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Brown’s Budget Proposal Holds Public Services Hostage

Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown’s proposed budget presents a dangerous false choice between cutting public services and privatising Auckland’s assets.

The proposal to councillors offers to reinstate funding for public services and increase the pay of bus drivers to $30 an hour to restore suspended services. But this is "contingent," according to Brown, on the Council selling its 18% stake in Auckland Airport.

"It’s appalling that the Mayor is trying to use public services and people’s livelihoods as a bargaining chip for the airport shares," said Bronywnn Maxwell, Assistant Secretary for the Public Service Association Te Pūkenga Here Tikanga Mahi. "Investment in these services help the people and communities of Tāmaki Makaurau to thrive.

"We remind the Mayor that the Council is not a business - it is public service organisation, and it should be run like one."

The Local Government Act 2002 makes it clear that local authorities have wide-ranging responsibilities for the social, economic, cultural, and environmental wellbeing of their communities.

"The idea that Auckland’s only two options are cutting services or selling airport shares is ridiculous and damaging," said Maxwell. "The Mayor isn’t adequately exploring or explaining all the options available.

"Selling the Council’s shares in Auckland Airport will give up the public’s voice in a valuable asset that will have a huge impact on the region’s economy and the environment. It is in no way worth the limited, short-term gain.

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"We also point out that the public consultation made it clear that very few people supported a sale of the entire 18% stake in the airport - only 25% of individuals backed this option.

"The Mayor has no mandate to sell. We do not stand for cuts to public services or for privatisation. We urge councillors, the media, and the public to look beyond this false narrative that Brown is pushing."

Read the results of the public consultation here.

© Scoop Media

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