In 1215, King John looked wearily over the feudal kingdom of England with exasperation. He had commanded exorbitant taxes and confiscation of land and property from his people to fund the crusades, rescue his brother (Richard the Lionheart) from France and fund frivolous projects. But the well of money had run dry. Civil war broke out, ending when the powerful barons, led by Baron Robert Fitzwalter, took control of the major seaport of London.
King John was forced to sign the Magna Carta. It was the first constitution of England, holding the monarchy to account and providing protection from excessive taxing and the power to usurp any ruler by vote of the people.
Despite a New Zealand constitution, laws, and acts, what has stopped Auckland Council from frivolous spending of ratepayer money and non-delivery of infrastructure to the whole area?
For example, the rural road sealing budget ($121 million) has disappeared, reverting to $4 million annually. To top this off, we will have a rate increase to get the reduced service.
The drainage area’s of Glorit, Okahukura, and Te Arai formerly had $25,000 from general rates to service Crown drains. This money has been stripped from these communities and a special targeted rate will be imposed instead.
The rural communities already pay an environmental targeted rate which funds the Auckland northern interceptor wastewater project. This brings no benefit to farmers.
The Three Waters Reform proposal brings more control and conditions that will add more unnecessary cost to farming. This will include extra costs for sewerage systems, water tanks and drains. The policies that are already in place have blocked our drains and are now causing flooding. What benefit is this to farmers? None.
The urban communities of Auckland enjoy park and rides, busways, cycleways, 139 hand-made pavers for the America’s Cup, white water rafting facilities, City Rail Link projects and more. Again, no benefit to outer communities.
The farming communities pay high individual rates from $3000 up to $25,000. A focus on Wellsford reveals:
• More investment required to cope with 30,000 vehicles per day
• New public toilets will arrive in 2022
• The car park is still up for sale
• The sport facilities need to have major repairs
• The sewerage treatment plant has been upgraded but the water/sewerage network is in disrepair
• The water treatment plant needs replacing
Have we really progressed since the Magna Carta?