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Savage Cuts Will Hurt Aucklanders

Media Release
City Vision-Labour Councillors - Auckland City Council
For Immediate Release
Tuesday 18 November 2008

Savage Cuts Will Hurt Aucklanders

Today Auckland City Councillors met to set the direction which will guide officers in the preparation of the Council's 10-year plan and budget. During the meeting, Mayor John Banks and Citizens and Ratepayers (C&R) councillors made decisions to cut over $800 million of expenditure over the next ten years, over half of which is in the south-eastern Tamaki ward.

Councillor Richard Northey said, "The savage cuts made today by John Banks and C&R councillors to Auckland City Council's ten-year budget will severely hurt Auckland residents and businesses.

"The cuts to core council infrastructure will intensify the economic recession for Auckland residents and businesses. The cuts in environmental services will do nothing to reduce pollution or maintain our quality of life and the cuts in community facilities and libraries will intensify social divisions and make for a less safe city," Councillor Northey continued.

Councillor Glenda Fryer said, "$86 million has been cut over the next ten years from stormwater budgets. Stormwater projects have always been the first to be cut over the last fifty years when there have been budget constraints. Our urban streams, as well as our beaches, are being polluted because of successive C&R councils not considering our environment. It's bizarre that the underground infrastructure we can't see always gets cut by C&R and then our community has to deal with resulting pollution and degradation of our waterways. With housing intensification and more concrete coverage, this situation can only get worse and result in more flooded houses. John Banks rightly read the mood of the people of Auckland when he promised to clean up our beaches in the election campaign last year. Why is he now breaking his word by endorsing these savage C&R cuts?"

Councillor Cathy Casey said, "People have clearly and repeatedly told us that they value our volcanic cones and parks, but C&R have more than halved monies to protect and restore our precious volcanoes."

Councillor Leila Boyle said, "My Tamaki area has once again borne the brunt, having to suffer $450 million of the $800 million in savage cuts made by C&R today. Tamaki is the community with the largest amount of anticipated population growth in the city. It is also the poorest area in the city. In response to accommodating population growth, the previous council promised community facilities and local improvements in Tamaki to make sure the additional people are well catered for. Projects like the Otahuhu pool, Otahuhu library, Glen Innes music and arts centre and Glen Innes town centre upgrade along with new and improved park developments have all been viciously slashed out of the Council's ten-year budget today. I think if the Council expects us to accommodate additional people living and working in Glen Innes, Panmure, Sylvia Park/Mt Wellington and Otahuhu, then Council must provide the community facilities and amenities to cater for this increased population."

Councillor Northey said, "C&R councillors have manipulated the rates system to hold the rates for wealthy property owners and businesses by increasing rates for low and middle-valued properties by more than 20%. They have done this by imposing three fixed annual charges on every property across the city – a $350 general charge, a $220 rubbish and recycling charge and a $23 Rugby World Cup 2011 charge. This will mean that even the lowest value property or car park will be paying a minimum rate of $593 on top of their value based rate. This is an unprecedented and unprincipled huge shift in the burden of rates which can only drive working families out of Auckland City."

ENDS


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