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North Shore Council Spree is at Ratepayer Expense

media release 14 June 2006

statement from David Thornton

North Shore City Council Spending Spree is at Ratepayers Expense.

North Shore City ratepayers will be justifiably angry to learn that the City Council has spent $3 million to buy the commercial building on Devonport Wharf – especially as the council is about to confirm rate increases of almost 10%.

The Devonport Ferry Terminal should not belong to the City Council – it is part of the regions public transport network and should be owned, operated and funded through the regions public transport organisation Auckland Regional Transport Authority [ARTA]

When ARTA was set up by the government it was to be the ‘one-stop- shop’ for all public transport operations in the Auckland Region, but this is proving far from the truth.

North Shore ratepayers are already paying a substantial amount towards the cost of the new Busway and its five stations – as well as paying for rail infrastructure costs though ARC rates, although North Shore City has no rail infrastructure at all.

Its time the North Shore City Council stopped all unnecessary spending and started to prune its expenditure to protect its ratepayers from huge ongoing rate increases.

Equally alarming is the fact there was no mention of this latest purchase in the Annual Plan which has only just been completed –despite the fact that councils are required to consult their communities on major expenditure items.

This is the second may purchase in recent days –following closely on the $8 million land purchase north of Albany.

In the case of the Devoport Wharf purchase its not just the cost of buying the building for $3 million – major refurbishment will be required, to be funded out of rates.

There can be no justification for this irresponsible use of ratepayers funds.

ENDS

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