is very difficult to argue with 'user pays'. Living in Auckland is the original "Emperors New Clothes". I wonder when you guys will work out almost anywhere else is a better place to live? Meanwhile, I am pleased you will be paying for your own toys and your Labour Mayor will have to stump up to pay for his election-winning promises. Great news.

  • maska said on 2012-02-13 @ 11:26 NZDT: Report abusive post

    Get REAL !!

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