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12:53 pm, March 19th, 2023 - 10 comments
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Auckland Council is currently consulting on the draft Mayoral budget.
For the Waitakere Ranges Local Board the budget if approved would have significant consequences.
Sandra Coney and I have already gone into some of the detail of what the consequences would be. The proposal is that the local board would have its budget cut by $765,000. This is well over 10% of the budget that we have control over and will cause major damage.
Our environmental spend will be devastated. The recent storms have shown the need to protect trees and deal with weeds to hold slopes together and prevent slips. At a time when we need to increase the spend on weeds and pests we will have to cut back on our current spend.
Our arts and culture spend will be severely compromised. The Arts sector in the west not only enriches the area but it is also a significant driver of economic activity and employment. It is not a nice to have. It is an essential feature of the west.
And community groups will be severely compromised. I am well aware of the multiplier effect of grants and payments that we make. Groups use this to either obtain further funding from other sources or to get locals to contribute voluntarily to improving local areas. Without this help their efforts may cease completely.
The Local Board’s recent have your say event attracted a number of submitters, way more than usual. I will not mention presenters by name but there was real passion as well as reason in all of the submissions and points they made were very cogent. They included:
The suggestion that community leases should be increased to raise revenue received some attention. It was pointed out that the presumption of increased income was illusory. If rates are increased R&R groups would have as one of the major roles the raising of funds for Council. Many would not and would hand their hall back to Council. This would *increase* expenses for Council as the voluntary work of locals would have to be replaced by paid work from Council employees or contractors. Rather than using their efforts to contribute to community their efforts would be to enrich Council. Instead of Council being a giver it would become a taker. And in the meantime Community would be weakened.
The overwhelming message was the multiplier effect that local board and Council funding has. And what would be lost if this funding is cut.
What sort of city do you want to live in? If you do not wish to live in a city that is going backwards environmentally, artistically and socially then please submit.
Submissions close at 11 pm 28 March. You can make a submission online at akhaveyoursay.nz/budget.
Reprinted from gregpresland.com
I would suggest the first and most important consideration would be to sack the current backward looking, mentally challenged dinosaur of a mayor. Not only could his salary and financial perks be more usefully spent elsewhere, but the council itself would be in the hands of the councillors who, with a few possible exceptions, are as individuals a darned sight more competent than the mayor.
Said with tongue firmly planted in cheek.
I know this is probably naive and ignorant but seeing all this work to drive huge cuts makes me wonder if ACC would be in this pit of financial despair had a mayor from the left won the election?
If so how would the left leaning mayor have done this?
1 perhaps borrow more
2 sell things like golf courses except where they do actually provide sink/swamp effects & value for climate change/flooding…..not all of them will
3 sell or review leased etc assets that are not earning up to par
4 review staffing but have changes on a longer spread out basis, no short sharp shocks
Auckland is a huge entity population and geographic wise.
I wonder at the seemingly unconstrained growth ever outwards or inwards with ugly intensification.
The low key and low cost meeting of needs by libraries, access to CAB, colourful street activities provide a way for $$$$ poor to access culture and cultural events. So neighbours days, balloons in parks or whatever are accessible as an adventure for children (big or small) more than going to Lucia de Lammermoor. I am not against L de L, this end of the cultural market is well catered for.
Does ACC have rental housing? Could this be passed over to KO or social agencies? Some times you don't need to sell for mega bucks, just hand over to another and stop the cost of the yearly funding.
The golf course argument is surely a red herring. Some are public courses on a pay per play basis. Others like Remuera course are private businesses operating on public land. My rates are tied up in the Remuera golf course land but I can't go onto it.
And the argument about them being detention ponds is also a bit spurious in my opinion.
First, if they retained water a significant amount of the time then no one would want to play on them. And they could still be sold to a private golf consortium with the tag that they remain capable to be used as detention ponds in storms.
Plenty of the community facilities that Brown wants to privatise are on public land that would pond up, too. Likewise, many of the community services he wants to stop funding provide a valuable, mostly voluntary, contribution in times of crisis.
I sent a submission in. I thought if it was light on detail no one would read it so I did about a page. But the council software took all of the formatting out of my text and bundled it up so tight I doubt anyone will read it. Either way, I think I would have wasted my time.
Brown is the Mayor the right wanted in place since they put John Banks forward at the start of the super city, in my opinion,and these cutbacks to rates, rubbish and roads reflect an ideology of what local government should be about.
But, Brown, Simpson and Williamson are three votes and we have to hope that the councillors with a social conscience will come to the rescue and not back down.
