This raises lots of questions:
- Have any volunteer groups asked for this ‘kit’? I don’t remember seeing a request during Public Forum and don’t know of any ‘volunteer’ group audacious enough to ask for pampering from the ratepayer on this grandiose scale. I do see that this request has come from Walden himself.
- Why do parks volunteers need all this ‘kit’?
- Where will it be stored?
- Who will supervise its use?
- How will all the equipment to accounted for?
He’s also asking for money for a washdown area at the Ostend Causeway hardstand, though why ratepayers money is needed to provide such a facility isn’t explained. Again, I don’t recall the Boat Club making any representation for this facility, although it is rumoured that Walden keeps at least two of his boats there.
To pay for these extravagances other projects have been stopped including the Oneroa Street Banners. These were a great success for the 2012/13 tourist season and gave an uplift to the Oneroa streetscape during Sculpture on the Gulf. They were requested by Oneroa business owners who have told me of their disgust that this project was stopped at the eleventh hour by the incoming Board.
Ratepayers are always suspicious of corruption. Therefore they expect a high level of accountability for how their rates are being spent. Their hackles have been raised during this second term of the Auckland Council by the behaviour of the Mayor. As someone reminded me yesterday, a fish rots from the head. If the mayor can get away with using ratepayers money for himself on personal ‘gyms’ and hotel expenses for nefarious activities then is it surprising that this ‘ethic’ permeates throughout the organisation.