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Auckland waves flag for greater regional funding

Auckland City waves the flag for greater regional funding

Auckland City’s Arts, Culture and Recreation Committee has extended its commitment to Surf Life Saving Northern Region (SLSNR) by allocating $84,000 annually for a further three years to 2008.

This continues the service contract the city has had with the organisation since 1996.

Surf Lifesaving requests funding from all 13 territorial local authorities in the northern region on a population-based formula. Based on this formula, $84,000 was the amount requested from Auckland City and is an increase on the previous year.

Auckland City contributes nearly 20 per cent of the total amount provided to Surf Lifesaving, despite there being no patrolled beaches in the city’s boundaries. Chairperson of the Arts, Culture and Recreation Committee, Councillor Penny Sefuiva believes other authorities should follow suit and allocate an amount closer to that requested by SLSNR.

"While the agreement between local authorities was not binding, it was an informal acknowledgement of the value and importance of their lifesaving work,” she says.

“The funding from other regional authorities for organisations like this is grossly inadequate. I’m proud that Auckland City is continuing to show support by giving the full requested amount. Some of the larger authorities are only giving half of what is being requested by Surf Lifesaving. This lack of funding by other authorities means that they cannot provide the full service that is desirable, but must patrol fewer beaches for a shorter season at a time when public demand for fuller cover is increasing.

“This council is constantly providing the lion’s share of funding because we see the value they provide to our residents. We are the only large council to consistently meet funding requests," says Mrs Sefuiva. The funding goes towards the patrolling of 15 beaches in the northern region. The beaches are identified as those most popular for visitors during the summer months and are sites where the life saving service is expected by beach goers. Auckland City recognises that its residents visit many of the beaches patrolled by SLSNR.

"There are many other needy regional organisations and facilities which depend on local authorities to exist. I challenge these other funding agencies and authorities to loosen up their purse strings a little, especially when it comes to good causes like this where we're talking about saving people's lives," says Mrs Sefuiva.

The committee has also asked council officers to explore other regional and central government funding sources to support the Surf Lifesaving Northern Region cause.


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