Daily Archives: June 12, 2009

NSC ruckus: Mr Hide and council core services

### Mayoral News Release 12 June 2009
News and opinion from North Shore City’s Mayor Andrew Williams
By Andrew Williams

Hide shoots himself in the foot over council ‘core services’, says North Shore Mayor

Local Government Minister Rodney Hide has shot himself in the foot, with his own gun, over his latest plan to smash local government and limit it to providing basic ‘core services’ such as roads and rubbish collection, North Shore Mayor Andrew Williams said today.

“Rodney Hide wants to outlaw council involvement in “social, economic, environmental, and cultural community outcomes” in favour of a narrow focus on the “core activities” of transport services, water services, and public health and safety services, arguing that local councils should not provide “services that benefit a limited number of people but for which the whole community is required to pay” because the “beneficiaries of the service “free ride” on other ratepayers.”

“Yet only back in August last year, speaking in Parliament on the Auckland Regional Amenities Funding Bill, which he and his party voted for, Hide argued strongly in favour of long term council funding of the Auckland Observatory and Planetarium, the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust, the Auckland Theatre Company, the New Zealand National Maritime Museum, the Zoo, the Coastguard Northern Region, the Opera New Zealand, the Surf Life Saving Northern Region, the Auckland Festival Trust, and WaterSafe Auckland.”

“Rodney Hide went on to tell Parliament that the only fair way to fund these organisations is to “tax and rate” the people of greater Auckland to pay for them. And he actually had the gall to challenge those who did not support long term council funding of these public amenities and organisations to name which ones they would close. We could ask the same question of Rodney Hide today, not that we are likely to get a straight answer from him.”

“Rodney Hide’s hypocrisy on the issue of council core services is simply breathtaking. Ten months ago, he was firmly behind council funding of the Opera, the Maritime Museum, the Theatre Company, the Planetarium, and all the rest that he listed in Parliament, yet now, he says they “free ride” on the backs of ratepayers and ratepayers should not be forced to pay for them.”

“Prime Minister John Key is very sensibly distancing himself from Hide’s crazy plan to gut local government services, saying councils “are quite clearly involved in the delivery of social policy and quite a wide range of things” and that he expected councils to “continue to have quite wide responsibilities” for the wellbeing of their communities.”

“With his credibility over council core services now shot to pieces, and with the ‘super city’ plan he is ramming down our throats falling apart piece by piece, day by day, perhaps the message might start to sink in that 97 percent of New Zealanders did not vote for his extremist ACT policies and that they do not accept his ‘bully boy’ bulldozer tactics, and that he should abandon this foolish review and drop the rest of his crazy ACT plans for local government,” Mayor Williams said.

Mayor Williams also expressed disbelief that Rodney Hide would so easily abandon the very people he praised so highly back in August for their invaluable support for their communities.

“Rodney Hide praised to the rafters “the unsung work of people who support organisations that we all enjoy and that we all benefit from, and I do not think that those people get sufficient recognition. I would like to place that on record, on behalf of the whole House, because we all live in communities where people give up their time and make sacrifices for the things we enjoy.”

“Yet here is Rodney Hide today, rubbing the noses of these very people he was praising in the dirt, saying that the community organisations they work so hard to support are ‘freeloaders’ on the ratepayers and unworthy of ratepayer funding. He should be ashamed of himself,” Mayor Williams said.

Mayor Williams noted that a survey of North Shore ratepayers undertaken in late 2007 to test public support for council funding of regional amenities found that only a small percentage were opposed, with the highest being 13.68 percent opposed to funding the Auckland Theatre Company and the lowest being 9.12 percent opposed to funding the Zoo, showing that Rodney Hide is well out of step with public opinion on this issue.

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Hansard; Auckland Regional Amenities Funding Bill; 27 August 2008

Rodney Hide MP: “I ask people who object to this bill to ask themselves what it is they want to close. Is it the Auckland Observatory and Planetarium, the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, the Auckland Rescue Helicopter Trust, the Auckland Theatre Company, the New Zealand National Maritime Museum, the Coastguard Northern Region, the Opera New Zealand, or perhaps the Surf Life Saving Northern Region? Perhaps it is the Auckland Festival Trust, or WaterSafe Auckland. They are the organisations that are to be funded by this bill.”

Rodney Hide MP: “I will close by saying that it is good to see that we have such agreement in this House—and the bit of disagreement that we have will not be here after the election [NZ First], so it will not be a problem. I would like to thank the many, many people who have worked for many, many years to get this bill here. That work is the unsung work of people who support organisations that we all enjoy and that we all benefit from, and I do not think that those people get sufficient recognition. I would like to place that on record, on behalf of the whole House, because we all live in communities where people give up their time and make sacrifices for the things we enjoy.”

Cabinet Economic Growth and Infrastructure Committee; EGI (09) 44; 6 April 2009

Hon Rodney Hide, Minister of Local Government: While there is no formal definition of core services for local government, I would expect there to be general acceptance that it includes transport services (roading, footpaths, and public transport), water services (water supply, sewage treatment, stormwater and flood protection) and public health and safety services (refuse collection and regulation of nuisances).

