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Community Trust Not A 'Council Grab'

26 August 2002

Community Trust Not A 'Council Grab'

Hutt City Mayor John Terris says it is wrong to portray Council's submission to the Hutt Mana Energy Trust as aiming to 'grab a share' of Trust money.

"Our submission suggested "that the optimal solution is to return half the funds to customers (50%) and transfer the remaining assets of the Trust (50%) to a new entity based on a structure similar to Infrastructure Auckland, which would deliver benefits to the community as a whole"," said Mayor Terris.

"Claims that we want to 'claim a share of the assets' are way off the mark and totally misrepresent the view of Council's submission. The simple fact is that, again, in the words of our submission, "there are a number of infrastructural and community projects that would benefit the community that are currently beyond the ability of the community to fund."

"These could be things like further upgrading Walter Nash Stadium, funding grass-roots sports in the city (particularly in the wake of Sparc (Hillary Commission) funding changes) and worthy community projects currently beyond the ability of this Council to undertake without putting more pressure on rates."

"To clarify this further, we would not view this fund as a way for Council to get projects funded that it would otherwise be expected to pay for. We were making a submission on behalf of the community that we represent. If all the money is returned to consumers it is more likely that we will have to go back to the ratepayer for funding of community projects.

"It should also be noted that in the past couple of months the Government, has axed two community funds - the Community Facilities Fund and the Community Sports & Recreation Fund.

"The Community Trust of Wellington has also just announced that it will have less money available this year.

"The fund would work independently of the work of Council, however, in the case of Walter Nash Stadium, it could have been the case that the fund would 'match the contribution of Council' thereby doubling the money available for an upgrade with no additional impact on rates."

"I am of the view that a one-off payment of $1500 to current consumers, while I'm sure it will be welcomed by many, will not contribute in any meaningful way to the future development of this city."

"We have a chance to create something here that will benefit generations of residents for years to come. Surely that is not a bad idea and it most certainly is not Council 'making a grab' for money."

"It is also worth noting that Council used the money from the sale of its electricity shares to repay debt - which directly benefited all ratepayers."

ENDS

For further information please contact:
Name: Kirk MacGibbon
Position: Communications Manager
Hutt City Council
DDI: 04-570 6940
Fax: 04-570 6964
Email: kirk.macgibbon@huttcity.govt.nz


Website: http://www.huttcity.govt.nz


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