The Auckland Council will shortly apply its laser-like analysis of what constitutes value-for-money to a rehashed venture located at the TelstraClear Pacific Events Centre in Manukau. The scheme includes a demand for $30 million from Auckland Council, with the apparent hope of millions more from the taxpayers in the form of a government subsidy.
This scheme was rejected by Manukau City Council prior to amalgamation. At the time the former council went out to its community and called for public input. Submitter after submitter came before councillors to outline their disdain for free-spending initiatives.
Auckland’s Long Term Plan has been finalised. The budget was set and the region purportedly has its budgetary house in order starting from 1 July this year. Or does it?
Less than two months after the budget was set the mayor is demanding 3 per cent savings from local boards, those pesky entities that actually deal with ratepayers who have the temerity to demand value for money. Those boards, which have cut and cut in order to comply with Len Brown’s budget demands are now being directed to make further savings.
What’s the bet that Auckland Council will sign up to the whitewater rafting deal with no questions asked? If so, where will the money come from? When will the community get to have its say on the proposal? When will democracy apply?
Auckland Council has now lost $233 million after tax in its first full year of operation. Eye-watering liabilities such as land acquisition to build sneaky Len Brown’s rail tunnel are yet to be factored in.
Lyin’ Len Brown’s 10 year budget will grow to around $12.5 billion, which equates to nearly $20,000 for every ratepayer. The interest cost of that debt alone will gobble up a quarter of the rates that Aucklanders will be forced to pay.
In a climate where local government losses in Auckland are now measured in the hundreds of millions and the debt mountain is measured in billions, the price tag for low quality ventures like whitewater rafting no longer seems excessive. Auckland the mayoral office as a taste for no accountability … it even wants to deny Aucklanders the right to appeal its draft unitary plan.
Why switch on the television to see stories of the destruction of economies in Greece and Spain when that same tragedy is happening in Auckland?