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‘Supercity’ Proposal Is No April Fool Joke

MEDIA RELEASE 1 April 2008

Statement from David Thornton.

Auckland City Council ‘Supercity’ Proposal Is No April Fool Joke – They’re Serious And They Want Control Over Your Money

Auckland City Coucnil’s Proposals For Regional Governance Are Aimed At Robbing Ratepayers To Pay For Monuments The Business Lobbies Need To Create A World-Class City.

The Auckland City Council officers proposal for a single ’supercity’ for the whole region is nothing more than a blatant grab for control of all ratepayers funds in the region.

The spending of that money will be entirely under the control of the Greater Auckland Authority – a small elite group of politicians, far remote from the many small communities spread across the region which will have no control and little influence over those spending decisions.

A major need for grabbing all this money is the Auckland City Council’s total preoccupation with getting funds from all over the region to pay for the upgrade of Eden Park, the development of the Waterfront and the ongoing costs of the Vector Arena.

The report frequently mentions the fiasco of the proposed Waterfront Stadium – and blames other Auckland Councils for not supporting it.

No doubt other major regional projects will be added to the list of ‘regional amenities’ – and regional rates money would be used to fix the multi-million dollar repair and upgrade of the roof of the Aotea carpark, and the building of the new Qtheatre.

With council rates already under huge pressure throughout the region there can be no doubt that a new ‘supercity’ council would move immediately to divert local planned expenditure to regional projects which they will claim is to help to create a world-class city.
All together the officers’ proposals reek of a naked grab for power by Auckland City Council – a Council which, over the years, has shown itself incapable of governing its own patch to the satisfaction of its residents.

Recent years have witnessed outcries about poor development controls; uncontrolled rate rises; huge cost overruns on major projects; millions added to water rates to pay profits to a council which has a profligate attitude to spending ratepayers’ money.

All this from a council which has little regard for its citizens and seems constantly at war with its community boards whose main role is to represent the local interests to the council.

The thought of the whole region being governed with the same atrocious standard of governance exhibited by successive Auckland City Councils is the stuff of nightmares.

These proposals for a supercity come from a council falling on its knees before the various business lobbies which want control of your money to build a ‘world class’ city in which business may thrive on the back of impoverished ratepayers who will be forced out of their homes by escalating rates.

Let’s have change where it is needed – but not at the expense of a democratic system where all citizens should have the opportunity to influence government, and demand accountability from their elected representatives.

[David Thornton –is Deputy-Chairman of Glenfield Community, an executive Member of the Auckland Region and Far North Community Boards Association, Chairman of Glenfield Ratepayers, and Chairman of Glenfield Community Centre. He is a former member of North Shore City Council, The Auckland Regional Land Transport Committee and the now defunct Greater London Council]


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