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Trevor Mallard blackmailing Auckland: Councillor

RAM media release 16.11.06

"Trevor Mallard blackmailing Auckland"
says ARC councillor

"No matter which way Auckland's councillors vote on Friday 24th November, government seems intent on legislating to get what it wants for the Rugby World Cup venue. This is a total denial of democracy in Auckland," says Auckland Regional Councillor Robyn Hughes.

"That was Trevor Mallard's real message to the ARC today," said Councillor Hughes. She was elected to the ARC in 2004 as a member of RAM (Residents Action Movement).

"Trevor Mallard is blackmailing Auckland," said Councillor Hughes. "He is attacking the citizens of Auckland in his mad scheme to build a giant used condom on the waterfront."

"If ARC councillors say yes to the waterfront stadium, then the council is committing itself to funding 25% of the costs, which could be as high as $250 million. This could either bankrupt the ARC or cause a massive hike in rates," warned Councillor Hughes.

"If the ARC says no to the waterfront stadium, there are supposedly no costs for the council. That, however, would change if government enacted legislation making the ARC responsible for stadiums in the region, including Eden Park, thus transferring massive debts to the council. Again, this could plunge the ARC into massive debt or fuel big rate rises when many people can hardly afford today's rates. While not explicitly stated, that was the subtext of Trevor Mallard's briefing to the ARC today."

"While a lot of the real agenda isn't being written down, it's being hinted at behind closed doors. We have to stop this government bullying which will land us with a white elephant on the waterfront, a massive pile of debt, monumental traffic jams in central Auckland when the stadium is in use, all the while ignoring any realistic solution to the region's chronic gridlock and Third World public transport."

"When I asked if the government would instead give the one billion dollars estimated to build the waterfront stadium to the ARC so that the council could fund rail electrification and free and frequent public transport, as well as do up Eden Park, Mallard said a definite 'no'. While I gave him until 23rd November to make up his mind, I don't expect this tunnel vision politician to change his mind," said Councillor Hughes.

"In the meantime, I will be promoting the petition for 'free and frequent public transport' which Trevor Mallard refused to sign at Al Gore's climate change seminar in Auckland a couple of days ago. Free and frequent public transport would truly turn Auckland into a world class city, and give a lead to other countries in finding solutions to global warming."


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