Mark Thomas - New Mayor for Auckland

NBR: Lobbying-“We should not pay for contact and activity that will happen in any case”

The NBR ran an article recently calling for Auckland Council to withdraw its funding of “lobby” groups – arguing that we can’t have it both ways. My comments are here:

“Mark Thomas said Council should be involved with a wide range of groups that are interested in Auckland. He said this should include business groups and the many residents, ratepayers and other interest groups – almost all of whom are “lobbying” for a better deal for their members. Our lack of effective involvement with some of these organisations has contributed to the Unitary Plan dramas.

Some groups don’t charge a membership because they are run by volunteers, although council does still make payments to some of them via project grants.

But if any group charges for membership, council should sort out what real value the ratepayer will actually get – and be sure there is no conflict. As Auckland Council is a major player in our region, many lobby groups need to engage with council anyway – so we should not pay for contact and activity that will happen in any case.”


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