Monday, 9th May, 2016

The Auckland Chamber of Commerce has sent a letter to the Mayor and all Councillors asking them to vote against proposals in the 2016/17 draft Annual Plan to redistribute the temporary three-year levy set last year to raise $180 million to fund needed transport initiatives by imposing more of the costs of the levy on Auckland businesses.

Councillors are scheduled to approve the Annual Plan next Friday (13 May), including proposals to change the Levy.

Currently the annual levy is $114 per residential rate payer and $187 for business rate payers. The proposals are to reduce the residential levy to $90 and either levy business at $407 or a rate based on capital value.

If the capital value proposal succeeds many small-medium enterprises face increases from the current $187 per year to around $3000. A business with a property valued at $184 million would pay $55,000 yet may not operate any commercial vehicles – the staff may be residential rate payers already paying the Levy whether or not they drive a car or use public transport.

“The proposals are not supported by any evidence, and clearly politically driven by Councillors looking to encourage residents to vote for them by punishing business,” said Auckland Chamber of Commerce CEO Michael Barnett. “The option of a Levy against business ratepayers based on property value is outrageous and lacking in logic.”

The Chamber has sent a reminder letter to the Mayor and all Councillors spelling out the critical facts Council has failed to consider and alerting them to the political damage they risk creating in their relationship with business through this ridiculous proposal.

“Just making the proposal is a giant leap backwards for a city and council that wants to attract business investment, employment and build a positive working relationship with the business community.”

Changing the rules after one year of a 3-year agreement without any compelling evidence or justification is short-sighted. It will reinforce a view that Council is not yet ‘fit for purpose’ and a long way from showing itself to be business-friendly or strategic, said Mr Barnett.

The Auckland Chamber letter asks councillors to vote for the status quo and retain the current 3-year levy structure.

For more information contact Michael Barnett, mobile: 0275 631 150.
Michael Barnett, Chief Executive, Auckland Chamber of Commerce.