You elected him, suffer in ya jocks Wellington

For years people in Wellington have been laughing at the predicament of Auckland ratepayers with successive socialist councils and mayors.

So, it is with a bit of schadenfreude that I see Wellingtonians are receiving the cold reality of electing hard-core socialists to their council. Stuff reports:

Wellington’s desire for a movie museum, a pricey indoor arena, and its need for resilience, will bump the city’s debt to more than $1 billion for the first time.

Wellington City Council’s debt level is set to rise from $507 million to $1.16 billion over the next 10 years to pay for investments such as water reservoirs, earthquake strengthening the Town Hall, Let’s Get Wellington Moving, cycleway infrastructure and the arts.

Councillor Andy Foster was concerned the council was proposing to more than double the amount it borrowed and was warning ratepayers it will cost them in interest payments.

The spending is within the council’s financial guidelines but Foster, who holds the finance portfolio, estimated the council would go from paying $1m every two weeks in interest to more than $1m every five days.

“It’s debt heavy. The proposed increase and the costs of debt servicing is a concern… I want to know if ratepayers are comfortable with that or rather we trimmed the costs. I would struggle to put my hand up and vote for the current budget.”

End of quote.

Of course it is debt heavy; that’s the wonderful thing about other people’s money… there is plenty of it and they can say you voted for it even if you didn’t. Suck it up snowflakes.

The mayor thinks you should:

Wellington Mayor Justin Lester said he was comfortable with the proposed investments over the next decade.

Some of the budgeted investments were not only warranted but necessary, he said.

“Our debt-to-income ratio is significantly lower than Auckland, Christchurch and Tauranga and we also hold investments exceeding $400m in Wellington Airport and our commercial ground lease holdings.

“To put this in residential context, we’ll have a house worth $600,000 with a mortgage of $160,000 “.

The council had the highest credit rating of councils across New Zealand and would be ranked higher than central government, if it was technically possible, Lester said.

Council chief executive Kevin Lavery said the proposed level of debt was prudent and affordable and significantly lower than the average mortgage level for New Zealand households.

The council had a strong balance sheet, which meant it could borrow now and spread the costs of the major projects over the lifetime of the assets, he said.

“Simply, it means we can propose keeping rate increases to less than 4 per cent.”

The current ratio was about 100 per cent and the council was proposing to increase it over 10 years to 160 per cent, which was significantly lower than many other New Zealand metro councils that would exceed 250 per cent, he said.

Local Government Funding Agency (LGFA) chief executive Mark Butcher said the funding body had no concerns and the council would retain its top, AA+, credit rating.

“We think it has the capacity on its balance sheet to do that level of spending – it’s just a question of the quality of infrastructure investments. In general, we like to see councils borrowing for housing growth, water and roading. We don’t like to see a council putting money into stadiums and those sorts of assets”.

Deloitte, access economics lead partner, Linda Meade said not all debt was bad and the council’s good rating meant it could borrow quite cheaply.

End of quote.

Like an alcoholic passing a bar, socialists can’t resist loading up debt. They won’t be around to pay it off. The mortgage comparison is trite. Most people try to pay their mortgages off. Councils never pay off their debt; they get addicted to it, and it builds and builds and builds. Then you end up like Auckland where there can be no more borrowing, and then the rates explode. Notice how both Lester and the Chief Executive say that they can borrow oodles because it’s just like a mortgage, but then fail to tell ratepayers just precisely how that “mortgage” is going to get repaid.

Welcome Wellington, to the start of your very own night-mayor. Once Justin Lester, the ratepayers’ pocket molester, gets going there will be no stopping him.

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.

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