Hands off GST, Mayor Kircher tells Auckland

Gary Kircher
Gary Kircher
Auckland should ''put away the begging bowl'' and deal with its own problems.

Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher took to social media yesterday to spread that message and attack reports Auckland Mayor Phil Goff was seeking $239 million of GST paid on Auckland rates each year to deal with the city's growth.

Speaking to the Otago Daily Times yesterday, Mr Kircher rebuffed the idea that the consumer tax, collected and spent nationally, should be targeted regionally, and said Aucklanders should be expected to face rising rates bills ''if that's the only way they can deal with their problems''.

''Don't make it New Zealand's problem,'' he said.

''The suggestion that we start messing around with the whole tax system so that Auckland can deal with its problems, it's being a wee bit special when the reality is bite the bullet to get the extra money. If they've got to put their rates up 15% and get the things done that they need to do, then put the rates up 15%. Other councils have had to do that.

''We're going without in the regions because so much money is being put into Auckland.

It seemed to be that with every problem Auckland had, instead of going to ratepayers, the only solution was to put the hand out ''to central government, which means that we all pay''.

Mr Goff made the comments on TVNZ's Q+A show on Sunday.

Auckland mayoral spokesman Michael Burgess noted that the comments came in relation to a question Mr Goff was asked in a discussion of the possible impact Winston Peters' New Zealand First policies could have on a government coalition.

The city was ''looking at ways to generate alternative streams of revenue to pay for the infrastructure Auckland needs because it's growing by around about 50,000 people a year''.

''GST is an idea. He's [Mr Goff] not pursuing it as a point of policy at the moment, but it's an idea that's out there,'' Mr Burgess said.

Mr Goff was not available for comment.

Dunedin Mayor and Local Government New Zealand president Dave Cull said Mr Kircher's take could be ''a bit simplistic'' and a recent LGNZ funding review had concluded changes could be required tohow local government was funded.

''All councils are different and Auckland is by no means the only council in the country that is facing a desperate need for alternative funding lines to do essential work,'' he said.

''With the increased demands on local government, more responsibilities, more investment required etcetera, alternative funding lines other than just a narrow property-based rates system is going to be necessary if we are going to have sustainable local government into the future,'' Mr Cull said.




Ak should certainly not fund The Americas' Cup.

SuperCity status makes Auckland similar to an Australian Federated State. It has to be funded, by a Vote Auckland in NZ Government Budgets.