Auckland rates jiggery pokery

Auckland ratepayers could excused for being bamboozled by their rates and taxes and levies.

Mayor Phil Goff is claiming he is fulfilling a promise to keep rates rises below 2.5%.

RNZ: Auckland ratepayers could face 6.2 percent hike

Mayor Phil Goff has unveiled an ambitious mix of new rates, revenue-shifting and even council asset sales to boost the spending on critical infrastructure.

Mr Goff has defended the proposed changes as being in line with his election pledge of keeping general rates rises at 2.5 percent.

“It’s exactly what I promised – I said to people right across the community I want to get rid of the interim transport levy that’s costing everybody regardless of how often you use the roads, and replace it with a regional fuel tax,” he said.

The rating cake has new layers, built on a basic general rate rise of 2.5 percent, as Mr Goff pledged in his election campaign. The 2.5 percent is proposed only for the next two years, then rises to 3.5 percent.

But it is not that simple.

An additional 2.8 percent would come in a water quality targeted rate, aimed at accelerating significantly some big infrastructure projects to clean waterways and beaches.

Another 0.9 percent is added by a natural environment levy to deal with threats such as kauri dieback, possums and weed infestations.

Those rises are partly offset by ending, as scheduled, the Interim Transport Levy of $114 on households and $183 on business.

For an average priced home around $1 million this will slice 4.8 percent off the higher rates, leaving an overall increase of 1.4 percent.

That percentage increase will rise progressively for homes valued higher than $1m, and decrease for cheaper homes.

However, that levy will then be replaced by a 10 cent-a-litre regional fuel tax, which the government has told RNZ should be in place in time for the council’s next budget mid-2018.

It seems that few if any ratepayers will pay less, or less than 2.5%, and some will pay disproportionately more.

An additional variable is the impact of recent property revaluations, which affect how big a share of the city’s rates burden is apportioned to each property.

Many lower-priced suburbs in the west and south already face higher than average rates rises because of that process, and extra costs could be imposed via the proposed 6.2 percent increase, and the cost of the fuel tax, if they cover high mileage.

There will be ‘consultation’:

Aucklanders will be asked their views during consultation early next year on the budget, but will struggle to get a clear picture of how they are directly affected.

It looks likely many will struggle to understand the convoluted changes, and some may have real trouble paying for the increases.

Just as well everyone will get tax relief which is legislated to take effect from next April – oh, hang on, the Government are scrapping that.

What if the Auckland Council put this much effort into housing and transport?

The Auckland Council employs 234 communications staff at a cost of $45 million. They seem intent on talking about what they might do – perhaps a lot of these resources would be better targeted at actually doing, especially on challenging issues like housing and transport.

NZH: $45m bill for communications at Auckland Council

Auckland ratepayers are picking up a $45.6 million tab to run communication departments, employing 234 staff, at Auckland Council and five council-controlled organisations, according to a leaked review.

A “confidential draft” of the review, obtained by the Weekend Herald, has uncovered a huge blowout in communication salary costs at four council bodies.

Between 2013 and 2017, salary costs soared by 75 per cent at Auckland Council, 87 per cent at Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (Ateed) and 56 per cent at Auckland Transport.

Salary costs rose by 104.5 per cent at Panuku Development Auckland, which was formed in September 2015 from the merger of Waterfront Auckland and Auckland Council Property Ltd.

Just on ‘communications’?

The actual dollar figures of the communications salary totals, including the rises, at the council-controlled organisations are not included in the report, or available at this time.

The Communications & Engagement review includes media and communications, marketing, research and consultation staff.

Consultation with ratepayers is important, as is marketing, but 234 staff sounds a lot.

The review is one of four ‘value for money’ reviews commissioned by Auckland Council as Mayor Phil Goff strives to find savings and efficiencies in the council’s budget – one of his key election campaign pledges.

The findings of the review will confirm Goff’s concerns during last year’s mayoral campaign that there are too many communications staff at council and “way above what it could be”.

According to the communications review, a previous business case to improve communications at Auckland Council in 2014 largely failed. The 2014 goal was to reduce the number of communications staff to 92. Staff numbers have increased to 105.

The business case recommended council develop a strategy for communications and engagement. “No strategy has been developed,” the latest review said.

The review said there is no formal communications strategy across the council and CCOs. It calls for a strategy to achieve a co-ordinated, consistent and collaborative approach.

