Ratepayers unsure of mayor Wayne Brown's proposal to sell Auckland International Airport shares

In the hope of slashing debt Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown has proposed selling off Auckland Council's shares in its largest financial holding - Auckland International Airport.

But even with the promise of lowering rates - not all ratepayers think it's a good idea. 

Auckland Airport could be about to become a little less 'Auckland' with the mayor proposing the sale of Auckland Council's 18 percent stake in the asset. 

"Take some revenue to help save our rates, good idea!" one person said.

Another told Newshub: "If you're selling the silver like that, is it really a good thing to do?"

"We need to hold on to what we've got," a third said.

On Friday Brown said in a statement: "The proposed sale of Auckland Council's 18 percent shareholding could raise nearly $2 billion reducing the debt-servicing-cost to ratepayers by at least $88 million a year.

"Over the last three years -ratepayers have paid $240 million in debt servicing costs to hold shares that haven't paid a cent in dividends."

Auckland Council's shares are a minority holding which is not enough to influence commercial direction. 

Former mayoral candidate Efeso Collins said he's livid and he wouldn't have sold any strategic assets. 

"These are the shares that Manukau brought into the combined Auckland council so there will be people in south Auckland really saddened by this because these are shares that we purchased and all of Auckland has benefitted from," Collins said. 

Auckland Airport said ultimately it's up to the Council to decide but it will continue to have a constructive relationship with the key Auckland stakeholder.

Any sale would likely be welcomed by other potential investors. 

"An asset of that quality will be well received by the many investors in New Zealand and there's certainly enough cash availability for investors to partake," New Zealand Shareholders Association CEO Olver Mander told Newshub.

Auckland Ratepayers Alliance's Jordan Williams told Newshub it's not the only option. 

"Look at selling the port operations, not necessarily the land," Williams said.

The sale is part of the Mayor's budget proposal which will be put to the council's Governing Body next week for consultation in 2023.