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Ratepayer’s Champion Finds More Fat to Trim

Ratepayer’s Champion Finds More Fat to Trim

Affordable Auckland Mayoral candidate Stephen Berry says, “There may be some who are sceptical when I say I’m not just the only Mayoral candidate guaranteeing a genuine cut in rates but I’ll also eliminate borrowing within three years. Aucklanders can trust that there is plenty of fat to be trimmed and I will trim it. One of the programs on my list is the Auckland Council Environmental Initiatives Fund.”

Stephen Berry is not opposed to the concept of valuing our past and preserving it for future generations. “I share the passion many Aucklanders have for our great city’s taonga and heritage. I just don’t think the Council should be should be driving those on low incomes out of their homes or maxing out the credit card to fund it.”

Auckland Council is now receiving applications for up to $15,000 worth of funding from groups who wish to engage in heritage restoration projects. “When young families are being locked out of an unaffordable housing market and pensioners are fleeing their homes to escape oppressive annual rates increases, can we really consider paint jobs for old buildings to be core council business? Heritage icon restoration is a hobby; a pursuit for enthusiasts. It is not an essential activity the city cannot function without.”

Mr. Berry points out the it is ironic the Council’s involvement in heritage preservation is precisely what makes heritage building restoration projects so unaffordable for organisations that wish to engage in it. “The owners of old villas in Ponsonby know exactly what I’m talking about when they attempt to give their home a different coloured lick of paint or upgrade the kitchen. The hoops they must jump through to obtain permission are narrow, flaming and expensive. These restrictions also drive up the costs for groups who want to restore heritage structures. The costs involved in planning, consents, permissions and consultations. If the Council just got out of the way, they probably wouldn’t even need a grant to afford to embark on these projects!”

“The proper function of Council is to keep the streets clean, ensure the rubbish is collected and maintain our parks.. Council’s function is certainly not to mortgage our children’s futures through borrowing a billion dollars a year to pick and choose hobby horses. Auckland’s ratepayers deserve real fiscal responsibility from their representatives.”

Stephen Berry is also standing for Council in Waitemata & Gulf as well as for the Waitemata Local Board. Affordable Auckland’s ticket includes Peter Chan for Waitakere, Niko Kloeten for Franklin Ward and Local Board and Heidi Bale for Whau Local Board.

Ends

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