It also called for cost savings of 5 per cent a year for the next three years.

After a 2014 business case to reduce staff they instead increase staff and costs by 56% to 104.5%. Targeting a reduction of 5% seems lame and hard to have confidence in.

The Nation – bed tax, Tillerson and candidates

A follow up from Labour’s no show on The Nation last week:

On The Nation’s “bias”, I’ve also heard that Labour spindoctors are briefing journalists against Lisa Owen. Esp after previous Twyford iv.

On The Nation this morning:

talks to Foreign Minister Gerry Brownlee on next week’s visit by Rex Tillerson, the NZ-US relationship,

Odd talking about this before Tillerson gets here unless it’s trying to promote an agenda.

Brownlee says they want to talk to Tillerson about prospects for the TPP.

On whether he’ll bring up Trump’s unpredictability: “I don’t think we’ll be raising issues of US political stability.”

Brownlee can’t comment on what is right or wrong for Trump over the Paris climate agreement, but reiterated wide support for the agreement still.

Owen tries to get Brownlee to admit to some sympathy for the view that many claims about climate change are made up. Instead he supports the main science and concerns – “”The world’s never seen anything like this before”.

He predicts many businesses in the US will stick with what they’re already doing to reduce carbon emissions.

Is Trump being wilfully ignorant re climate change? “He’s made a promise to US voters and sticking to it.”

Brownlee says discussions with Israel are “ongoing”.

Would Brownlee give up his portfolio to aid coalition negotiations? He says it’s up to the voters. It was

And we’ll meet some of the new faces running for Parliament

Some lucky candidates get selected for free promotion.

A good discussion, Shane Taurima (Maori Party, ex-Labour) going hammer and tongs with Kiri Allan (Labour). Taurima looks capable, Allan struggled to impress.

Nicola Willis came across well and is well informed.

was left in the middle of the crossfire for the first half and struggled to find her feet when finally given a say, but was good when speaking about something up her alley, the right of prisoners to vote.

talks to about his budget, the so-called bed tax and how Akl is going to pay for all that infrastructure

Goff says council’s legal advice indicates they’re on “very firm ground” re bed tax for hotels.

He says the budget has $2 billion on infrastructure, 40% of that on transport. The transport funding shortfall is as big as $7 billion because of higher than predicted population growth. “Lisa Owen suggests there’s a $4b shortfall for Akl transport – Goff says it’s actually $7b! Pressuring Govt to stump up cash”.

Goff says there’ll be an announcement next week on road pricing… he says it’ll be good news in the long term.

Goff actually came across very well generally, he may be better suited to being mayor than an MP, and especially than a party leader.

 

 

Another reason not to go to Auckland

Phil Goff and the Auckland City Council have voted for a ‘bed tax’. This is purportedly to get hotels and motels to partially pay for the cost of staging events in Auckland, but it imposes costs on just some accommodation options and will cost everyone who uses them regardless of whether they are visiting Auckland for an organised event or not.

It also makes the cost of doing business in Auckland more expensive.

Perhaps this is a sly way of trying to get the Government to fund their events, given that motels are being state funded to house homeless and hard to accommodate people.

Stuff: Auckland Mayor Goff’s ‘bed tax’ passes 10-7

A controversial ‘bed tax’ will go ahead, with Auckland Council’s Governing Body voting 10-7 in favour of the proposal on Thursday afternoon.

It will see nightly room rates bumped up between $3-$6 for hotels and $1-$3 for motels.

The targeted accommodation rate will see hotels and motels charged extra to partially offset the cost of staging major events in the city.

Goff said it would free up $13.5 million of ratepayer funding which could be used to bolster transport and infrastructure.

He has previously said hotels and motels could pass on the cost to tourists as a surcharge.

“With the targeted rate on accommodation we are asking accommodation providers to meet half of the cost of tourism marketing and events which previously fell totally on Auckland ratepayers,” he said.

“It’s only fair that those who benefit directly from events that promote tourism share in that cost.”

But is it fair to make accommodation providers and visitors who have nothing to do with tourism promotion and events to pay to subsidise the events? No.

It seems to exclude other accommodation providers like holiday rentals, home stays and Airbnb.  Campervans are another popular mode of accommodation that escape the tax.

