Auckland mayor hopeful John Tamihere announced this morning that he would put a freeze on rates in the city if elected in October.
Mr Tamihere said in a statement that the rates freeze was his "biggest campaign policy announcement". The 10.5 per cent rates increase over the next three years that current mayor Phil Goff promised would be canned, he said.
It comes after Mr Tamihere has also hit out at the incumbent for what he has deemed the "Goff gas tax", in which Aucklanders pay 11.5 cents more at the tank. Mr Tamihere promised last week to abolish that tax as well.
But Mr Goff has fired back Mr Tamihere's transport plans, which includes an 18-lane Harbour Bridge, as "unfundable, unworkable and undeliverable".
"It's pure fantasy," he said. "There is no business case to back it up, no engineering case to show that it's even viable."
As the feud continues today, Mr Tamihere said: "Leadership is about responding to genuine concerns, and I know from talking to thousands of people that constant increases in rates, year on year, is a very real problem for many Aucklanders.
"The stress on businesses, marriages and ratepayers requires them to have relief."
Mr Tamihere said "long suffering" ratepayers needed respite from the "tax and spend" mentality of Mr Goff.
"This guy has also added four new taxes by stealth to your rates," he said. "As a part of a general rates freeze over the next three years, I will ask landlords in Auckland to show goodwill by freezing rents for the next three years also."
Mr Tamihere said the cost of a rates freeze was $86.6 million per year – a one per cent saving across Auckland Council and the six council control organisations.
With low interest rates and a capital gains tax off the table, Mr Tamihere called for landlords to stand with him.
"There has never been a better time for landlords to show their support for a rents freeze," he said. "My call to all landlords is a collective call to action that we all need a three-year breathing space to fix a number of broken things, so we can future proof our city.
"We are all Aucklanders and must act in unison in the best interests of one another. I’m sure landlords will reflect deeply on their conscience because at least one leader has the backbone to ask them to step up."