Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 


Deputy Mayor reaching for the panic button

Deputy Mayor reaching for the panic button with debt argument

Deputy Mayor David Bassett increasingly looks like a politician starting to panic, judging by his recent media release (Warning of debt burden for amalgamated regions, 2 May 2014).

According to Better Hutt Valley member Theo Muller, “the case for regional amalgamation is getting stronger by the day, and it looks to us like Cr Bassett is reaching for the panic button. He is using the debt argument to frighten Lower Hutt residents away from any change. But the problem is that his debt argument is awed”.

“Quite simply, council debt can be ring-fenced to each district for a dened period following amalgamation. This is what the Local Government Commission has suggested in Hawkes Bay, and this method could be easily replicated in the Wellington region,” says Mr Muller.

Furthermore, Cr Bassett’s claim that Lower Hutt residents will become heavily indebted with other councils’ debt is skewed because it ignores local authority assets.

“Any accountant will tell you that debt tells only half the story of an entity’s nancial position,” says group member Ian Pike. “What matters is the debt-to-asset ratio for each of the councils. Yes, Wellington City has more debt than Lower Hutt, but it has over $6 billion of assets that would get added into an amalgamated council’s balance sheet. Plus, Wellington City has tens of millions of dollars of assets - like the airport - that provide the council with large revenue streams.”

“By contrast, Hutt City’s debt-to-asset ratio is not in a very good position compared with most other local councils, and it has few revenue earning assets. Hutt City Council also steadfastly ignores the fact that in future years it will need to replace storm water and sewerage infrastructure and instead is proposing fanciful projects that Hutt residents don’t need and can’t afford. How will Cr Bassett pay for the proposed Petone Stadium or the other think-big’ projects that are hurriedly pouring out of the Council?” asks Mr Pike.

David Bassett’s attack on the Local Government Commission in his media release is also breath-taking.

“The Commission hasn’t even released a single report on the Wellington region, yet already Cr Bassett is telling everyone that it is biased, disregards evidence, and does not follow the lawful process” says group member Michael Romanos. “Given that the Commissioners don’t have any personal interest in the outcome of all of this, the repeated attacks on their integrity by the Mayor and Deputy Mayor are starting to become a bit cringeworthy.”

Group member Judy Lawrence adds that “presumably David Bassett thinks that issuing a press release peppered with the word ‘supercity’ will have everyone clamouring for the status quo. He hasn’t realised that the debate has moved beyond emotion and rhetoric. People actually want hard facts and information about how amalgamation could work.”

“For instance, his claim that efciency savings following amalgamation are ‘unproven and unlikely’ ies in the face of the report that shows that amalgamation in Auckland has already produced yearly operating savings of $131 million. This is projected to rise to $188 million per year by 2018.

People need to hear about this kind of information, but clearly they won’t be getting it from the Mayor or the Deputy Mayor.”

ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Greens: Russel Norman To Stand Down As Co-Leader

Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman has announced today that he will stand down as leader at the party’s Annual General Meeting in May. Dr Norman will remain as Co-leader and retain his finance and climate change portfolios until the AGM.

“After nearly a decade as Co-leader, now is a good time to find a new challenge for myself, and to spend more time with my family” said Dr Norman.

“This is my ninth year as Co-leader and I think it’s time for a change. Now is a good time for new leadership for the Party. My replacement will start from a strengthened base and will have a full parliamentary term to establish himself in the role and take the Greens into government in 2017." More>>

 

Gordon Campbell: On The Eleanor Catton Rumpus

If anyone was in doubt about the accuracy of the comments made in India by Eleanor Catton, the reaction from some quarters here at home has gone a long way to proving her point… More>>

ALSO:

More Rent Assistance, Less State-Owned Housing: John Key Speech - Next Steps In Social Housing

"We are going to ensure that more people get into social housing over the next three years, whether that is run by Housing New Zealand or a community provider. The social housing budget provides for around 62,000 income-related rent subsidies a year. We are committed to increasing that to around 65,000 subsidies by 2017/18, which will cost an extra $40 million a year." More>>

ALSO:

The Future Of Work: Andrew Little - State Of The Nation 2015

In 2005 when I led the EPMU we worked together with Air New Zealand to find a way to keep engineering jobs that were heading overseas. A lot of these workers were people I’d known for years and they were facing not just losing their jobs but not being able to find the kind of work they do without going overseas. A lot of people were facing personal and financial upheaval.... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Sabin Case, The Pressures On Greece And (Songs About) Coyotes

Mike Sabin is a National MP, and the current chairman of Parliament’s law and order committee. Yet reportedly, he is being investigated by the Police over an assault complaint... However, the PM will not comment on any aspect of the story. More>>

ALSO:

Houses, ISIS, King (& Catton): PM Post-Cabinet Press Conference

The Prime Minister met with reporters to discuss: • Social housing, the Auckland housing market • The prospect of joining international forces to combat ISIS • David Bain’s compensation • The lowering of the flag for the King of Saudi Arabia's death ... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Tomorrow’s Speeches By John Key And Andrew Little

The Key government has already kicked off the political year on a stridently ideological note, with Environment Minister Nick Smith choosing to lay all manner of sins at the door of the RMA. Tomorrow, the government will wheeling out its best salesman – Prime Minister John Key – to sell its plans for state housing… . More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news