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Auckland City Residents and Ratepayers

Auckland City Residents and Ratepayers

"The Prime Minister Helen Clark is to be congratulated for keeping Westhaven Marina and Hobson West Marina in public ownership hands, and Auckland City's Mayor John Banks deserves a pat-on-the-back for wanting public ownership title even if issues concerning stewardship and payment remain unresolved" said Elaine West of Auckland City Residents and Ratepayers.

Ms West thinks Auckland's regional leaders will endorse public ownership of the marinas.

"In November last year, North Shore City Council wrote to Auckland's Mayors attending an Electoral College meeting.

North Shore City Councillors wanted- . to keep Westhaven Marina in 'regional public ownership in perpetuity' . research the sale of Hobson West Marina . each Mayor to build support for their motion across local authorities."

At this point Ms West asks "Why was North Shore City Council's request tabled without discussion by Auckland's Mayors and consequently kept out of the public domain? Why did Mr Banks omit this important message in numerous public statements?"

"A short time ago and seemingly to quell growing public disquiet, Sir Barry Curtis, Mayor of Manukau City and Chair of the Electoral College of Infrastructure Auckland said that "the mayors want Westhaven to stay in public ownership but it is up to Parliament to stop the sale."

"Meanwhile New Zealand First and Labour MPs were investigating ways of stopping the sale from going ahead, or of keeping the marinas in New Zealand hands."

"So our appreciation reaches out to all of Auckland's political allies who have worked hard on the topic over some months."

Elaine West says "We are now able to discuss a difference of opinion over which public body should pay costs and which public body should hold stewardship."

"On one hand, Mr Banks wants Auckland City Council to hold stewardship with the expectation that Auckland City ratepayers find ways to pay an estimated $46m for Westhaven Marina and Hobson West Marina, and a possible $400m for Ports of Auckland waterfront properties in total."

"On the other hand, increasing numbers of ratepayers believe that Auckland Regional Council should hold stewardship over the newly-acquired waterfront properties which can be given a new name like: Auckland Harbour Maritime Park."

"After all, Auckland City ratepayers contribute rates to regional parks without having such a park within the city boundary. Now we have a chance to join the rest of the region."

Ms West believes that purchasing the Auckland waterfront properties from Ports of Auckland does not present a major problem.

"It just needs a bit of circular-payment jiggling."

"Infrastructure Auckland can grant money that has accumulated largely through asset sales and Ports of Auckland share dividends ($900m) and return for $400m the whole non-core commercial waterfront properties to the rightful owners - the people of Auckland under Auckland Regional Council guardianship."

"Infrastructure Auckland owns 80% of shares in Ports of Auckland and will get 80% of the $400m returned to their public hands."

"In other words, the people of Auckland are paying the 20% private shareholders in Ports of Auckland in order to 'get them off the non-core waterfront property books - forever." "After the sale, we can create a public waterfront park fit to be proud of and one that Auckland has never seen the likes of before - for the greater public benefit and for generations to come."

"And Auckland City ratepayers will not have to pay over and over for property that once belonged to the region, and can now be genuinely returned to the region."

© Scoop Media

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