Viewpoint - Bleeding Rodney dry

By: Greg Sayers

In the coming weeks, Auckland Council will be consulting on its 10-year budget. As it stands, Mr Goff wants to lock in a “one-off” five per cent increase in your rates, while Watercare is proposing to double your water bill over the next decade.

Such hefty increases on rates and water charges will not only financially hurt many property owners, but will no doubt drive up rents as landlords will be forced to pass on the cost to tenants.

What is particularly concerning is the 10-year budget continues to heavily favour Auckland’s CBD and the south, with Rodney continuing to act as the ATM and remaining the poor cousin of the family.

Any good parent would surely juggle the family budget to ensure little Johnny had a pair of shoes to wear to school, which may mean older sister Susan, who had a new dress brought for her last year, may just have to wait before getting the next nice-to-have item she wants.

The city’s parents should be acting in the same way, making sure everyone has been provided with the basics from Council.

The most disadvantaged communities in Rodney continue to be rural households with no Council services provided, other than an unsealed road. The Mayor is proposing to slash the hard fought for existing budget of $121 million to $40 million. Not only is this cruel, it is negligent.

Auckland Council has failed to spend $109 million of the fuel tax it has collected, yet Auckland Council’s most under-serviced communities will be forced to dig deeper into their pockets for significantly less in return. That is thoroughly unfair.

The news, however, isn’t much better for Rodney’s townships. Of concern,  the promised fix to the Hill Street intersection for next year does not appear in the 10-year budget and is also not visible to me in any regional land transport budgets. The Matakana link road and the new wastewater plant at Snells Beach survived the Mayor’s knife, only because they were already committed to.

There are no plans to build new Auckland Transport funded footpaths, purchase new parks, improve the maintenance of the roads, or to build more public facilities in this growing area. In fact, local services already provided by the Council are under threat of being reduced or abolished due to further funding cuts.  

If Rodney residents believe there has been a miscarriage of Council’s core parenting values, then we need to move swiftly. A massive groundswell of submissions from the public could influence the Mayor and a number of my colleagues at Town Hall. Join me, by submitting your concerns via the Auckland Council website, by Googling “Ak have your say”, or through official feedback forms found at the libraries and Council offices, or by calling 09 301 0101. Copies of the proposed budget are available via the same channels.

Local public meetings have been confined to just Te Hana on March 16, with an online webinar option on March 7. The opportunity to submit closes at midday on March 22.

Greg Sayers, Rodney Councillor


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