Auckland Council held a drop-in session at the Warkworth Town Hall recently to gather feedback for a review on Council Controlled Organisations (CCOs), and residents took the opportunity to air their gripes.
So many turned up that facilitators had to set out chairs and organise people into groups to ensure everyone was heard.
A common theme was that CCOs did not understand the diverse needs of the Rodney district.
Many members of the crowd agreed that Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development (ATEED) was superfluous to the Rodney District and ought not to be paid for in local rates.
However, former Rodney mayor Penny Webster said ATEED had sent personnel to the area to promote tourism.
Local Board member Tim Holdgate said Auckland Transport needed to fund local buses, instead of using a targeted rate.
Warkworth’s John Blackey said there was a lack of accountability among CCOs.
“Talking to a CCO is like pressing a marshmallow. You push it in and then it returns to the same shape,” Mr Blackey said.
Another complaint was that Panuku Development had too much sway over selling property owned by Council – referencing the near sale of the carpark on Baxter Street in Warkworth in 2017.
“Panuku needs clearer direction about what to do outside the metropolitan area. They came to Warkworth in the winter and wanted to sell the car park because they thought there wasn’t a parking issue,” Ms Webster said.
Council is currently undertaking a wide-ranging review of its CCOs with the aim of ensuring Aucklanders are getting value for money.