TIA chief executive Chris Roberts said it was based on bad information and a poor understanding of the workings of the visitor economy.

The commercial accommodation sector has repeatedly offered to work with the Council to find a fair and sustainable way to make an appropriate contribution to the city’s visitor and event promotion activities. That offer still stands.”

He said it could be a “considerable time” before accommodation providers knew how much they would have to pay.

Accommodation providers would be able to apply to the council for a rates remission, taking into account any forward bookings they might have, but there would be no guarantee, he said.

Has the cost of administering all of this been taken into account? It sounds heavily bureaucratic.

It seems to be a poorly and unfairly targeted tax on some accommodation providers.

Is this the best Phil Goff could come up with?

Goff and privatisation of Ports of Auckland

Back in 2011 when Phil Goff was leading the Labour Party: National planning fire sale of assets, Goff warns

Labour Party leader Phil Goff is accusing the National Party of preparing for a fire sale of New Zealand’s assets at a time when the international economy is uncertain.

On Monday, Mr Goff took his campaign to stop asset sales to state-owned Mighty River Power’s Southdown Power Station in Auckland.

He told a small crowd of Labour MPs, candidates and supporters that New Zealanders do not want assets such as the power plant sold.

“It belongs to you as New Zealanders and we are determined that in five days’ time it will still belong to you as New Zealanders, because we’re going to keep our assets by voting in a Labour-led government.”

Labour wasn’t voted in, and soon after Goff was replaced as leader.

Last year Goff left Parliament after he was voted in as mayor of Auckland, a city needing a lot of money to deal with it’s growth. Goff is at least not staunchly against asset sales now.

NZH: Phil Goff coy about privatisation of Ports of Auckland

High level discussions are under way over the future of Ports of Auckland as Auckland Mayor Phil Goff wrestles with how to fund the city’s ballooning infrastructure costs.

But Goff is refusing to be drawn on whether he plans to sell the council’s ownership stake, saying only he wants to address the port’s long-term future this term.

The Herald understands an IPO, or initial public offering, of the port is being discussed in merchant banking circles. Either a sale of the operating company or a part sale of the entire entity is understood to be under discussion.

Goff would only say he has had wide-ranging discussions on Auckland’s port but no specific proposal on ownership has been presented to him.

Auckland City really has to consider all options for funding it’s expansion.

Since coming to office, Goff has struggled to find new revenue sources to fill a $4b funding hole for transport in the next decade and meet the needs of a rapidly growing city.

Asked under the Official Information Act if he had been made aware by officers or other parties about an IPO sale, a response said: “The strategic issues relating to the Port has been raised with the mayor by officers on occasion as part of their normal advisory role.

“No specific proposals has been shared with the mayor,” said the response, which did not answer questions about the names of officers and parties he had discussed the issue with and what written records or verbal recollections he had.

Pressed further on the issue, Goff said in a written statement he had had wide-ranging discussions on the port “but no specific proposal on the port’s ownership has been presented to me.

“I’ve made no decisions about the port’s long-term future as yet, but intend to make progress on this matter over the course of this term,” Goff said.

So a sale of Ports of Auckland seems to at least be a possibility under Goff’s mayoralty.

It is supported by some:

Auckland Chamber of Commerce chief executive Michael Barnett said last night he was aware of discussions around the port’s future.

It would make “real commercial sense” to sell the business and retain the land, Barnett said.

Infrastructure New Zealand chief executive Stephen Selwood agreed, saying the business community was “very supportive” of the idea.

“It seems to us silly for the council to be tying up monetary assets and effectively crowding out private sector investment when the money could be better used.”

Right-wing councillor Dick Quax said he would be comfortable retaining the port land and selling the business, saying it was a palatable option that would still bring income to the council from leasing the land.

But not by others:

Councillor Mike Lee, who secured the final 20 per cent of shares in Ports of Auckland in 2005 as chairman of the former Auckland Regional Council, said he was giving Goff the benefit of the doubt.

“But if the rumours are true I think it would be an appalling betrayal and not what Aucklanders voted for,’ Lee said.

City Vision councillor Cathy Casey said there would be no ports sale “on my watch”.

Goff was vague on many things in last year’s election, including the Ports.

On the election hustings last year, Goff said he would not sell council’s 22 per cent shareholding in Auckland Airport but left open the door to sell the port business.

He said the 77 hectares of prime waterfront port land should be owned permanently by the people of Auckland and the port business should continue in council ownership, pending long-term decisions on the future of the port.

David Farrar has posted Go Goff go:

Selling some or all of the Port Company would be a great move. Ports of Tauranga has done brilliantly since being wholly Council owned.  needs investment in infrastructure and freeing up capital is a much more sensible way to finance the infrastructure than further debt.

Port Otago is still publicly owned, but Dunedin doesn’t have the expansion problems that Auckland has.

No doubt some in Auckland will campaign against ‘selling the family silver’.

Back to 2011: Parties criticise Govt plan for asset sales

Phil Goff says the Government will lose income when the Government partially privatises State-owned companies.

“Bill English says this isn’t about selling the family silver – he’s right. It’s not the family silver – it’s the most profitable of family businesses that they are selling.”

Perhaps after failing back then Goff has reassessed the merits of selling assets.

It is probably an indication  of how blurred left/right political lines have become. English and his Government are not talking about asset sales any more. They announced a plan this week  for the state to build 25,000 new houses in Auckland.

Political lines look more like this these days:

PickUpSticks

Differences over ‘tourist tax’

As usual Newshub got their weekend story out of  The Nation: Paula Bennett rejects calls for tourist tax (it wasn’t a story until Bennett said she didn’t support a tourist tax).

More than 18 million visitors come through the gates at Auckland Airport each year and Mayor Phil Goff says local government can’t cope with the tourism boom.

Instead, he says a tax could help.

“Ideally the Government could put on a bed tax across the country and a small arrival tax and share it amongst local Government – that would be most equitable,” he told Newshub.

But Ms Bennett has scuttled that, saying she’s not a fan. She says tourists already pay tax via GST, and she’s worried further taxes might deter travellers.

“We’ve got the best package in the world to deliver but we don’t want to be seen as a rip off,” she said.

Ms Bennett accepts there is pressure in some areas as a result of booming visitor numbers, but says it’s covered by the regional tourism fund, which has put forward $8.5 million to fund public toilets, car parking and freedom camping facilities.

And the story making has extended to other politicians.

But Green Party co-leader James Shaw disagreed.

“I don’t think New Zealand is going to be perceived as a rip off. It is an absolute premium destination, as you can tell from the visitor numbers,” he said.

Tourists already pay a border charge of between $22 and $26 and the Greens say that should be increased to help pay for infrastructure.

So there already is a form of a tourist tax, but the Greens support increasing it.

And NZ Herald joined in with Labour leader Andrew Little calls for tourist tax:

Labour leader Andrew Little wants a “tourist tax” charged at the border to help pay for tourism infrastructure, rejecting Tourism Minister Paula Bennett’s concerns it risked making New Zealand look like a “rip-off.”

Little said a “modest” levy would be ring-fenced to pass on to local councils to use on tourism-related infrastructure.

“We rapidly and urgently need new infrastructure and infrastructure upgrades targeted at tourists and the easiest and most efficient way to pay for it is just a border levy collected when you buy your ticket, and a mechanism to distribute it to local councils.”

Little said it would be simple to add the levy – since 2015 there has been a levy of about $22 to pay for border control added to the cost of a ticket. In its first five months, that had generated $27.72 million – well above the forecast income of $20.22 million.

That will be because of the boom in tourist numbers.

Tourists pay 15% GST on much of what the spend while in New Zealand. There is also a lot of tax generated in the tourism industry through employment (PAYE) and company tax.

And they also contribute to roading revenue through fuel tax.

While different opinions were extracted from politicians on this it is not likely to become an election issue if any tax was going to be an entry tax – not many international tourists vote.

But a ‘bed tax’ as suggested by Goff could be more contentious. It would be messy if it only applied to international visitors – would that be based on passports? Or country of residence?

It’s not surprising to see a mayor propose a Government imposed tax “and share it amongst local Government”, that would make rates rises a little less bad, but “that would be most equitable” is an interesting claim. Equitable for whom? The city where the biggest airport in the country is?

The administration (and cost of administration) of a bed tax could be an issue. There would be possibly substantial bureaucracy involved in collecting a bed tax and paying it out equitably to all the local bodies who want it.

Hotels and motels pay local body tax (called rates) as it is, why doesn’t Goff just increase the rates for hotels and motels and home stays?

Losing the unlosable election?

Simon Lusk and Cameron Slater are launching a book on the recent Auckland local body election. It has a curious title, considering Lusk was managing the campaign of one of the mayoral contenders.

Losing the Unlosable Election – How the Right Lost Auckland Again

unlosableelection

Yes the centre-right to right was fragmented and did poorly in Auckland. Again.

In 2011 John Palino was an odd contender for the mayoralty. He was the best of the rest but came a distant second to Len Brown.

Then just after the election there was an attempt to discredit Brown and have him dumped – the discrediting worked but Brown remained to see out his term. Palino was seen as linked to the virtual coup attempt even though I don’t think he could have stepped up if Brown had stepped down. Both Brown and Palino came out of it severely tainted.

So it was odd to see Palino stand again with Lush as his campaign manager. Slater tried to talk up a consolidation of the right wing candidates – which appears to have favoured Thomas and Crone stepping aside to give Palino a better chance against Phil Goff.

Palino never stood a chance, even if it was just him versus Goff. So Lush helped split and fragment the centre-right. And now he seems to be complaining about it.

The Auckland mayoralty was pretty much an unlosable election – for Phil Goff. As soon as he announced he was standing the media installed him as front runner and that’s how they played out the whole campaign, never seriously reporting a contest.

The media ended up giving a bit of consolation coverage to Chlöe Swarbrick, probably to try and inject some interest into a contest they had decided months previously.

There has been a lack of serious centre-right or right candidates in Auckland for some time. John Banks (versus Len Brown) in 2010 was hardly a great new talent, and Palino never looked like getting close in 2013.

This time the mayoralty was virtually unlosable for Goff as soon as he stepped forward.

And it was unwinnable for Palino, even if Lusk has persuaded the centre and right to back him exclusively. He was never going to be seen as a Trump.

To win mayoralties, especially in major cities, you need a credible candidate with good name recognition and a strong campaign team.

The Lusk formula might succeed in knocking a few contenders down, but it’s always going to struggle to get a top candidate and widespread support, even from the right.

But if you want his advise on how to not win an election – New book being launched Nov 7, pre-order now.

Greens would stand aside for Labour in Mt Roskill

Greens have announced they won’t stand a candidate in the Mt Roskill by-election, should Phil Goff win the Auckland mayoralty and resign from Parliament.

Stuff: Greens won’t stand candidate in any Mt Roskill by-election

The Greens will not stand a candidate in a Mt Roskill by-election if Labour incumbent Phil Goff wins the Auckland mayoralty and vacates the seat, the party has announced.

The deal is part of a memorandum of understanding the two left-wing parties signed earlier this year – but the Greens say the move has “no bearing” on its plans for the 2017 election.

Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei said the party had decided not to stand a candidate in the seat “after several weeks of internal discussions”.

“The Mt Roskill by-election will be closely contested, and we don’t want to play any role in National winning the seat.” 

Turei said the decision showed the success of the memorandum of understanding between the two parties, which includes an agreement to co-operate in Parliament and investigate a joint policy and/or campaign.

The party was making the announcement now to be clear with its supporters and the public, given the “considerable interest” in a likely Mt Roskill by-election.

I think the timing of this announcement is odd, before the results of the local body election are known.

The Greens risk a backlash over this – perhaps this is a deliberate test of what the reaction might be in advance of next year’s general election.

Last election Barry Coates stood for the Greens in Mt Roskill. He will soon replace Kevin Hague as next Green off the list in Parliament. A by-election would have given him a chance to raise his profile but he has to defer to a party decision to stay away.

The Greens may think that not standing in order to help Labour candidate Michael Wood will give them and their MoU with Labour good publicity, but it could just as easily backfire. I guess it’s best to test this now before taking a bigger risk in next year’s election.

ACT’s David Seymour is highlighting the change of attitude to electorate jack-ups by both Greens and Labour.

Mt Roskill arrangement shows hypocrisy of opposition

The Opposition’s hypocrisy over ‘dirty deals’ is brazen, says ACT Leader David Seymour as the Green Party confirms that they won’t stand a candidate in Mt Roskill as part of an arrangement with Labour.

“Michael Wood’s campaign in Mt Roskill is set to be a brazen display of hypocrisy,” says Mr Seymour. “Two years ago he was bemoaning John Key’s endorsement of a vote for me in Epsom as a ‘dodgy deal’. Now look at him.

“The Greens ought to be just as embarrassed, with Julie-Anne Genter having called John Key’s Epsom endorsement ‘undemocratic’. Clearly, this was nothing more than faux-outrage.

“Strategic voting is a reality of MMP, but hypocrisy is optional. Labour and the Greens have shown how cheap their words are by participating in a deal that far eclipses the electoral arrangements they criticise every election.”

Wood stood for Labour in Epsom last general election and has been selected as Labour’s candidate in Mt Roskill should Goff resign.

It will be interesting to see if ACT stand a candidate in Mt Roskill. That would give them more opportunity to bash Greens and Labour with a hypocrisy hammer – but it could also jeopardise the National candidate’s chances.

ACT didn’t stand a candidate in Mt Roskill in 2014.

Possible by-elections

There’s a couple of probable and several more possible by-elections in store before next year’s election (NBR’s Rob Hosking has suggested John Key should call an early election for later this year but I don’t see that happening).

It’s expected that Phil Goff will win the Auckland mayoralty so a Mt Roskill by-election seems very likely.

Maurice Williamson has just been appointed Consul-General in Los Angeles. Williamson had already indicated he would retire at the next election but now a by-election in his Pakuranga electorate looks possible, but RNZ says that “his start date is expected to be set late enough to avoid triggering a by-election”.

There has been speculation (but no definite sign) that Nanaia Mahuta may resign from Parliament. If she does that well before next year’s election then there would be a by-election in her Hauraki-Waikato electorate.

If the Auditor General comes down hard on Murray McCully over the Saudi sheep deal then McCully may bring forward his exit from his East Coast Bays electorate (he has announced he will step down at the next election).

It ‘has been rumoured’ (according to Matthew Hooton) that David Shearer might be offered ‘a senior appointment’ and leave his Mt Albert electorate. Shearer is at odds with Labour leader Andrew Little, regarded as too right wing.

Hooton is also speculating that Stuart Nash, another non-left Labour MP, may jump to the NZ First waka (there has been alternate party speculation and rumour with Nash for years). That would put his Napier seat up for grabs (I think that’s unlikely before the next general election).

 

‘Living wage’ promise from the other side of Goff’s mouth

Just after posting on Phil Goff’s vague ‘promises’ to reduce rates rises – ‘Reduce rates’ promises – he is now speaking out the other side of his campaign mouth:

RNZ: Goff promises push for council staff living wage

Former Labour MP Mr Goff said he wanted all council staff earning at least the living wage.

Mr Goff estimated about 1500 of the more than 9000 council staff were being paid below the living wage and said the council should be leading by example.

“People are struggling to look after their families properly when they’re on the minimum wage. I can’t do much about the vast majority of those people but as mayor at least I could meet the obligation of being a good employer, to pay a decent living wage to the people that at the moment are barely on the minimum wage.

“Auckland is the country’s most expensive city to live in. We have to recognise that in how we treat our staff.

He said it would be just for staff directly employed by the council, but he would look at broadening that to contractors in future.

At a cost of $4 million it would not be funded from increasing rates but through cutting council costs, Mr Goff said.

Which costs Goff would cut to fund this increased expenditure are not specified.

“Now this isn’t something I can do unilaterally, it would require a vote of a majority on council and I’m conscious of the fact that it was voted down by councillors,” he said.

“But I believe if we relate the living wage solely to those employed directly by the council and we fund that out of efficiencies that we find then I can get a majority of councillors to support this.”

“Fund that out of efficiencies that we find” – yeah, right.

From Goff’s policy:

Where new expenditure is sought, the expectation will be that funding should be secured by the discontinuation of lower value activity, rather than simply assuming the continuous growth in functions and expenditure.

There is no mention of a living wage in his policy at the moment. On staff costs:

As a first step each department within Council will be set an efficiency target, averaging 3-6 percent across total Council expenditure to contribute toward future cost pressures. 

Areas where staffing and expenditure are very high or have increased disproportionately, such as in governance and communications, will be expected to find higher levels of savings.

He may have to factor in a disproportionate increase in wages of $4 million now. Or he could just ignore it and hope no one notices the conflicts.

Like many political candidates Goff talks costs and rates reductions out of one side of his mouth and spending promises out of the other.