Rates for World Cup Behind Move to Reorganise Akld
THE nationwide CAMPAIGN TO REPLACE THE PRESENT SYSTEM OF COUNCIL RATES WITH A FAIRER SYSTEM INCLUDING RESTRAINTS ON COUNCILS ABILITY TO INCREASE EXPENDITURE WITHOUT THE SPECIFIC APPROVAL OF THE COMMUNITY
MEDIA RELEASE 28th September 2006
Ratepayer Funds for Rugby World Cup is Behind Swift Moves to Reorganise Auckland’s Governance Structure.
The news that a forum for councillors and community board members has been called for next Monday to develop a plan to enhance regional governance in Auckland is a warning signal to all Auckland ratepayers and residents
There is a huge rush to get legislation into Parliament before Christmas giving enhanced powers to the Auckland Regional Council which will probably include the rights for the ARC to levy rates to pay for infrastructure for Rugby World Cup.
This rush will prevent adequate public input before the legislation is drafted, introduced into Parliament –and referred to a select Committee.
The first time the public will get any chance to have a say is when the Select Committee calls for public submissions – over the Christmas Holiday season.
Addressing the North Shore City Council last night, NoMoreRates organiser David Thornton said
“How often in the past have we seen consultation over the Christmas holiday period – a time of year when the last thing any of us want to do is prepare a submission on legislation?
“It is the politicians’ favourite consultation time frame – very few people are interested enough to become informed, many people forget, or don’t have the time.
“Christmas consultation is the most effective barrier to participation in the democratic process.”
David Thornton was addressing the council on the subject of ‘Rates and Representation’.
Citing Rugby World Cup 2001 as the reason for governance changes David Thornton told the council,
“The problem our politicians are wrestling with is ‘How do we fund the huge programme of infrastructure needed to support a successful World Cup?’
“The answer from the World Cup promoters is – from local council rates.
“We are on the verge of a major re-organisation in the democratic structure of the Auckland region.
“This upheaval will be far more dramatic than the 1989 re-organisation – because this re-organisation is not about fair representation and economies of scale – it is all about grabbing all of our rates throughout the region into one big pot.
“It will lead to the taxing of local residents while removing control of expenditure and accountability for those taxes to some distant regional authority.
“Such changes cannot be allowed to proceed unless and until the residents and ratepayers of the region have been given full opportunity to understand the implications of any proposals – not least the cost to them individually in financial terms, - their rates -and the implications for them in relation to their participation in local decision-making”