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Palino will restore berm cutting services

30 September 2013

Palino will restore berm cutting services

Auckland Mayoral candidate John Palino confirmed today that he would reinstate berm services in the old Auckland City area for a temporary period before handing over responsibility and discretional funding to local boards.

“I’m sick of travelling around the old Auckland city area and seeing untidy, overgrown grass verges and speaking to residents who are not even aware this council service has been stopped.

“Who on earth concluded that the decision to cut grass verges or not in the old Auckland City area was appropriately made by 20 regional councillors most of whom live outside the isthmus?

“With the exception of the Auckland councillors, there is no connection between the decision makers and the voters: that’s a breakdown in democracy.

“And how many people in Auckland submitted on the Annual Plan process which resulted in this decision? In fact, how many people in Auckland are even aware there is an Annual Plan process?

“This decision is symptomatic of a local governance amalgamation that has gone terribly wrong.

“We have local decisions being made at the regional level, regional decisions not being made at all and national decisions being questioned by and Auckland Council that won’t focus on its own responsibilities.

“Berms are not regionally significant. The decision to allocate rates funding to maintain them should be made at the local board level. Local boards, in turn, should have the discretionary funds available to decide whether berms, pools or other such services are subsidised.

“I’ll immediately reinstate berm services to get the old Auckland City back in shape and, as the sinking lid policy gradually reduces the overhead of running council, I’ll allocate more discretionary funding to local boards so that they can engage with their residents – the residents they are accountable to – and make the decision whether or not to cut berms, subsidise pools or spend the money elsewhere.

“That keeps politicians accountable. It keeps decisions closest to those affected by them, and it takes the responsibility away from an ever expanding bureaucracy,” said Palino.



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