ARC Rates, Fear, Paranoia & Crunchy The Clown
From the REGIONAL RATEPAYERS REBELLION
The campaign oppposing the Auckland Regional Council's rating policies
ARC RATES CONSULATION REPORTED FEAR, PARANOIA AND CRUNCHY THE CLOWN.
A document released to me under the Official Information Act clearly shows that the ARC much-vaunted 'consultation' programme on this year's rating policy and rates increase was a total farce.
The document contains reports by ARC officers and councillors on the 200 meetings which formed the backbone of the consultation process that received the approval of the Auditor-General and the Minister of Local Government.
I cannot believe that either of them actually read this document and then approved the ARC consultation process.
In the document one officer reports that a presentation to a Rotary meeting 'was like going to grown up scouts!'
And went on to report 'a gentle cynicism filled the air'
A meeting in Milford was attended by '..a large group of mainly elderly white males, General tone was slight fear and paranoia'
From a Probus meeting came the comment 'Appreciative that we informed them but should they be interested or afraid?'
ARC officers also had a jaundiced view of North Shore residents '..the residential ratepayers are revolting as they no longer have a subsidised lifestyle and must contribute equally to the wonders delivered by the ARC'
Reporting on a meeting with a North Shore City Council committee ' T. and I shared comments on the NSCC councillors (including Crunchy the Clown)'
In marked contrast are reports from Business organisations in which ARC officers say 'All in all it was a pleasant experience.'' And other meetings 'Went well' and 'It was fine'.
From a meeting with a property company .'It was fine - they would pass on rates to tenants'.
All these comments are from a report which was intended to show that the ARC consultation was extensive and far wider than any local council would undertake - and that the ARC had taken residents views into account.
In fact the report shows that there was almost no real consultation, in the way demanded in the Local Government Act, and that the ARC was simply selling its policy with no intention of changing it in response to residential ratepayers concerns.
With a new round of consultation on next year's rates about to start it is hard to accept that the ARC will listen to ratepayers concerns any more than they did on the so-called consultation on this year's rates.