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C&R Confirm Additional $34m World Cup Spend-Up

Media Release
City Vision-Labour Councillors - Auckland City Council
For Immediate Release
Thursday 9 October 2008

C&R Confirm Additional $34m Rugby World Cup Spend-Up

A Citizens and Ratepayers (C&R) decision at the Arts, Culture and Recreation Committee has recommended that Auckland City Council fund a 'world class' programme of activities around Rugby World Cup 2011. The additional $34 million of 'discretionary spending' is being described by City Vision Eden-Albert Ward Councillors Cathy Casey and Glenda Fryer as a total misuse of ratepayer's money.

Councillor Casey moved an amendment to fund only those Council core business activities that have to be done to service the demand which will be created by RWC 2011, like increased street cleaning and graffiti removal. The amendment was lost by four votes to two with all four C&R Councillors able to vote at the meeting (Moyle, Lister, Baguley and Millar) block voting against it.

Councillor Casey said that 'non discretionary' activities should not be funded by the ratepayers of Auckland City.

"C&R have voted for ratepayers to fund line items like a million dollars for one or two huge banners to wrap city buildings and $200,000 for some temporary artworks which will be here today and gone tomorrow. Why on earth should ratepayers be stumping up $320,000 so that John Banks can entertain political leaders and VIPs?"

"I was disappointed at the lack of analysis by C&R councillors of this extravagant budget. The ruling bloc voted this without the line by line accounting that they have been applying to the budgets for libraries, halls and community centres," Councillor Casey said.

Councillor Fryer said she was not impressed by John Banks' absence from the committee's debate.

"Banks may very well have won the election last year by saying ratepayers' money should not be wasted on Eden Park but limited to $20 million to upgrade the existing Kingsland area."

"He is now asking voters to rack up RWC spending of $66 million. $32 million of ratepayers' money, which includes $22 million on the Eden Park Precinct, has already been committed for work. Today's additional $34 million for window dressing is an outrage. What is the legacy to the city when the rugby games are over? If Banks had told voters that he was going to spend $66 million of ratepayers' money on this he would not have won the election!"

"I am also concerned that council's $11 million 'surplus' is going to part fund this operational spend-up. Any surplus should be used to fund community capital projects like the Avondale Pool and the Glen Innes Art and Music Centre. How dare he cut much-needed services like footpath renewal and volcanic cones protection to help pay for this extravagant spend up to celebrate one sporting event? It is obviously time to bolt down our family silver again."


Additional Information:

NZ Herald, 16 October 2007

Mr Banks had only been back in his old job for five minutes when he criticised the outgoing council for committing $50 million to the 2011 rugby World Cup. This included at least $21 million for a $190 million upgrade of Eden Park and writing off $9 million the Eden Park Trust Board owed to the council. "I would be prepared to commit ratepayers' money to economic infrastructure around the precincts of Eden Park and leave the funding of the grandstand upgrades inside Eden Park to the cash-rich Government and the rich and powerful Rugby Union," Mr Banks said.

TV1 News, 17 December, 6.34pm

"Auckland Mayor John Banks says the city council will contribute $20 million, but he remains firm that this money will not go to the Eden Park facility upgrade but rather to upgrading existing infrastructure around the area."

One Plan for the Auckland Region, page 23, 10 October 2008

"The following funds have been identified for redevelopments associated with Eden Park and other RWC 2011 infrastructure projects across the region: $32m from Auckland City (of which $22m is for the Eden park precinct)."

© Scoop Media

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