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ARC Must Not Give Ratepayers Funds to Eden Park

MEDIA RELEASE 26 February 2008

Statement from David Thornton.

Regional Council Must Not Give Ratepayers Funds to Eden Park

The Auckland Regional Council’s decision to include in its Annual Plan a $10 million gift to the Eden Park upgrade is a complete kick in the teeth to ratepayers.

The ARC says the $10 million will not come from rates but will come from Auckland Regional Holdings – the company which owns regional assets on behalf of the ratepayers of the Auckland region.

This means that the $10 million going to Eden Park will not be available to spend on vitally needed essential infrastructure such as public transport, roading and stormwater in the region.

But regional rates will be going up again this year to pay for the maintenance and upgrading of existing infrastructure which is badly in need of more capital funding.

The argument that the region will benefit economically from the Rugby World Cup needs to take into account that there will be substantial direct financial benefit to businesses in the travel, tourism and hospitality sector.

And the biggest financial benefits will go to central government through huge additional income from GST and tax on extra profits from businesses associated with the Rugby World Cup.

There will be no similar financial benefit to ordinary ratepayers whose long-term assets will be used to fund this $10 million gift. And who will be facing significant rates increases again this year

I urge all ratepayers to tell the ARC not to use publicly-owned assets to fund the Eden Park upgrade.


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