This will severely impact local board budgets and therefore their own local board plans. Angela Dalton, Chair of the Manurewa Local Board is trying to stop this blatant attack on local boards by Council's own departments.
The Manurewa Local Board chairwoman says it’s unfair for local boards to have to fund regional initiatives such as antismoking signs in parks.
In April the board was asked to pay $4000 to put up smoke-free signs in six areas in Manurewa.
‘‘That’s a lot for a local board. We felt we needed to do something that showed we supported the smoke-free policy.’’
The six areas were deemed to be high priority and the Auckland Council wanted new signs erected.
But the board decided to go with the less expensive option of putting stickers on existing signs, the alternative usually reserved for medium priority areas.
The stickers are yet to be put up.
Dalton raised the issue at Auckland Council’s regional strategy and policy committee, bringing up the $25,000 local board was asked to put towards the council’s Regional Economic Development Action Plan.
‘‘In my view, if it’s a regional policy, that should come from the council’s budget rather than the local board’s.
‘‘I want some flexibility to serve my community. The council is removing the choice of how we use our discretionary budgets.’’
Councillor Alf Filipaina agrees regional costs like that should not be imposed on local boards.
‘‘We need to have a look and talk with each other about how we can find a solution. My understanding is that if they are regional initiatives then regional funds need to be spent.
‘‘This needs to be worked out so we don’t find ourselves in this position again.’’
Filipaina says local boards should not be so tightly bound by their budgets that they can’t fund the uniquely local events in their areas.
The smoke-free policy has singled out South Auckland as a priority area, with the goal of cutting the number of smokers aged 15 and over down to 3 per cent.
The current rate is 20.5 per cent.
It is not a legally enforceable smoking ban but relies on public pressure to stamp out smoking in designated areas.