Are many councils about to hit the wall financially and what impact will that have on the rates you pay?
### rnz.co.nz Monday 4 July 2011 at 09:08
Nine To Noon with Kathryn Ryan
Are many councils about to hit the wall financially?
Larry N. Mitchell is an independent finance and policy consultant and Lawrence Yule is President of Local Government New Zealand and Hastings Mayor.
Audio Ogg Vorbis MP3 (27′05″)
Posted by Elizabeth Kerr
8 responses to “Local government finances”
An absolutely “must hear” interview. No matter which side of the stadium debate you happen to be on, this interview is informative and independent.
I was disappointed that Kathryn Ryan was unaware of the extent to which ratepayers are funding the Fubar Stadium. She may have been successfully misled by the shell game money-go-round where money/debt goes under X then is spirited away to reappear briefly under Y before being re-named and appearing in Z. Because other than Dunedin (mostly) and Otago ratepayers, DCC and ORC, there was Helen Clark’s all-taxpayers handout of $15M and someone else’s $32.00.
Larry Mitchell mentioned that there were six local bodies that were really in trouble, but I don’t think he outlined all of them. I did hear Waitakere, Waitomo and Rodney District Councils. There were a few ‘Presbyterian’ councils down south, which he said were managing their financial affairs quite well, with small annual rate rises, but clearly Dunedin was not one of them. It is only a matter of time before central government steps in. Personally, I’d love to see a statutory manager here, a local body commissioner, to sort out the mess with the present council sacked. I don’t think the council here will ever be capable of working things out. I’ve lost confidence in them to do so.
I know commissioners, in a school setting, can work wonders. Why not a local body one? Maybe someone will eventually start up a Facebook page to get the idea going.
At this point in time I suspect that the new CEO will be the big hope for council. He would have to be up there with ‘Merlin the Magician’ but Cull and co. will be praying.
Trouble is the big spenders on council,including Dave Cull, are in ascendency and far too few councillors are wanting to apply the brakes. Getting rid of shark nets in the budget won’t cut it.
People may be interested in reading this TV3 online news article about Dunedin’s debt.
[Wed, 29 Jun 2011 2:45pm]
Note that Peter Young, a Forsyth Barr investment adviser, posts the first comment defending the stadium debt.
More on Larry Mitchell’s report:
Today, Mitchell joined the panel on Jim Mora’s show at approximately 16:20 (follows discussion about tolls to pay for a new Auckland harbour crossing).
Mitchell mentions Dunedin City Council’s involvement in “entertainment and events with a new stadium”; there’s discussion about selling off the silver to obviate debt. Of Dunedin’s current debt levels, he says, the average debt per Dunedin ratepayer was running at four times the average across New Zealand at June 2010; this is likely to go to five times (June 2011).
### radionz.co.nz Tuesday 5 July 2011 at 4.10PM
Afternoons with Jim Mora
The Panel with Sir Bruce Slane and Graham Bell (part 1)
Two bus drivers from the same company have been counselled and found to be suffering from Maskophobia after separate incidents involving veiled muslim women; Transport Agency consultants are suggesting tolls of 6 to 8 dollars could pay for a new Auckland harbour crossing.
Audio Ogg Vorbis MP3 (27′20″)
It’s a relief that Dunedin’s parlous financial situation is gaining more awareness outside of the city. Key people are obviously talking about it. However, despite Central Government stepping in to help rectify the situation, we will still have to pay up, eventually, despite the best efforts of those responsible to try and conceal the real extent of the debt from the rate payers.
I am incredulous at the continuing spending of this council. Has Dunedin got a more hopeful future beyond the next twenty years or so?