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Fletcher predicts Banks flip-flop

Fletcher predicts Banks flip-flop

John Banks is only now beginning to realise the folly of the Eastern Motorway and, before the week is out, he will commit yet another political flip-flop, predicts Chris Fletcher in a speech to the Parnell Community Committee today.

"This has happened because the culture of secrecy and 'we know best' from Banks and David Hay has led to a chaotic and totally out-of-control situation with the Eastern Motorway", she said.

"The Eastern Motorway will lead directly to the imposition of hundreds of dollars per year in extra rates for all Auckland households," she said. "That there has not even been a full cost-benefit analysis undertaken at this stage is scandalous. I am passionately committed to Council acting in a fiscally responsible manner, and this project is the most fiscally irresponsible project that this city has ever seen," she said.

"Banks' pet project goes way beyond even the fiscal irresponsibility of the original Mills/Hay Britomart proposals".

"I look back on the process that the Council adopted under my leadership to ensure that there was open and transparent consultation on the revised Britomart scheme. There were no closed-door meetings, there was no secrecy, and no cynical manipulation. Contrast this with the highly secretive approach by Mayor Banks and his cronies on the Eastern Motorway proposal," she said.

"The reason they are doing it this way is that they know it would be political suicide if the public knew the full story."

Chris also criticised John Banks for his approach to heritage issues.

"Compare this Council's 'hands-off' approach to the preservation of the Fitzroy Hotel with the process we initiated for the protection of the historic buildings in the Britomart precinct," she said.

"There are only a handful of buildings of any type left in Auckland City which date back to 1857 or earlier. We have an absolute obligation to preserve our heritage, and this Mayor's approach is one of a total lack of interest in such matters."

Chris challenged John Banks to support Auckland City's Heritage Manager, George Farrant, and champion a plan change to have the Fitzroy Hotel scheduled as a historic building, and to spearhead the preservation on its original site of the old Methodist Church in Mt Eden.

"I'll fight for these, will he?"

"This city deserves better," she said. "It's time for a radical change on Council. Where does John Banks stand on these issues? Good leadership would have him fronting up now."

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