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Complete local projects instead of increasing taxes, say Manurewa leaders

Press Release – Manurewa Local Board
“Finish what you start before taxing the pips out of Auckland motorists and property owners.” That is the message from Manurewa’s civic leaders following publication of the transport funding group set up by Mayor Len Brown to provide funding options for Auckland Council.

Manurewa Local Board chairperson Angela Dalton described the Mayor’s Consensus Building Group as a useless exercise, which should not be used as a public relations tool to soften Aucklanders up to pay a multi-billion dollar price-tag for unfunded election promises.

“Having got to the end of the Auckland Plan, the mayor continued to overpromise to Aucklanders.  More than $10 billion worth of transport promises have gone unfunded, and few if any of the unfunded projects would materially assist residents and commuters in the south of the Auckland region.

“So it is in the extreme of unbelievable to think financially stretched commuters are going to be able to afford regional fuel taxes, and road pricing in order to fund schemes like the City Rail Loop.  My constituents would settle for improvements to the Takanini Interchange, certainty around the Mill Road corridor, and other projects that cost far less than $10 billion,” Angela Dalton said.

Fellow board member Hon George Hawkins said the Consensus Building Group needed to be seen for what it was and what its recommendations would cost.

“It’s like the Council has filled its trolley for groceries at the supermarket and arrived at the check-out knowing it has no means to pay for the purchases.  Instead of living within its means the Council is coming up with excuses and stalling for time.

“Why should motorists and homeowners from Manurewa and Papakura be forced to pay around $400 million a year extra in rates and indirect taxes when they will not benefit from the consequential increase in infrastructure?  No matter what way the Mayor spins it he is trying to seduce from local residents and business people more and more taxes in order to fund extravagant election promises,” George Hawkins said.

Another Press Release – Manurewa Local Board
“Do the local stuff well, and extend access to free swimming pools for more local residents”. That is the message conveyed by the Manurewa Local Board to today’s direction-setting meeting with Auckland Council.

Speaking before the Council, board chairperson Angela Dalton said the Board’s position was unequivocal and reflected a growing consensus of community opinion in favour of finishing local projects, supporting Board initiatives to encourage economic growth in Wiri, and extending the free-pools policy to the disabled and Super Gold Card holders.

“The Board has put money where its mouth is to progress the development of Mountfort Park, Riverton Reserve in Randwick Park, and the redevelopment of Netball Manurewa. But we cannot do it alone; we need Auckland Council to come to the table. Finishing these projects is far more important to the lives of young people in Manurewa and Clendon, than white water rafting at the Vodafone Events Centre.

“The Board supports the extension of the free-pools policy to disabled users. And we encourage the Council to adopt the proposal advocated by Cr Calum Penrose whereby the free-pools policy is extended to Super Gold Card holders,” Angela Dalton said.

Deputy Board chairperson Michael Bailey said the Council needs to balance transport and economic development priorities with a need to hold down the ever-growing cost of local government.

“Instead of trying to tax Aucklanders to the tune of an extra $10b to $12b to fund massive new transport projects, we want to see the existing regional arterial network finished.

“The Council needs to join with the Manurewa Local Board to secure the New Zealand Transport Agency’s agreement to redevelop the Takanini Interchange and build an extra south-bound lane on the southern motorway starting at Redoubt Road,” Michael Bailey said.

Fellow Board member Simeon Brown said the Council needs to support the expansion of Wiri as a job-rich industrial hub.

“This includes adopting a variation of the district plan to unlock commercial land at Puhinui Road west of Roscommon Road and State Highway 20.

“The Council does not need to spend tens of millions of dollars on Council-backed projects and industries. Millions of dollars and thousands of jobs can be created if the Council simply got on board with commercial land owners and allowed them to invest their own money to capitalise their landholdings in Wiri and Puhinui,” Simeon Brown said.