2013 – YOUR CITY – YOUR CALL!
It Starts NOW
(Well as far as I am concerned it does)
Introduction to 2013 – YOUR CITY – YOUR CALL
Yes 2013 is five months away and yes I KNOW the 2013 Local Government elections where we elect our second Super City Council (and Mayor) is (at the time of this post) 13-14 months away. But after the flak our resident Prude – The Mayor copped last night at the St Heliers and Glendowie Resident Association’s AGM last night for two brutal hours I in my terms are saying the campaign for our vote next year is TRULY ON!
As I said in the 2013 Local Election page here at VOAKL:
View of Auckland will be exclusively shining the light at the upcoming Election and subsequent campaign as incumbent councillors, Local Board members, the mayor, plus candidates wanting the fore-mentioned positions of Office go out and “work the floor” for our vote (the one’s that can be bothered to do so).
And last night Mayor Len Brown was “working that floor” selling his (failed) Long Term Plan to a very (and rightfully) hostile Orakei Ward (home of the Leader of Council Opposition – Councillor Cameron Brewer).
In this post I shall open this exclusive VOAKL Series into the 2013 Local Elections by taking a look at last night’s ‘St Heliers and Glendowie Resident Association’s AGM’ in which the Mayor fronted up to a packed church.
The St Heliers and Glendowie Resident Association’s AGM – Our Resident Prude Gets a Toasting
Last night I attended the St Heliers and Glendowie Resident Association’s AGM after an invitation from Councillor Cameron Brewer. So while from Papakura (home of National MP and Minister of Corrections Judith Collins, and Centre-Right Councillor Calum Penrose), I trekked to the Orakei Ward and sat ditfully down the back as the people of the St Heliers and Glendowie Resident Association’s AGM went through the motions of the AGM then asking the mayor the tough questions. While invited, I made my way over and said hello to Brewer, Tamaki MP Simon O’Connor and Orakei Local Board Chair Desley Simpson before taking a seat as I was present (along with Councillor Dick Quax and others from Howick) to show solidarity with my fellow ratepayers of Orakei that we are not happy with the Mayor, the rates and The Long Term (and Auckland) Plan(s).
It was an interesting night as the mayor tried to work the floor and pitch his vision and The Long Term Plan that gave us the rates we have got across Auckland. There were good questions from the Orakei (and a few others) ratepayers and the heckling as well. And by the end of it in my interpretation, I think the mayor made no new friends in Orakei last night.
Here is the NZ Herald article on last nights meeting:
From the NZ Herald
Auckland Mayor Len Brown faced a barrage of angry ratepayers’ questions last night at a packed church hall meeting in St Heliers. Mr Brown acknowledged that the residents – in the Orakei Ward of the Auckland Council – were at the “peak” of the council’s rate increases. He figured the average rates change across all rating bands in Orakei was about 12 per cent. That brought laughter and cries of “that’s not inflation”.
But more laughter was to come – and a cry of “utter cobblers” – when he asked the audience to consider that the new united city rates and a separate charge for waste water charge reduced the cost increases in the area to 1.3 per cent. Mr Brown said the uniform annual charge for each house of $350 was the most fair amount for the whole community. He was asked why he seemed to be “ploughing ahead” with big ticket items without regard to the realities of people’s economic position? Mr Brown said the council had inherited a huge potential increase which had been reduced to an average rates increase of 3.6 per cent.
Guy King of the residents’ association said it was “extraordinary” the council was spending $10.8 million on V8 racing at Pukekohe yet giving the Orakei Local Board just $11 million for the year to spend in the ward.
“When are you going to give back to the purse that continually funds your eftpos card?”
First of all I heard that comment in red from Guy King and heck that was the comment of the night as it brought laughter all around including from me – well done Guy King!
But the other part in bold from Guy got me thinking and riled up as well. No I was not riled up at Guy King, he raised a valid point and one I also discussed in brief with Desley Simpson:
“I also agree with Desley, Orakei paying $105m in rates and only getting $10m approx back to the Local Board for local operations and projects is a bit off. If the Super City was done properly 25-33% of a Ward’s rates should go straight back to the Local Board to use as they (and their residents) see fit.”
And I strongly believe in that as I have seen money being stripped from Local Boards and dumped into the CBD or things like the V8s. Manurewa Local Board and its Chair Angela Dalton can give a testament to Council stripping her Local Board of cash and sending it else where. In my submission to the Auckland Plan, I was a strong believer in giving the Local Boards true power and actual money to do their jobs. Although in my submission it was in the case to urban planning (page 27 it gets the first mention), it can be easily extended to other aspects like pools and parks as well.
