Civic Pride

This month’s ‘Viewpoint’ is about presenting a new point-of-view about what Auckland Council should be doing to revitalise civic pride within the people of Rodney.

Living at Snells Beach puts me into regular contact with folk from all over the Mahurangi. Most people are deeply disappointed about what has failed to be done for Rodney over the last six years. They want this to change. People are frustrated with the status quo.

They see Auckland Council’s performance as woeful. Rates have gone up, debt has gone up, the wage bill has gone up, yet service levels have gone down.

You may have your own viewpoint about maintenance, local projects and housing affordability.

So what needs to change?

Firstly, to achieve the promises of the Super City Council must get the rates and debt back under control.

As well as fighting rate increases there needs to be greater financial transparency of Councils expenditure and a real push to stop the wastage and overspending.

This should start by immediately getting the annual $720 million wage bill under control which has blown out by over $50 million every year. Last year it blew out by $63 million. This is overspending we simply cannot afford.

Next, we need to get Council back to core business and the “need to haves”, like dealing with Warkworth’s traffic congestion rather than the “nice to haves”, like pink cycle-ways or white-water rafting parks.

If Auckland is really about equality across the Region, then lets have our roads, footpaths, walkways and public transport comparable with the rest of Auckland.

Thirdly, local rates need to be spent on maintaining our local area, not funding a massive bureaucracy that thinks it knows best how to spend our money.

We need our rates spent on our infrastructure not on Auckland CBD projects that provide little or no benefit for Rodney ratepayers. Council needs to start giving Rodney its fair share of Council’s spending.

Fourthly, unnecessary Council regulations and rules need to be removed. The time delays and cost to do business with Council is out of control.

License costs, user charges, compliance costs and consent costs have all skyrocketed and many are being passed onto housing prices. These costs need to be reduced to sensible levels in order for new jobs and housing to be created. Any shortfall in revenue should be found from internal Council savings.

Finally, over the last six years’ congestion has got worse. Just look at Hill Street.

The inherent design flaws with Hill Street have failed to be appropriately addressed and the town still doesn’t have a designation for the pivotal ‘Link’ road although it is likely to be built at about the same time as the new motorway.

The big cost to Rodney has been Auckland Council’s approach to the City Rail Link and other huge transport projects in Auckland. This has displaced local transport projects that are far more important to Rodney residents.

People are seeking change.