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Banks' Council Failing Vulnerable People

Media Release
City Vision-Labour Councillors - Auckland City Council
For Immediate Release
Wednesday 5 March 2008

Banks' Council Failing Vulnerable People


Today's decision by the John Banks-led Citizens and Ratepayers (C&R) Auckland City Council to put at risk funding to programmes assisting migrants and refugees, older people, homeless people and youth is being described by City Vision-Labour councillors as short-sighted and based on a misguided vision of what local government is all about.

Councillor Cathy Casey says "A city council is not just about rates, rats and rubbish.  Cities are made up of people, and the council, alongside Government, has a part to play to ensure that each and every resident feels part of Auckland city and can contribute in a positive and meaningful way".

Funding for a range of positive social initiatives was placed "under review" by the council today which means that current funding is at risk of being cancelled by C&R.   The threatened cuts were projects assisting migrants and refugees, older people, homeless people and youth.

Councillor Casey says she is shocked that the council would focus on reviewing budget items which cost so little but which do so much in areas which are already stretched.

"Altogether, these projects cost the council about $200,000.  That is just so little compared to the massive amounts of funding voted to 'think big' projects like $32 million on Rugby World Cup and $60 million for a convention centre.

"The difference is that this is not about media hype.  These projects assist voluntary agencies across the city and touch the lives of many of our most vulnerable citizens.  These small amounts of money make a real difference."

Councillor Casey says that the only way to restore funding for these valuable social programmes is for citizens and agencies to make submissions to the Council's draft Annual Plan which will be available for public feedback from 18 April to 20 May 2008.  In early June there will be opportunity to make verbal submissions to councillors before the Annual Plan is finalised by 30 June 2008.


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