Government must intervene in Auckland budget crisis
Government must intervene in Auckland budget crisis.
The problems facing Len Brown and his Council have developed over the last three and a half years and have spiralled to stage which the Council itself seems unable to act.
Throughout this period the Mayor has boasted of keeping increases in total sates income to below 4.9% around 2.5% but increasing debt by almost $4bn
There has been no realistic attempt to relate increases in debt to the cost of meeting interest and repayments in the longer term.
The Council continues to spend millions on acquiring property for the Central Rail Link, but has no funding specified for construction of the project.
During the first three-year term there were claims of significant financial benefits arising from the amalgamation of the previous councils.
In fact the pay-roll has increased substantially with staff levels much higher than was ever predicted
The last three years have been a disaster waiting to happen.
Warning signals were there every year when the budgets were announced – everything was about spending, but nothing was about repaying.
The people of Auckland have lost confidence in the ability of Mayor Brown to produce a Budget based on realistic expectations of income and long term affordability.
Auckland is heading a state of near, if not actual bankruptcy.
This is the time for the Minister to step in and appoint a Crown Observer or Manager under powers in the Local Government Act
Such appointments are aimed at preserving the stability of a council in trouble.
This legislation was introduced specifically to step in at the top of the cliff rather that the bottom, which happened with Kaipara Distract Council;
Without such intervention the situation for Auckland ratepayers will only get worse