So I challenge the new council of the 2013-2016 term to give the Local Boards real power and real funding to do their jobs for the health and vibrancies of the community of Auckland (because all Auckland is, is heterogeneous city with many many many villages).
Now we have a few Facebook commentary from various places on last night’s meeting, lets take a look at the “public mode” commentary shall we:
Len Brown complains that rates are an unfair way of taxing people but refuses to use any of the tools available to him to make them “fairer”. Blames government instead.Angry critics take Brown to task over rate rises – National – NZ Herald NewsAuckland Mayor Len Brown faced a barrage of angry ratepayers’ questions last night at a packed church hall meeting in St Heliers.
Dick Quax Len Brown gave a masterful display of obfuscation at the St Heliers/Glendowie Residents meeting.
Dick Quax Len Brown is ethnically cleansing Auckland of its elderly through the imposition of high rates.
Colin Livingstone Obfuscation…or ‘creating a smokescreen’. Blame diversion, equivocation….squirming out of tight corners and deftly covering one’s tracks. Sounds like Tony Blair!
One of the biggest fibs from the Mayor Len Brown last night was his claim that his low $350 Uniform Annual General Charge was without doubt technically the fairest option.
Last October, finance staff reported that “a UAGC of $450 will result in the least overall change in rates over all incomes.” We’d lost a vote for a $550 UAGC back then, with only 5 councillors supporting it.
However in May, heeding that official advice, George Wood and I put up an amendment to the lift the UAGC to $450 instead. That was lost 17 to 6 votes.
According to official advice, a $450 UAGC would’ve seen a reduction of the number of households paying greater than 20% in rates increases reduce by 6,000.Angry critics take Brown to task over rate rises – National – NZ Herald NewsAuckland Mayor Len Brown faced a barrage of angry ratepayers’ questions last night at a packed church hall meeting in St Heliers.
You and 4 others like this.
Ben Ross Putting it out there, I also support the $450 UAGC as it was the most equitable of the 3 levels
Ben Ross I would worry going to the $750 mark George as you would get the exact opposite to what we have now, rather than having Orakei jumping up and down you would get all of South and West Auckland jumping up and down – and last time they got mobilised they helped Brown trounce Banks nearly two to one
George Wood But the lower level ratepayers are actually subsiding the rates of others now with the limit of 5.8% on reductions.
Ben Ross Yes I know, I got caught on the 5.6% rate reductions cap after the real deduction was 9.8% for this cycle
Sharon Stewart Yes you are correct George everyone wanted the higher UAGC they felt that it would be the fairest all round. $450 was a figure that the Mayor told the meeting out at Botany he would seriously consider. Didn’t happen.
Sharon Stewart HOW THE COUNCIL VOTED ON THE UAGC That the Uniform Annual General Charge (UAGC) be increased to $450 applied on a per separately used or inhabited part (SUIP) basis
A division was called for, voting on which was as follows:
For: Councillors:Cameron BrewerHon Chris Fletcher
- Nigel James Turnbull $450 UAGC will be my election campaign stance…official advice suggested this was the most balanced approach to the UAGC when analysed across the region. Was really a no-brainer that got ignored by the left wing majority on council. An inclusive council would be one that struck the middle ground…would it not?
Ben Ross Correct Nigel. absolutely correct
There has also been plenty of more banter today as well on last night’s meeting.
What I can draw on from this is the unofficial campaign for 2013 has already started with Len Brown in one corner, Cameron Brewer and co in another corner, and me running around running that commentary and posting alternatives out there for a better Auckland. Last night Orakei shone the bright light into Len’s corner as our mayor tried pitch his Long Term Plan and justify why Orakei got the spiky fish induced bum’s rush it did with its rates. And as October 2013 draws ever so closer, the light will continue to be shone into those corners who stand for office.
For me personally there will be some changes.
VOAKL will no longer focus on Snapper and Integrated Ticketing here in Auckland. To be honest I grow tiresome of that affair and it is honestly distracting me from other issues out there in Auckland. Others out there will continue their commentary on the Snapper affair while my primary focus is on 2013, urban planning and Port of Auckland .
I am also checking some numbers and making some decisions for myself as well as 2013 draws near. Don’t worry I will keep my fellow readers informed on updates and happenings
And that brings to a close my first post on the VOAKL exclusive focus as 2013 Local Elections draw nearer.
Remember as Auckland Ratepayers:
2013 – YOUR CITY – YOUR CALL
My passion for Auckland is strong – as I want a better Auckland for everyone!