The Ratepayers’ Alliance has responded with a media release.
AUCKLAND COUNCIL OFFICIALS SHOULD BUTT OUT OF COUNCIL ELECTION RACE
The Ratepayers’ Alliance is slamming an Auckland Council propaganda effort to defend sitting Councillors Wayne Walker and Penny Webster from criticism relating to higher waste charges which will soon be borne by ratepayers in their Council wards.
Since Friday, Ratepayers’ Alliance leaflets have been delivered to 72,000 households pointing out the dramatic increase in charges faced by residents thanks to reforms by Auckland Council to force out private providers and increase the costs to ratepayers by subsidising Council services from rates.
Jo Holmes, the Ratepayers’ Alliance spokesperson, says:
“Instead of responding to the facts, the Council has gone into attack mode to defend two of the sitting Councillors who have supported Len Brown’s high rates and wasteful spending. Andrew Duncan, a Council official, said that the leaflet “could be misleading” despite his own admission that he doesn’t even know how the figures were calculated.”
“It appears Mr Duncan hasn’t even bothered to visit our website and read the 10 page Ratepayer Briefing Paper on the higher waste costs. The document exposes the Council’s own forecasts which show how waste charges are set to double for many residents North of the Harbour Bridge.”
"If Council refuses to believe this, then it should look at its own projected increases in rates as shown in a LGOIMA response labelled “Solid waste targeted rates” available on the Council website."
The leaflets, which are available to view online, use figures from table 5 of the Briefing Paper. This explains how the Ratepayers’ Alliance got the percentage figures and includes footnotes which reference the Council’s own papers.
Ms Holmes says, “The Council’s Chief Executive should be explaining why officials are being allowed to show such political bias and why the Council’s own “Our Auckland” website is running stories which are demonstrably wrong.”
“Either the Council’s spin doctors don’t know what their own waste department is up to, or they are showing political favouritism by manipulating the facts to protect two sitting Councillors.”
“Council says households do not pay a rate for rubbish collection. The leaflet doesn’t claim anything different. But Council’s own papers show it is competitively pricing the orange rubbish bags to get an increase in market share. The so-called innovate tagline “the bag that gives back” is misleading in itself. It should be called “the bag that that takes over”. The large increases in rates for other waste services do not make up for any small savings in the rubbish bags.”
A petition calling on Councillors Walker and Webster to fight the Council’s expensive waste regime and for an opt-out provision in their wards can be signed online here: http://www.ratepayers.nz/petition
Council uses its clout with social media giants like Facebook, where they are major advertisers, to close down dissenting voices. For example, Council's Comms. Dept. has again shut down the administrator of the Len Brown Must Resign Facebook page, a site highly critical of Len Brown, Penny Hulse and the Terrible Ten Councillors responsible for 10%pa rates rises.
Is it any wonder that the people have had enough of Councils and governments where the bureaucratic tail wags the dog. There is the whiff of rebellion in the air from the United States, witness the rise of the anti-establishment Trump, and Brexit in Europe, a continent ruled by unelected bureaucrats. It is to be hoped a new mayor and Council will stamp on the bureaucrats and lead once again from the front.