Yesterday’s Reserve Bank forecasts have blown out Auckland Council’s 2023/24 budget hole to $295 million, Mayor Wayne Brown and his Governing Body have been advised today.
“Left unaddressed, a $295 million budget hole would require rates rises of over 13 per cent, followed by further substantial increases in future years,” Mayor Brown said.
“It is by far the biggest fiscal hole in Auckland Council’s history, except for the once-in-a-hundred emergency budget when our city was put into lockdown.
“Double-digit rates rises are totally unacceptable and will not happen under my leadership.
“We aim to keep rates rises below inflation to reduce the pressure on Aucklanders now being hit by the economic and fiscal storm I warned about through the campaign and since becoming Mayor. It could still get worse.
“All Councillors need to recommit to our urgent work to bridge the fiscal hole.
“That will be done through a balance of savings, efficiencies, the sale of low-performing assets, rates rises and potentially some borrowing.
“We want to protect the essential services Aucklanders value.
“The Council, the CCOs and the port company will all need to yet again review their options for savings, efficiencies and increased dividends.
“The Expenditure Control and Procurement Committee’s urgent project to find further savings remains important.
“As its chair, Councillor Maurice Williamson, has said, its first priorities are head-office empire building, inefficient contracting, and wasteful and failing projects across the group.
“The committee is trying not to squeeze Aucklanders more during a cost-of-living crisis.”