Candidate for Auckland Mayor – John Palino Responds to Mayor Brown over Transport Funding
This has just come my way as in Hot Off The Press.
Auckland mayoral candidate John Palino has issued a stern response to Mayor Len Brown in Len’s “decision not to give Aucklanders the final say on what equates to a permanent 30 per cent increase in rates.”
This is in relation to the Mayor blocking Councillor George Wood’s Notice of Motion attempt to get a referendum held on the City Rail Link.
From the NZH on Councillor Wood’s blocked attempt:
By Mathew Dearnaley; 5:30 AM Tuesday Jun 25, 2013
Mayor Len Brown has blocked a councillor’s bid to put funding for the proposed $2.4 billion central city rail link and other transport projects to a public referendum.
North Shore council member George Wood is “astounded” Mr Brown has rejected a notice of motion he offered for a meeting of the council’s governing body this Thursday.
Mr Wood wanted the council to at least consider the idea of holding a referendum during October’s local body elections, to ask Aucklanders if they supported a proposal to raise an extra $400 million a year by increasing property taxes or imposing tolls on existing as well as new roads.
But he said the Mayor had refused to allow councillors to debate the prop
Although Mr Brown indicated last year that options for paying for what is expected to be a $12 billion transport funding gap between now and 2041 could go to a referendum, he is waiting for a final report from a “consensus building” advisory group on how to raise extra cash.
The 17-member group – on which business and union leaders have joined transport campaigners and the Automobile Association – expects to present a funding recommendation to Mr Brown next month.
You can read the rest in the Herald
In reply to the Mayor’s decision and transport funding situation this is what Auckland Mayoral Candidate John Palino’s full response was:
I’ll put the local back into local government
“Mayor Brown’s decision not to give Aucklanders the final say on what equates to a permanent 30 per cent increase in rates contradicts the very principle of local government and will further harm Auckland’s critical relationship with Wellington,” says Mayoral candidate John Palino.
“Auckland has massive transport challenges and none greater than finding the investment the city needs. The Consensus Building Group’s investigation into funding Auckland’s transport is a good start to the discussion, but the Mayor proposes that it’s also the end.
“That’s not local democracy, especially when the Consensus Building Group never had central government support and was not allowed to question the key projects driving the need for new taxation.
“The Mayor established the group to consider options for covering a projected $10-15 billion transport funding deficit over the next 30 years. That deficit is made up of the Mayor’s key projects – the $2.8 billion city rail link; the $5 billion additional harbour crossing; and the $2-3 billion AMETI and East-West link project.
“These three projects do not deliver good transport outcomes for Auckland and this shows up in the analysis which shows the transport benefits of these projects to be greatly outweighed by the costs. The return on the AMETI and East-West Link project is still unclear, but the CRL returns 40 cents for each dollar invested and the harbour crossing returns 30 cents.
“In establishing the Consensus group, the Mayor has tried to deflect ongoing and unresolved evidence that his transport programme is flawed, doesn’t return the benefits which would otherwise offset their cost, won’t improve congestion and will require a further $400 million per annum in taxes each and every year forever.
“As Mayor, I won’t be selecting projects as part of my campaign, but I’ll be holding those agencies to account for developing solutions that meet Auckland’s needs – something the Mayor’s programme doesn’t do.
“If we can get a transport programme which delivers the quality of life Aucklander’s demand, then I’ll look at funding options alongside and not independent of central government. We have to work together if we’re going to get positive outcomes.
“And most of all, I’ll give you the final say on whether you think such a significant proposal will help deliver the city you want to live in,” says Mr Palino.
Thoughts and comments folks? We are counting down to the 2013 Local Government elections and we will be seeing a lot more of this. Post your comments below but, remember play the ball NOT the person!