I've just been reading this post on the Whale's blogsite that contains a lot of comments about rates increases in Auckland that are paying for Len Brown's CRL (City Rail Loop).
The most basic problem with local government is that no one gives a stuff about it. Turnout is around 30%. That ignorance/apathy shows in those comments on Whale's blog post.
So, to clear something up: Rates are not collected to pay for capital projects. They are collected to pay for the operational spending of councils (wages, running of pools & libraries etc). Capital projects such as the CRL are funded through borrowing. That's why Len Brown flew to China a few weeks ago - he went searching for a money tree.
Of course the interest on the debt is funded by rates, and that is a problem, especially in Auckland where debt levels are projected to soar. But rates are not increased today in Auckland to pay for an increasing interest bill today. That increased interest bill is paid by ratepayers over the next 50-100 years - the expected lifetime of the capital project.
So give Len Brown a break. Sure, the CRL is a dopey project. But he's not hiking rates today to pay for it. Your kids are the ones who will end up paying for it.
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