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Akld Orgs Ask Parlt to determine council funding

Media Release

Cash - Strapped Auckland Organisations Ask Parliament to Determine Council Funding

A Private Bill will be introduced into Parliament shortly, with the intention of giving a number of organisations providing valued services in the Auckland region some certainty of funding from Auckland’s seven territorial councils.

The concept is similar to the arrangements for funding from councils, successfully established by previous legislation, to support the Auckland War Memorial Museum and the Museum of Transport and Technology.

The key focus of the Auckland Regional Amenities Funding Bill is about ensuring that regional organisations ranging from surf lifesaving to opera can continue to provide the quality of services the growing region needs.

These organisations have joined together to pursue a legislative approach to addressing their funding insecurities in an effort to improve their service delivery across the region.

The organisations provide services which are widely used and valued by hundreds of thousands of residents.

They believe their efforts to self-fund have reached their maximum earning potential and greater and more equitable funding from local councils is now needed.

Regardless of where these organisations are physically located, their services span the entire Auckland region. For years, these organisations have gone, cap-in-hand, pleading their case for funding to Auckland’s councils with no guaranteed results. Some councils currently contribute very little, or nothing at all, to help fund these organisations.

The 11 organisations covered by the Bill will all benefit from a more sustainable funding framework if the Bill is passed.

Market research shows very strong public support for the principles of the Bill, with a majority of ratepayers across the Auckland region saying they would be willing to pay between two and four per cent more in their rates to help fund these organisations.

The 11 organisations were chosen by an independent assessment group from a shortlist of entities, based on market research with ratepayers.

The Bill establishes an initial level of funding from the seven councils, and ensures that future funding will not exceed a maximum of two per cent of the rates take.

There is provision for other approved organisations to receive funding in future, but they must be accommodated within the two per cent cap.

Regional funding from councils will not replace existing funding sources such as membership fees, donations and sponsorships.

The 11 organisations covered by the Bill are:
- Auckland Festival
- Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra
- Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust
- Auckland Theatre Company
- Auckland Zoo
- Coastguard Northern Region
- New Zealand National Maritime Museum
- New Zealand Opera
- Stardome Observatory and Planetarium
- Surf Life Saving Northern Region
- WaterSafe Auckland

The Bill has now been notified and is expected to be introduced to the House shortly.

A successful passage of the Bill in 2007 will provide regional funding from the seven councils of $9 million in the first year commencing July 1, 2008.

The Auckland Zoo, one of the 11 organisations named in the Bill, will not receive funding in the first year as it is not yet established as a separate entity from Auckland City Council.

In the second and third years, the organisations can apply for increased funding, and thereafter the limit of funding that councils can be required to contribute is a sum no greater than two per cent of the rates take.

Qualifying organisations will be assessed for their level of annual funding by a new Auckland Regional Amenities Funding Board.


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