Hon Rodney Hide, Minister of Local Government: Councils can be pressured to expand their services by providing services that benefit a limited number of people but for which the whole community is required to pay. This raises equity issues as some beneficiaries of the service “free ride” on other ratepayers. This leads to the principle that costs should be distributed as closely as possible to benefits received.

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Andrew Williams, JP | Mayor of North Shore
Email mayor@northshorecity.govt.nz
Tel 09-4868687 Fax 09-4868445 Web http://www.northshorecity.govt.nz
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North Shore City Council
1 The Strand, Takapuna
Private Bag 93500, Takapuna,
North Shore City, New Zealand

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DCC purchase of Carisbrook avoids open market

…for a while at least

This morning, David referred to Chief Executive Jim Harland’s statements about the Dunedin City Council’s purchase of Carisbrook from the Otago Rugby Football Union (ORFU), as featured in the print and digital editions of today’s ODT (page 12).

Mr Harland was replying briefly to a Letter to the editor written by Calvin Oaten.

The comments for public consumption are:

Q: Why did the DCC buy Carisbrook?
A: To assist the ORFU as anchor tenant in the new stadium and to secure a piece of industrial land for the future of the city.

Q: What price did the DCC pay?
A: This information is confidential until negotiations have been concluded.

Q: Was the purchase price factored in as part of the budgeted $198 million cost of the Awatea St stadium?
A: No. The council’s concern is to ensure the ORFU is in a viable financial position looking into the future.

Q: What use does the DCC see for the purchase and what costs are budgeted for in order to demolish existing improvements, thus making way for reuse or sale of the site?
A: No decisions have been made on the future use of Carisbrook. The modelling prior to purchase took into account likely demolition costs.

Q: Did the purchase include the ORFU’s other properties on Burns St and parking areas on Neville St?
A: Yes.

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David notes the other question put by Mr Oaten but left unanswered by Mr Harland was:

Q: Did the price agreed take into consideration the $2 million debt that the ORFU owes the DCC?

[David says the $2 million is owed to ratepayers.]

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

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Stadium: DCC's explanation due to submitters

The Dunedin City Council is meeting this month to finalise the Annual Plan budget. With this, we are led to believe (ODT 12/5/09 Link), comes the reply to residents who presented submissions to the council opposing the Awatea St stadium.

In the annual round there were 538 submissions opposing the stadium, and 10 in support.

In May, Cr Richard Walls was reported as saying there was a problem explaining the fixed cost of $66 a year for the average value property, and he had seen some “extra- ordinary” calculations of costs in stadium blogs.

Chief executive Jim Harland said a major issue confusing people was changes to the funding model.

Mr Harland had been working on a standard “but very detailed” response, including the history of the project. Councillors would debate the response before it was sent out.

Dunedin resident Calvin Oaten said, in a comment at ODT Online, “That should be an interesting exercise which I hope the recipients appreciate. After all, we have spent over $20 million endeavouring to get the council to understand it, and by all accounts it is not even certain that they do yet.”

In another comment at ODT Online ro1 said: “People who oppose the stadium aren’t confused; they are simply not comforted by the spin. The reason they aren’t is twofold: first, while they are perfectly prepared to accept that the direct impost on the average residential rate may only be $66.00 – and may, after a massive but futile job of work by council officers, be even less – they realise that this is only part of the project’s budget and the rest comes out of the Holding Companies’ operations which will have to be compressed for a stadium few people want.”

We eagerly await the council’s deliberation in print. Not long to go now.

The full council meets on Monday 22 June to adopt the Community Plan (LTCCP) and confirm rates. The meeting will be held in the Council Chamber, Municipal Chambers, at 1pm.

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Iconic Carisbrook: does the job well, AGAIN

### ODT Online Fri, 12 Jun 2009
Rugby: Tickets for test all but sold out
By Alistair McMurran

Carisbrook is expected to be a sell-out for the test between the All Blacks and France tomorrow night. Otago Rugby Football Union marketing manager Chris Green told the Otago Daily Times last night the test was “on the verge of a sell-out again”.
Read more

Stats:
The capacity of Carisbrook for the test is 28,500.
The capacity at the Cake Tin is 34,500.

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2011 RWC a "rolling maul"

UPDATED

### ODT Online Fri, 12 Jun 2009
Dunedin stadium seen as world cup ‘showcase’
By Hamish McNeilly

Addressing domestic and international media at Eden Park yesterday, [Rugby New Zealand 2011 chief executive Martin Snedden] singled out the stadium, saying ensuring the roofed stadium was ready on time was one of the challenges facing the 2011 tournament, when an estimated $500 million would be spent on stadiums.
Read more

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Tell the health boards that…
The fully functioning Carisbrook is the back up…
The rugby sledgehammer of patriotic necessity (thanks boys, we can believe it, sure)

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Further to Mr Snedden’s comments on the shortage of accommodation:

### ODT Online Fri, 12 Jun 2009
Dunedin City Hotel expansion ready in time for world cup
By Dene Mackenzie

Two new floors with 16 new rooms will be added to the top of the Dunedin City Hotel as the Scenic Hotel Group prepares for an influx of tourists during the 2011 Rugby World Cup.
Read more

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