Wasteful Spending Rife at Auckland Council * Updated

**The sole member of the Orakei Local Board to vote against the allocation of these grants was Carmel Claridge.

From the Mayor’s office right down to local boards, wasteful spending is rife at Auckland Council. The Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance has revealed that the council are now paying for Remuera gardeners!

In just the latest example we’ve uncovered, Orakei Local Board – which covers some of Auckland’s most well-off suburbs – has started a scheme where property owners in the leafy suburbs can get ratepayer payouts to prune their trees!

Screenshot of council minutes. *Applicants names removed for privacy reasons.

Examples include $1,380 for reshaping someone’s Pin Oak, $1,000 for pruning a Liquid Amber tree, and $1,000 for pruning a Camphor Laurel tree.

The Council isn’t even requiring that trees be scheduled, or native – they just need to be on the property of people cheeky enough to help ratepayers cover their gardener!

This kind of waste makes a lie of the claim that the council needs to squeeze ratepayers with annual rate hikes above the rate of inflation.

The ‘gardening grants’ might be small fry, but they epitomise the wider culture of waste at Council that now sees 2,250 staff now paid salaries of over $100,000.

On Friday, nominations opened for the mayoral, council, and local board elections. We will be turning the heat on candidates, testing whether they will sign a “Ratepayer Pledge”. The Pledge will commit them to cutting waste, instead of hiking rates.

In 2016, our “Ratepayer Pledge” campaign nearly achieved a majority of Councillors elected, having committed to a 2% cap on rate hikes.

We’ll also hold Phil Goff to account for totally ignoring his promise to limit rate hikes to 2.5%, introducing new so-called targeted’ rates to get around his promise.

And don’t forget Phil Goff’s fuel tax – that alone is the equivalent of a 9.1 percent rate hike!

The results of our latest supporter poll.

Thousands of people voted in our latest poll on the mayoral race. Here are the results:

As you can see, the potential entry of John Banks into the race has shifted results dramatically. Banks earns 71% of the vote, compared to Tamihere’s 23%, and Goff’s 6%.

This contrasts with our first supporter survey, in which a Tamihere vs Goff head-to-head matchup resulted in 80.4% for Tamihere and 19.6% for Goff.

Jo Holmes Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance