Auckland Council floats new tax to clean up beaches

Auckland Council is proposing a new tax of about $60 per year per household to help clean up beaches.

New Zealand is home to some of the world's best beaches, but increasingly there are stories about them being ruined by sewerage and waste.

On Friday, there were a dozen beaches around Auckland that were off limits for swimming.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff told The Project the problem has built up over decades.

"It took about a hundred years and I guess too many councils that thought 'this will be too hard to fix, we'll leave it in the too-hard basket and we'll leave it for the next generation to fix'," he said.

"We're going to lift the investment in water quality from $5.9 billion over the next 10 years to $7 billion."

Mr Goff said this investment is expected to result in a reduction to wastewater overflows by 80-90 percent.

It would be funded through a new tax, dubbed by some as the 'poo tax', of an estimated $67 per household per year.

"We want better beaches for our kids and our grandkids," Mr Goff said. 

Overseas, the problem is being dealt with in beach hot spots like New Jersey with a beach fee, forcing people to purchase a tag for US$1 each time they use the beach.