Nothing naive or ignorant about your contribution Shanreagh. It is pretty much what I have been thinking. He's taking the knife to social amenities that he, himself, doesn't use. Eg. libraries (wonder when he last read a a book to improve his general knowledge), CAB and environmental enterprises which he wouldn't have a clue about.
He implicitly ruled out selling golf courses which he no doubt uses and where a significant proportion of his vote came from.
As for his diatribe about orange cones around the city… yes, they are a nuisance but far rather they were there preventing accidents than not there. Such petty, small mindedness when there are huge problems in Auckland including inadequate infrastructure that he should be concentrating on improving.
He is on record as saying that he doesn't believe the Council should be providing any social services – a mean, nasty narcissist devoid of empathy for the struggling communities (of which there are many) he is supposed to also be representing.
I totally agree with your comments Anne. I volunteer for and am the treasurer of our local small CAB in a Waikato town. We rely on constant fundraising and obtaining grants from various charities etc including an annual grant from our District Council. We're more than a bit worried that local body councils throughout the country could take a leaf from Auckland City, if they do decide not to subsidise the vital CABs in the city and do likewise, which basically means we, plus other similarly small CABs thoughout the country could face the chop and no longer exist, which would be a shocking outcome for Aotearoa, as so many people rely on us to help people out who need advice on so many different problems who simply don't know what to do.
Submit – curl up into a ball and sleep for 3 years.
Cope – throw darts at an image of Rodney Hide (they had plans identifying where not to build before Super City came along).
Resist … let councillors know (ignore the Mayor), organise a save out city movement (action within the 3 years, including protest wherever the Mayor goes, and a policy for a 2025 mayoral candidates to sign up to).
Yeah, when did this new model come in where Auckland had to beg for its services. That desiccated skeleton's intentions are predetermined and he is not going to read one single submission, so why bother?
Why should 90% of Aucklanders have to fight against the remaining 10% who want to buy another house, Maserati, family holiday rather than pay their way?
As SPC says, far better to use our energy to disrupt and eject that cunt out of office as soon as possible and make his life really, really difficult in the process.
Admire your work, MS, but surely you can see we ordinary folk are being set up.
Here's what I think:
Prior to amalgamation, we had 8 local authorities in the Auckland region. You could have a job in Auckland City (CBD) and have the choice of living in several different council areas.
The upshot of this was that councils competed for the best places to live and the best amenities to give the people who lived there, or their best people would go to another council's area.
After the so-called super city, we now have one council. Apart from the fortunate few who can primarily work remotely from, say, Pokeno or Tamahere, no-one has the choices they used to have. If you don't like the amenities in the council area you live in, your only choice is to move town, move job, move schools, make new friends, and so on.
Which leaves people like Mayor Brown free to cut back services as much as he wants. In a strange way, Rodney Hide and Key's government set Auckland up to be the monopoly public body, with no visible competition, that the right-wing said was so wrong for decade after decade.
For once, I agree with them – Auckland should have, say, four cities (North, South, East, West). That will bring back the level of competition that is currently missing. For those who remember back to 2008, that's what the Royal Commission recommended, but Hide and Key decided they knew better. In 2023, Hide lives in Christchurch, I think, and Key became something of a globetrotter. What does that say about their vision vs reality?
A cynic might say that turning Auckland into a single city was a necessary precursor to the ability to cut back on services in the way we are experiencing now. Perhaps by accident, that's how it seems to have turned out, anyway. Ergo, the best way to stop the cuts is to argue for what the Royal Commission researched and concluded back in 2008.
Humans can be way overestimated, some of us have built a CERN Large Hadron Collider, and developed COVID vaccines, and others are just glad the Supercity Mayor is not a Samoan!–or oblivious or alienated from the whole scenario.
This Supercity Mayor is furthest from a team player imaginable. He has been a two term Mayor in the Far North, FNDC, and he showed zero empathy for ordinary ratepayers as he skewed the rating burden from Business/Farming to Residential. And as he gunned for PSA members first when making uneccessary staff cuts.
How does “Browny” manufacture consent? He picks off Councillors one by one Steinie in hand, with low key bullying–“look everyone else supports the cuts…”
The totally obvious is that all Councillors and Community Boards and Ratepayers have to stick it to Mr Brown. His “economic hole” case is bogus, a tactic to sell off more of the people’s assets. Golf Courses exempt of course.
To give some 'flavour' to the issue, here is a video of the anti co-governance meeting in Orewa last night:
Just look at them. Listen to them.
These are the same people who voted for Wayne Brown. Racists and dinosaurs all of them.