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C&R Councillors Vote to Discuss Community Cuts

Wednesday 10 September 2008

*C&R Councillors Vote to Discuss Community Cuts in Secret*

City Vision-Labour Councillors are bitterly disappointed that proposed community cuts were not discussed or decided in public during today's Arts, Culture and Recreation Committee meeting but were instead kicked to a closed councillor workshop by Citizens and Ratepayers (C&R) Councillors.

Auckland City Council's rules (standing orders) for workshops don't specify who is able to attend; the workshop Chair determines the conduct of the workshop. C&R Councillors led by Arts, Culture and Recreation Committee Chair Greg Moyle decided that only Councillors and relevant council officers may attend which means that Community Board Chairs and Members along with the public and media will be excluded.

Labour Tamaki-Maungakiekie Ward Councillor Richard Northey said, "I am shocked at this position by John Banks and C&R who, during the 2007 local government election campaign, promised that they would 'open meetings for greater transparency unless justified as manifestly not in the best interests of ratepayers.' I would think that discussing key projects and initiatives for the next ten year period in the open would definitely be in the best interests of the ratepayers and residents of Auckland; I cannot understand why C&R clearly don't."

City Vision Eden-Albert Ward Councillor Cathy Casey said, "The decision to hold this really important debate in hiding flies in the face of John Banks' and C&R's repeated claims of transparency and openness at Auckland City Council."

City Vision Eden-Albert Ward Councillor Glenda Fryer said, "I moved an amendment to open the workshop to the public but C&R block voted against that so there will be a secret meeting to discuss these cuts at an unknown date and time before the Council's Long Term Council Community Plan (LTCCP) Direction Setting meeting on 7 October. I think Aucklanders deserve to hear their elected representatives' real opinions of the proposed cuts - it is not acceptable to have a debate behind closed doors and then present a sanitised version at the LTCCP meeting."

City Vision Western Bays Ward Councillor Graeme Easte said, "This is a continuance of undemocratic behaviour from C&R who last week proposed a secret workshop to discuss major and vital transport projects which will occur tomorrow afternoon."

Labour Tamaki-Maungakiekie Ward Councillor Leila Boyle said, "I am outraged by the proposed cuts - about half of them are for projects and initiatives in the Tamaki-Maungakiekie ward. What concerns me is that my ward is expected to take a significant chunk of Auckland City's projected growth but this C&R Council is not prepared to provide the additional infrastructure and community facilities needed by the ward's growing communities. Glen Innes, Panmure, Sylvia Park/Mt Wellington, Otahuhu and Onehunga will have significant growth pressures over the next ten to fifteen years but are bearing the brunt of the slash and burn tactics of this C&R Council.

"I urge community members to contact all 19 Councillors, the Mayor and their local Community Board representatives to make their views known because officers are claiming that a reason for the cuts is that there is little community awareness of these projects so there is little impact arising from the cut," Councillor Boyle concludes.

ENDS

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