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Mayor calls for review of amenities funding

13 March 2014

Mayor calls for review of amenities funding

Mayor Len Brown has called for a review of the Auckland Regional Amenities Funding (ARAF) model, saying a more consistent and fair approach is needed to funding Auckland’s arts organisations and emergency services providers.

“As part of this year’s review of council’s long-term plan, I want to work with councillors and central government to develop a smarter, more effective system for funding our regional amenities,” the Mayor said.

“ARAF was designed to overcome the problem associated with eight separate councils funding a number of different region-wide amenities. With one council, this is no longer needed and the model has well and truly outlived its purpose.”

The Mayor said concerns raised by the Auckland Helicopter Rescue Trust this week highlighted the inherent problems with the funding model.

“It is difficult for Aucklanders to make sense of a decision to cut the rescue helicopter’s funding by 70 per cent in the last five years, while increasing funding for the nine other regional organisations it funds by between 30 and 150 per cent.

“I think we have to be upfront and say this funding model is not working for Auckland and it’s time that council worked with central government to fix it.

“As a first step, I want to work with my council colleagues through the Annual Plan to remedy the immediate $900,000 funding gap for the helicopter trust in the 2014/15 financial year.

“This would be a much more sensible approach than having ratepayers continue to fund the legal costs associated with defending ARAF’s decisions - which could be up to $1 million over the next two years – and I have communicated my expectation to the trust that it should drop its plans for further litigation.

“Secondly, responsibility for funding these organisations should be brought under the umbrella of the council, and considered as part of the funding we allocate each year through the Annual Plan process.

“To be clear, I am not proposing to cut or remove any existing funding to amenities we greatly value as Aucklanders. Instead I think we need to develop a system that better delivers the objectives that are the reason we fund such amenities.”

ENDS

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