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Council decisions illogical

MEDIA RELEASE

26 June 2012

[statement from David Thornton]

Council decisions illogical.

Yesterday the Auckland Council voted not to support a Convention Centre at Sky Centre – on the grounds that the additional gambling facilities would be expanded to a level which would bring misery to millions of Aucklanders, and presumably to the hundreds of thousands of overseas visitors.

And many of those visitors would very likely find it convenient to use the underground rail system which the Council is committed to paying half the cost, that share being upwards of $1.5 billion.

Council does not know how it will fund that cost – but surely it must be necessary to maximise income to the rail system by seizing every opportunity to encourage increased passenger usage – like Convention Centre events.

Of course there is a potential gambling addiction problem – for a very small percentage of total visitors.

All progress usually disadvantages some people, but in this case the chance to have a new Convention Centre at no cost to ratepayers must surely be grabbed with both hands,

A second decision by the Council yesterday was to essentially give away the $30 million likely proceeds from the sale of publicly owned surplus land.

The money will go to a South Auckland Trust which wants to build a white-water adventure feature next to the Pacific Event Centre at Manukau. Visitors to that feature will be required to pay an entrance fee.

Surely Council needs to be applying funds from this asset sale to help pay for new assets – such as the Central rail Loop, which is currently to be funded largely from rates.

This Council has got its priorities wrong.

Ends


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