Mark Thomas - New Mayor for Auckland

Delivering Better Community Value

Auckland’s Regional Facilities Company must have a sense of irony. The top two items its latest quarterly report’s Key Deliverables section are the Stadiums Strategy and the new Whitewater Park being built in Manukau. I’ve commented previously how the Stadiums Strategy remains marooned because of the Mayor’s absent leadership. However the ratepayer funded whitewater endeavour is experiencing no such calm.

Two years ago, Auckland Council voted to grant $20 million from the sale of council owned land to establish this private, commercial venture. I’ve nothing against whitewater rafting and parts of south Auckland need much better council service delivery. But when we look at the 16.9% average resident rates increase in Mangere-Otahuhu, the 12.% increase in Otara-Papatoetoe and the 9.5% rise in Manurewa – you might think that a council investment of this size could have been put to better uses.

The Mayor’s signature Southern Initiative project was designed to build stronger communities in parts of the south. However it has achieved little tangible results in the last three years and has had to be rescoped. If we are trying to deliver effective, appropriate council funded community projects – particularly in socially disadvantaged areas – we need less ratepayer subsidised commercial ventures and better targeted council activity.

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