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Government dictates to Auckland

"The heavy hand of this Labour/Alliance government has committed five councils against their will to paying for the future upkeep of MOTAT", said Waitakere MP Brian Neeson, commenting on the passing of the Museum of Transport and Technology Bill in Parliament last night.

"It is outrageous that the government has seen fit to over-ride the wishes of local bodies that are democratically elected to represent their ratepayers. The Government has dictated a solution to what is an Auckland City responsibility.

"What's next", asked Brian Neeson. "Britomart mark 2, or any other Auckland institutions that need propping up. The weight of these institutions is to be extracted by central government to relieve the ratepayers of Auckland City of their responsibilities.

"Waitakere City and Rodney are two of the highest rated regions in the country. Their rates are mostly taken from householders whose every cent is spent frugally by their respective councils in supplying services in these regions.

"This is nothing but a tax against the regions in favour of a subsidization of the city of Auckland. It is a move to enhance the future political aspirations for the member for Auckland Central, Hon Judith Tizard. It is obvious that she is now the Minister for Auckland Central and not Auckland City. This has set a precedent for future meddling by Wellington in the Auckland's business.

"The decision to take on MOTAT as a regional responsibility should have remained with all of the Auckland authorities who were being asked to become a partner in that institution.

"MOTAT is a great institution enjoyed by many, but so are many other regional assets that Auckland has - which are owned, operated and funded by local authorities within their own budgets.

"Since the government has set the precedent I am preparing a Private bill for the preservation of the Hobsonville Airbase as an airforce museum and regional park. I would expect the same support from Ms Tizard and the Labour government as they gave the MOTAT bill. What is good for the goose is good for the gander", Mr Neeson said. Ends

Inquiries: Brian Neeson 04 471 9088

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