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They look bad because they are bad, Mr Cull

The labelling of new council league tables as “selective figures” by Local Government New Zealand President Dave Cull is totally wrong and a sad snub to transparency and accountability by the head of the sector, says the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union.

“Dave Cull’s comments to media on the new edition of Ratepayers’ Report suggest he is in denial about the very real financial challenges facing both councils and their ratepayers. At a time of healthy economic growth, it is totally legitimate to ask why council debt is growing at 5% in a year, and why most of that money is going into operational spending, not infrastructure investment.”

“Contrary to Mr Cull’s claims of a ‘political agenda’ or trying to show councils in a ‘negative light’ the tables merely allow the public to access like-for-like financial figures and compare town halls. It contains more than 2,000 data points.”

“The only agenda here is to provide more transparency to ratepayers. But Mr Cull seems to hate that.”

“It’s not our fault Mr Cull’s own Council comes out so poorly. Other councils come out much better. Some councils use these figures to benchmark, report on, and improve performance.”

“Mr Cull’s comments insult the councils which have worked hard to keep costs down for ratepayers. That is a very concerning position for the sector’s leading lobbyist.”

“Frankly, rather than repeat his sad squealing the Dunedin Mayor should engage on the actual data, or better yet lead the sector to improve its performance.”

Editor’s note: Last year Dave Cull’s made up criticisms of the same report resulted in him paying us a large amount of money to settle a potential defamation claim.

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