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Banks, Fletcher or Hubbard? Who cares?

28 September 2004

Auckland City Mayoral Candidates Antics Are Diverting Voters Attention From The Really Important Battle - Control Of The Arc.

Banks, Fletcher or Hubbard? Who cares?

Whoever wins the Auckland mayoralty race will not have the power to solve Auckland's traffic woes - which the vast majority of residents and businesses believe is the main problem for the Auckland Region.

That issue will be resolved by whoever controls the Auckland Regional Council.

Under the new rules it is the ARC and its subsidiaries who will call the play on finding - and ensuring the implementation of - solutions to Auckland's traffic problems.

The key election this year is the one to decide the make-up of the ARC.

If that leadership is dominated by the business groupings of Auckland Citizens & Ratepayers Now, and Advancing Auckland, then expect roading solutions to dominate at the expense of public transport. And that solution will include building an Eastern Motorway as a priority over the partially complete Western By-Pass.

This business group also wants the abolition of rating differentials - which will mean higher rates again for residential ratepayers.

On the other hand the 'Rates Rebellion - Fresh Start' team, and many of the independents standing - who essentially represent residential ratepayers - have a policy which embraces both roading and public transport solutions.

This ratepayer group also proposes rigid scrutiny of ARC expenditure with a view to reducing total rate demands; a fair rates system including business differentials; zero-rating for GST on rates; and a three year deadline for introducing an alternative to rates as the main source of council funds.

The electors have a clear choice - and they should not be diverted by the antics of Auckland mayoral candidates who, when elected, will be almost powerless to achieve anything for the region as a whole.

Control of the ARC is the key battle in this years elections.


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