Council finds Budget "Surplus" by Cutting Spending
City Vision-Labour Councillors - Auckland City Council
For Immediate Release
Thursday 19 June 2008
C&R Council finds Budget "Surplus" by Cutting Core Spending
City Vision-Labour councillors today were disappointed and dismayed as Citizens and Ratepayers (C&R) councillors ignored the wishes of the majority of submitters who asked councillors not to cut core council budgets for stormwater infrastructure, footpaths, volcanic cone protection, street cleaning, walking and cycling improvements, and school safety projects and initiatives for road safety and amenity improvements for cyclists and pedestrians (livable streets).
Councillor Richard Northey says, "Despite hundreds of people writing submissions and turning up in person to plead for basic services like footpath and paved area renewals, C&R went ahead with the cuts outlined in their draft Annual Plan (Council budget) back in March. Not only will people not get basic services from this C&R council but people in lower valued properties will find their percentage rates increase is substantially higher than wealthier people in more affluent suburbs because of C&R's increases in uniform annual charges."
During today's meeting, City Vision-Labour councillors fought hard against C&R's proposed cuts and moved over 20 amendments in an attempt to reinstate slashed budgets. Despite projects having support from between fourteen and forty percent of written submissions, all amendments were lost due to block voting by C&R.
Councillor Glenda Fryer says "I am horrified C&R has refused to fund key stormwater quality improvements and protection for volcanic cones. These projects were supported by forty and thirty-two percent of submitters respectively who indicated they were happy to pay extra rates to ensure these projects are carried out. Clearly the people of Auckland feel these are core Council activities and I am sorely disappointed that C&R have cut these programmes."
Councillor Leila Boyle says "I am very upset but not too surprised to see the Tamaki ward project cuts continue under this C&R Council. Despite the Tamaki Edge suburbs of Glen Innes, Panmure, Mt Wellington and Otahuhu being expected to accommodate an additional 35,000 people over the next fifteen years, our communities have suffered even more slashed budgets. The Glen Innes Town Centre upgrade (Stage Two), the Mt Wellington quarry open space development and the new Otahuhu library have all been cut as per the draft Annual Plan proposal. In addition, C&R have cut the redevelopment of Maybury Reserve, which I feel is a project long overdue due to tragic events occurring in this area over the last few years. Council's abdication of its responsibility to improve the safety and the quality of this reserve in addition to all of the other Tamaki reserves which will have no improvements is setting up the Tamaki community to fail even as it grows."
Councillor Graeme Easte says, "I am bitterly disappointed by this road-centric C&R Council confirming cuts to school transport safety initiatives, land acquisition for public transport as well as slashing funding for cycleway and walkway improvements. Considering the vast amounts of money Council spends on roading projects annually, I think it's crazy to cut projects designed specifically to get people out of their cars and into alternative modes of transport. How backward-looking can you get?"
Councillor Cathy Casey says, "I am very disappointed I couldn't get council to reverse the raft of cuts to community development projects and assistance grants and I note that Councillor Sam Lotu-Iiga left the room so that he didn't have to record a vote on the four Pacific Island Community Development projects that failed to get funding for the next three years."