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Ak Council Plan a Failure of Equity, Imagination

Media Release
City Vision-Labour Councillors - Auckland City Council
For Immediate Release
Tuesday 30 June 2009

Auckland City Council’s 10-year Plan Failure of Equity and Imagination

After a 9-month process begun in October 2008, the Auckland City Council has finally signed off its 10-year plan and budgets but only by a whipped party vote from John Banks and the Citizens and Ratepayers (C&R) majority. City Vision-Labour councillors are disappointed and disillusioned by the process and say the 10-year plan, which starts tomorrow on 1 July 2009 and runs until 30 June 2019, fails to share ratepayers’ money equitably around the city and lacks imagination.

Councillor Richard Northey said, “C&R’s 10-year plan fails to adequately promote the economic, social, cultural and environmental well-being of Auckland city or meet the overall needs of Auckland city’s growth areas and its more deprived communities. This 10-year plan will not adequately provide for the physical and community infrastructure that Auckland City Council should be bequeathing to the new Auckland Council and local boards and it does not respond appropriately to the imaginative and well-considered views and ideas expressed by written and oral submissions. C&R and Banks have even exceeded their self-imposed rate of inflation cap in their enthusiasm for Rugby World Cup events and infrastructure at the expense of desperately needed community projects.”

Councillor Leila Boyle said, “I am shocked at the way C&R & Banks casually voted to grant $84.5 million to Queen’s Wharf for ‘party central’ with no public questioning and a complete lack of the line-by-line accounting they always proclaim they are doing. These big Rugby World Cup and waterfront spend-ups are at the expense of suburban projects which can make such a big difference to our outerlying and poorer communities such as MAGIC (Music and Arts Glen Innes Centre) and pools in Avondale and Otahuhu.”

Councillor Cathy Casey said, “The way C&R dealt with individuals’ verbal submissions to the 10-year plan made a mockery of the democratic process. A 5-minute clock which counted down was projected on a screen for each submitter. C&R Chair Doug Armstrong demanded that any questions of councillors be subtracted from submitters’ own speaking time. For me, listening to the public's view on the future is one of the most important things we do as councillors and I was frankly disgusted at the lack of opportunity given to submitters to clarify their submission and respond to councillors’questions.”

Councillor Graeme Easte said, “I am disappointed that public transport and walking projects have been slashed to the bone. If savings were require from the transport budget they should have been across the board. Even a tiny cut to roading projects would be more than enough to restore the cuts to important walking, cycling and travel demand management projects.”

Councillor Glenda Fryer said, “C&R have refused to put back the funding necessary to clean up our beaches and urban streams for an environmental outcome Auckanders want and expect. In addition they have refused to ensure our maunga, the volcanos of Auckland City, are properly cared for and protected. The ‘supercity’ that is bought into existence next year will not thank the C&R ‘city fathers’ for the underfunded environmental and natural heritage legacy they will be leaving.”

Avondale Community Board member Catherine Farmer said, “Avondale-Roskill residents have been short changed in this slash and burn plan. We have lost our Avondale pool, a timely Mt Roskill library upgrade and roading improvements planned to accommodate traffic flow on local streets from Mt Roskill SH20. Our low- to middle-income residents are paying proportionately higher rates by way of an increased uniform annual general charge and still our infrastructure upgrades are cancelled or delayed.”

ENDS

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