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Why Herald helicopter trust story misleads

Why Herald helicopter trust story misleads

The Herald's story today on the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust confuses and misrepresents Auckland Mayor Len Brown's approach to this issue.

The facts are that:

1. The Mayor has said he wants to work with the government to review the Auckland Regional Amenities Funding Board legislation - by which 10 Auckland trusts including the helicopter trust get funding - and replace it with a more appropriate approach funding model (without anomalies like we've seen in relation to the helicopter trust) and central government supports this.

2. In the meantime he will work with councillors to remedy the helicopter trust's immediate funding gap through the annual plan process (which is separate to the amenities board's decisions).

The Mayor has never said he would try to vote down the amenities board recommendations (which create the funding gap he's seeking to fix elsewhere). This would be counterproductive, as the legislation doesn't allow councillors to overturn board decisions. The board has made it clear in the past that if council tried to challenge its annual funding recommendations then it would take legal action.

If the Mayor was planning to try to get the board's decision overturned by voting against it – which he wasn't – why would he first announce that he will try to fund their shortfall from elsewhere, i.e. directly from council? That would not make sense.

So there is no surprise in the vote yesterday to support the amenities board recommendations (and to later and separately look at finding from council for the helicopter trust shortfall).


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