This has the Taxpayers’ Union, a government and local government watchdog, asking for complete disclosure so that ratepayers can know the truth. Here is the TU media release.
WELLINGTON RATEPAYERS ENTITLED TO THE FACTS
The Taxpayers’ Union is calling for full disclosure by the Wellington City Council, after three of its Councillors contradicted the Council’s Chief Executive about an apparent budget blow-out of the Council’s controversial Island Bay Cycleway. According to councillors Paul Eagle, Nicola Young and Simon Woolf the cycleway, budgeted to cost $1.7million, has ballooned to $3.7million.
Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says:
“It is simply extraordinary to have three respected councillors directly contradicting the CEO in relation to two million dollars of ratepayer money. There’s either a complete breakdown in communication, or something untoward is going on.”
“We’re calling on the Council to release the line by line expenditure on the cycleway and give ratepayers the facts they are entitled to. How else can we expect accountability?”
The public has the right to know whether or not Wellington CEO is telling porkies, especially when the cycleway was so controversial and deemed by residents to be putting the needs of the Mayor and a few cyclists ahead of safety considerations.
Lack of accountability and transparency in government, local government and their agencies is a hot topic at present with officials coming under fire from the media for charging to access information which should be freely available. Officials want to deter the public from knowing what goes on behind closed doors and pricing information out of the market is a great mechanism for shutting up those pesky people who pay their wages.
There is growing trend in New Zealand for undermining the fundamentals of democracy that is very worrying for the future. Given the level of concern about this project the Council should be releasing all the figures as demanded by the TU. The public has a right to know.
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