Tag: Rates (tax)

Criticisms Towards the Council

Observers are noting increased Criticisms

 

budget

Note: This does not include reaction to the Air Quality debate as any resentment should be directed at Government where the order came from – not Council who are simply complying with central legislation

It was brought up in conversation over the Long Term Plan that criticisms and resentment towards the Council seems to be more naked, concentrated, and getting rather well-informed than the usual junk you can see often being flung. What makes the criticism more concentrated and naked is that once residents understand how the rating system works they hone their criticisms rather sharply back at the Council. So is such criticism warranted towards the Governing Body or is the City over reacting to the large and wider situation at play.

My own reaction (in-lieu of the discussion) was:

The City is openly critical for three reasons

  1. City Building – not seeing it unless you are in the City Centre or a community getting cut backs (85% of Auckland)
  2. People just want to be left alone, live, work play in a decent city without being rated to hell in back
  3. And the Council (that includes Auckland Transport, and Auckland Council Property Limited) perceived to be well, tone-deaf

 

What is fuelling the criticisms along is the 21 Local Boards send a sharp letter to the Mayor as we can see here: Local Boards Fire Shot Over Mayor’s Bow

If you are looking for a Councillor’s sharp criticism – with me replying back twice then I leave you this from Councillor Chris Fletcher:

Endless meetings and workshops are being held in a desperate attempt to reconcile the Mayor’s 10 year budget with Auckland’s community aspirations. The public were sold a pup during the unitary plan process. It did not duly consider the cost of meeting infrastructure investment with population growth. Furthermore planners were working on a different set of data from infrastructure providers. Now in desperation we are trying to ration sparse resources to ensure we can meet our responsibilities. This has translated into an unacceptable proposal to cut parks and sports investment by nearly 40% over the next 10 years. All of this could have been avoided if there had been leadership in managing the statutory processes bringing policy and funding together in the Auckland Plan, LTP and Unitary Plan.

  • Ben Ross Yes and No Councillor Fletcher. The Central Government can ware some of the blame through the statutory time frame set to the Unitary Plan as well as being too hands off unlike their New South Wales, Victorian, and Queensland counterparts as seen here: https://voakl.net/…/queensland-gets-it-right-auckland…/As for Council well I have seen the Mayor’s 10 Spatial Priorities being floated around. If funding is so limited then wouldn’t be wise to focus on those 10 Spatial Priorities. After five years we move onto another ten and so on and so on.

    Alternative sources of funding have been pointed out to the Council to supplement the rates stream also seen here:https://voakl.net/2014/10/21/questions-around-land-sales/ (you were absent Councillor – I believe at the late Mark Ford’s funeral?) More can be seen here:https://voakl.net/…/the-reaction-to-my-presentation-to…/

    The alternatives and way forward is all there for the Governing Body, whether the Governing Body advances into the 21st Century in thinking, planning and having to go outside the box is yet to be seen

    • Christine Fletcher It is totally irresponsible to commit to new developments knowing we are unable to care for our existing infrastructure with renewals etc. Council should have staged the unitary plan, carefully rolling it out in an orderly and financially sustainable manner with social and physical infrastructure in place. I am absolutely sure government would have supported this process if the issue had been properly presented to them.
    • Ben Ross I would safely the say the Government knows very full well what is going on otherwise the Environment Minister would not be approving SHA’s in North West Auckland (If Adams and now Smith were doing their jobs properly that is).

      Furthermore on that assumption the Government has no appetite to stage any part of the Unitary Plan otherwise the 2016 deadline would have been kicked to say 2018. Procedural Minute 10 from the Hearings Panel also gives weight to that the MofEnviron is again aware but choosing not to intervene in any great measure.
      The Ministry for the Environment is about to use a senior analyst to review the Unitary Plan Hearings Processes thus far. What the review will find and whether the Government will intervene from that is yet to be seen.

      All said if the Minister and Ministry have no idea what is really going on since the Unitary Plan went out for notification then what the heck was in their submission and what are they honestly doing that does not involve blinkers.

      Impetus now lays with the Minister

 

Seems Central Government might be partly to blame for where we are if we take both the Unitary Plan and Long Term Plan in account.

 

So are the critiques too harsh, too soft, or about right as we come to the 2015-2025 Long Term Plan – the Council’s master budget document?

 

Progress from the Long Term Plan 2015-2025 Debate

Some Transport Projects Get the Chop, Others Stay

 

Some of the transport options remaining in the 2015-2025 LTP pic.twitter.com/86P6k4QGn3

 

That is from the Long Term Plan 2015-2025 presentation which is being given at the moment by the Mayor.

This list apparently shows capital funding options remaining for the above projects through the 2015-2025 Long Term Plan (still subject to consultation and final ratification).

So Walters Road gets grade separated, Takanini gets a new library (and possibly station if the developer at Takanini Village still wants to build it), and two new stations at Paerata and Drury. But some causalities were: Pukekohe Electrification, PENLINK, and a pile of roading projects.

The Mayor has stated rate rises will be at an average of 2.5% this year and moves to 3.5% after that. He has stated Council can go higher if the public want it. Councillor Cameron Brewer has said this LTP is an encouraging document to work on.

 

More as it comes to hand