Rodney Local Board member, Greg Sayers, says he believes the NorWest district will benefit from Auckland Council’s recent decision to look at alternative sources of financing.
On 19 November the Chief Executive, Mr Stephen Town, received instructions from the Finance and Performance Committee to identify debt reduction opportunities around the Ports of Auckland, Auckland International Airport, council’s commercial and legacy civic buildings, council car parks, as well as ongoing operational savings and organisational efficiencies.
Mr Sayers says this is good news as the privatizing of Watercare, or the selling of council housing for older people, or other important Rodney community assets such as regional parks or potentially community halls were no longer a focus.
“The NorWest needs significantly more of its rates invested back into solving its roading and public transport problems,” he says. “If Council can stop its wasteage and refocus instead onto internal cost savings and debt reduction this also means Rodney wouldn’t have to keep acting as Auckland’s cash cow.”
The decision follows reports from independent advisory firms Cameron Partners and Ernst & Young which reviewed alternative sources of financing available to council.
The broad objectives of the reports were to reduce the proportion of council revenue funded from rates, to maximise the return on council’s investment, explore alternative sources of financing and review council assets.
Sue Tindal, Chief Financial Officer, says: “As Auckland Council faces the pressures associated with a rapidly growing city, such as the need for new infrastructure in growing communities, we need to ensure we are maximising all the financing sources available to us.
“No decisions have been made on the council’s assets and the review will enable councillors to consider all options and make informed decisions as part of the 2016/17 Annual Plan process.”
Mr Sayers said he was disappointed that the City Rail Link project remained a significant financial drain for ratepayers with it being 100% funded from rates and without any central Government partnership funding until at least the year 2020.