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ARC chair fallen out with more stakeholders

Thursday, May 25th, 2006

ARC chair fallen out with more key Auckland stakeholders

ARC chairman Mike Lee yesterday demonstrated he has fallen out with more of the region's key stakeholders and should step aside in Auckland's interests, the Northern Employers & Manufacturers Association says.

EMA repeated its call for Mr Lee to step aside as a result of comments by him in two separate articles in yesterday's Herald.

"Mr Lee's comments confirm that he is unable to lead the Auckland region," said EMA's chief executive Alasdair Thompson.

"On May 16th the lead story in the Herald made clear Prime Minister Clark, Finance Minister Cullen, Transport Minister Annette King and Auckland Minister Tizard were unhappy with the ARC.

"Yesterday's report (Mayors plead for big ARC rates rise) signals that Auckland's Mayor Hubbard and Manukau's Mayor Curtis are also having great difficulty working with the ARC.

"Business does not want further ARC rates increases before we see the plans for spending the 34 per cent rates increase brought in and retained, two years ago, but they are nowhere in sight.

"Instead, the ARC has spent ratepayers' funds (in ARH) on buying

full ownership of the Ports of Auckland, which they already controlled.

"Those assets were given by an Act of Parliament for investing in Auckland's infrastructure but Mr Lee saw to it they are now locked up in the Port.

"We are most concerned to see in the second report yesterday (Clevedon canal village plan faces choppy waters) that Mr Lee plans to misuse ratepayers funds to appeal any decision over resource consents issued for a canal village at Clevedon.

"The ARC is not the consenting authority over that project - Manukau City is - yet Mr Lee is presuming ultimate control.

"His comments represent disrespect for other councils in the region and a willingness to use ratepayers money to push his own agenda.

Mr Lee has no workable plans for developing our desperately needed passenger transport networks.

"His views are also creating obstacles which are preventing him from working with Auckland's key stakeholders.

"His leadership failure is damaging Aucklanders lifestyle and our aspirations for a standard of living to match Australia's.

"Relations between Mr Lee, the Government, and Auckland's key mayors are preventing Auckland from working.

"He should step aside now."

ENDS

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