In the Our Waiheke publication within the section ‘Can we do it’ (Page 2) it is
stated that the cost of library services to Waiheke is $1.25 million. In fact the cost for the next financial, 2016/17 in the WLB three year plan is nearly $1.5 million and this doesn’t include the OW proposed fee optimistic ‘fee-for-service’ of $500,000. For this fee Waiheke would end up with a ‘Library Lite’ - a library service stripped to the bare essentials.
The current library service provides access to a host of services including free
Wi-Fi, collection development and renewals, funding to ensure and enhance
community engagement, access to heritage and research collections, and digital
services including on-line ordering etc. with next day delivery from libraries around the region.
Auckland Council may be prepared to negotiate a fee for use of its comprehensive service (the biggest in Australasia) but Auckland Council ratepayers should not then be expected to ‘carry’ a group of people who have deliberately turned their backs on the collective responsibilities of the region. Without a fee Waiheke residents would no longer have free access to Auckland’s central and suburban libraries.
The collective responsibilities of the wider Auckland region bring considerable benefits to Waiheke, more so than any other local board area except Great Barrier. Naturally, these are never mentioned by Our Waiheke. It is quite possible that Auckland Library could adopt the same stance as ATEED and claim they have no mandate to provide any services to Waiheke. If they do provide a service it is likely to be the full cost of service fee not some fanciful figure plucked out of thin air.
As the man who prepared the OW budget, Eric Millar, told me the OW budget is only of marginal benefit to Waiheke at best. The OW budget takes no account of the many additional costs of being a Unitary Council and, as Mr Millar admitted, the figures may not even reflect the true costs of current Council services.
Two examples alone, the regional library services and ATEED’s promotion of Waiheke to a wider international and national audience, result in enormous benefits to the resident population. Without those benefits there will be a dramatic loss of local jobs and a return to the bad old days.