Auckland‘s inner-city rail loop is at risk of being completely shunted off track by a lack of funding as the Government moves to curb council rates increases and borrowing, Local Government New Zealand says.
The prospect has been raised in a war of words between Local Government NZ and Local Government Minister Nick Smith, who says councils’ rates and borrowing have increased too quickly over the past decade and are reaching unsustainable levels.
In recent weeks Dr Smith has publicly voiced concerns about sharply rising council rates and debt ahead of a major reform package for the sector he expects to launch in the next month.
Oh dear I see the Left Right Cock fight is still in full flight especially over the City Rail Link. For heavens sake even your average “Rightie” supports the CRL and/or uses Public Transport. Unfortunately the article for is brevity misses the point of the situation.
The core of the problem that has led to this war of words and threats of derailing the City Rail Link is actually the Local Government Act 2002 which defines the powers of Councils in New Zealand.
Quoting from a comment I made in Facebook about the same linked article:
One word – well three and a number actually. Local Government Act 2002. Since 2002 rates and debt have soared since the previous Labour administration broadened the powers of Local Government to include a heck of a lot of “social” “stuff” that was previously in the domain of central government and NGOs. Looking at the Southern Initiative in the Draft Auckland Plan is a prime example of social that Central Govt should be doing OVER core activities (Rates Roads Rubbish as some of you call it). Labour through that Act fobbed off a lot of responsibility to Councils and they (Councils) still struggle due to lack of funding. As with Planning Powers – a rant in its own right. Solution: Scale back the Local Government Act 2002 and you might find rates going down.
The best way to look at it is look at the finances outlined in the current Auckland Draft Long Term Plan. How much money is raised from where, and where does it go. How much is on that CORE stuff, how much on the social stuff, and how much is luxury spending? Simply put is our money being used wisely and efficiently? I will run commentary on it as I draw up my submission to The Draft Long Term Plan.
As with planning powers Councils have, my comment to another matter in that was posted in Facebook.
Local Government Act (Auckland Governance) 2009 last I looked. The Auckland Plan was “mandated” by central government last I looked with the Long Term Plan coming from the Local Government Act 2002 I believe. That might of just stated something some might know but it is what Auckland go lumbered with. In a few hours we should hear which way land use went – that is any where but where it should have gone. Lay the zone for maximum density of class (say medium residential), place some urban design principles to try to avoid the horrors since 1996 and away we go – market can decide if a house or medium rise apartment goes there depending on actual demand. Then again I did cover this in length in my submission
That was in a response to the results of the deliberations of Chapter 8 – Urban Auckland in The Draft Long Term Plan.
Yes I said we had a strategic victory with Chapter 8 and a Tactical Victory with Chapter 7 (and Section B I think), however as I mentioned yesterday we still have a long way to go to realise this:
To accommodate employment and economic activity in supporting a healthy social and physical environment for over two million residents by 2040. In doing so The Plan has to follow the objective of being: Simple, Efficient, Thrifty, and restoring Affordability to residents and businesses while still making Auckland ‘The Most Liveable City.’
The Battle continues – with me assisting in the good fight.