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Council releases submission to ARC

Council releases submission to ARC

Auckland City Council has today released its submission on the Auckland Regional Council’s (ARC) latest draft annual plan.

The chairperson of the council’s Strategy and Governance Committee, Councillor Mark Donnelly, says Auckland City has examined the ARC’s draft annual plan and supports most of the projects and programmes.

“That said, we have several issues of significant concern.

“There has been a concerted effort by regional mayors and the regional Land Transport Committee to agree on a funding proposal to complete regional transport networks. In addition, the ARC, ARTNL, Infrastructure Auckland and local councils have worked together to produce a regional rail business plan.

“Auckland City Council, therefore, strongly supports the ARC funding its part of transport initiatives. However, we are concerned to see that the money collected for this purpose by the ARC is used both efficiently and effectively, and will result in substantial improvements to the region’s transport systems.

“While Auckland City Council generally supports rate increases to cover the cost of transport, we have questions over increases in other areas of the budget, for example regional direction. Given the very large increases required in the transport area, we believe the ARC should show fiscal prudence and concentrate on its core statutory duties rather than moving into new areas, or budget significant sums for promotional activities.

“Auckland City Council also considers the ARC’s proposal to rate each ratepayer at the same rate in the dollar to be unfair, as it results in some very large rate incidence changes with non-residential ratepayers being big ‘winners’ and residential ratepayers big ‘losers’. We would like to see the research used by the ARC when it considered the benefits and costs of each of the various rating options, including the use of differentials, in terms of the present and future social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being of the region.”

Councillor Donnelly adds: “Auckland City Council has been concerned for some time with the consistency in the ARC’s policies, their implementation, and the council’s approach to regulatory matters. The ARC has a number of policies and at times problems arise when parts of these documents and their implementation appear to conflict. In addition there can be problems if the policies conflict with the ARC’s regulatory activities.

“Finally, Auckland City Council has expressed its disappointment to the ARC on their handling of the move to direct rating. The ARC has claimed the way in which it has decided to collect rates will result in savings for the region. Auckland City Council believes that sufficient information should be made available to enable the region’s ratepayers to make this judgement for themselves.

“Failing voluntary disclosure by the ARC, Auckland City Council will be obliged to make a formal request in terms of the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987.”

Councillor Donnelly says Auckland City presented its submission to the ARC this morning and looked forward to the regional authority responding to its concerns.

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