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News Worthy - 14 July 2006

News Worthy

14 July 2006 - No. 79

Rugby World Cup - the trigger for infrastructure renewal

Rugby World Cup 2011 will be the third largest sporting event in the world behind only the Olympics and FIFA World Cup. It is estimated that the television broadcast will be to a global audience of 3.5 billion people. Total ticket sales for the 2003 Rugby World Cup in Sydney were in excess of 1.8 million. It is expected that over 400,000 tickets will be sold for matches at Eden Park alone.

The economic impacts of Rugby World Cup 2003 in Sydney were stunning and included:

* generating an additional AUS$494 million in industry sales to the Australian economy;

* creating an additional 4,500 full and part-time jobs in Australia during 2003;

* contributing AUS$289 million in additional GDP to the Australian economy.

Rugby World Cup 2003 was attended by:

* around 65,000 international Rugby World Cup visitors from UK/Europe 49%, Asia Pacific 30%, Africa 16% and the Americas 5%.

* on average these international visitors spent AUS$6,500 each and stayed in Australia for around three weeks.

Cities can and have used sporting events as a catalyst for positive change. A good illustration is Athens which used the 2004 Olympics to revitalise the transport system with the following consequences;

* 120km of new roads were constructed

* 90km of existing roads were upgraded

* 7.7km of new metro lines were laid

* 23.7km of new train lines were laid

* Train stations were upgraded

* A new airport built

Minister for Auckland stays in the shadows

The Minister for Auckland in an Official Information Act response has startlingly revealed her inaction. My request was:

"I seek under section 12 of the Official Information Act copies of all reports and advice notes, she has sent in the past 12 months to Cabinet colleagues and officials seeking additional funding for Auckland projects".

The reply was:

"There are no written reports or advice notes sent in the past 12 months to Cabinet colleagues and officials seeking additional funding for Auckland projects".

Crown contributions in lieu of rates

In News Worthy 78 the average rates rise was noted at nearly 3 times the inflation rate.

Ratepayers contribute 57% to the inflow of local government revenues.

Clearly the time has come to look at two issues:

* Whether local authority activity should be constrained to identified infrastructure services.

* New funding mechanisms

There has been a superficial discussion in the media about contributions by Crown entities which are exempt from rates apart from charges for water supply, sewage disposal and refuse collection. These exemptions are contained in the Local Government (Rating) Act. So schools, hospitals etc are exempt from rates.

It was not always so. In the past the Crown made voluntary payments at a broadly comparable level to the rates which would have been imposed if the land were not in public ownership. That is an issue which in my view may need to be revisited.

Labour Writes Off Record Amount In Fines, Reparation

The penalties in the armoury of criminal punishment includes fines and reparation. The Labour Government is writing off more fines and reparation than any New Zealand Government in recent history.

The latest figures show that in the first nine months of 2005/06 the Government wrote off $32 million in fines and $982,000 in reparation.

If that trend continues, and $42.6 million of fines and $1.3 million in reparation is written off in the full year, it will be the worst performance by any government.

The figures also show that under this Government there could be $494 million in overdue fines in the year just gone - a blowout of $150 million over 2004/05.

The judges are wiping payments because they know the fines will not be paid and substituting the sentence of community service in many cases. The problem is of course that community service sentences are ineffective because they are not adequately policed.

The villains walk free and the victims are not compensated.

Political Quote of the Week

"A vote is like a rifle; its usefulness depends upon the character of the user." -Theodore Roosevelt - 26th US President

Richard Worth

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