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ARC Hides Critical Information

29 September 2004

ARC Hides Critical Information By Not Releasing 2003/4 Annual Report Until After Election.

Poor Attendance Records - Public Transport Users Down - Rates Increases Of 72% Over 3 Years - And Employee Gender Balance Shifts To Females.

For the second year in succession Michael Barnet, an Auckland City representative on the ARC, and standing for re-election, has one of the worst attendance records at council and council related meetings - 65 last year, down from 81 the year before.

Worst attendance record for the past year was Craig Little, Manukau City, also seeking re-election, who attended only 61 meeting.

The other eleven councillors each attended an average of 168 meeting during the year.

Both Barnett and Little still found time this year to attend key meetings on rating policy and to vote in favour of retaining the rating policy introduced last year which ignited the rates rebellion.

These figures are in the ARC Annual Report for 2003/4 which will not be generally available to the public until 'towards the end of October' - after the local body elections.

Another highlight of the Annual report reveals that 'for the first time, the ARC employs more females than males'.

This unsolicited information does not hide the fact that, as the 'gender ratio' has moved in favour of females over the past five years, the total number of employees has also risen by more than 26%. And does this increase in female employment reflect the leadership of a female CEO [Jo Brosnahan] and female chairperson [Gwen Bull]?

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The report also shows that the ARC total rate take has increased from $71million in 2002 up to $104 million last year. The recently adopted 10-year plan forecasts a rate requirement of $122million for next year - a rise of almost 72% over a three year period.

The effect of the rates rebellion can also be deduced from the Annual Report which shows rates outstanding of $5.115million at the end of the financial year. On the ARC's own calculation of an average rates bill of $216, the outstanding amount equates to more than 23,000 ratepayers still not having paid their rates at the end of the 2003/4 year.

Public transport - the ARC's principal activity - is also reported on. Rail transport passengers have increased by 700,000 over the past year. But total passengers on all forms of public transport has decreased by 100,000 - clearly indicating that, despite huge expenditure on rail passenger facilities, the ARC is losing the battle to win people over to public transport.

The Annual Report makes dismal reading for ratepayers who are still paying substantially increased rates.

The public is entitled to know these facts in election year and it is a further indictment of then current ARC that it hides this critical information until after the election.

ENDS

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