The message from Mayor Brown’s latest budget to the Waiheke Local Board over spending on a school pool is ‘you’re on your own’. This leaves Board Chair Walden with egg all over his face after bragging the Mayor ‘promised’ him he’d back a swimming pool for Waiheke and touting this all over his propaganda sheet, the Gulf News. Reality must now have sunk in following yesterday’s mayoral budget details in the Herald.
Plans for new libraries, pools and playing fields face budget axe or deferral but CBD rail link stays on track.
Tell that to Waiheke ratepayers Len. We're facing a rates increase of over 6% this year alone.
The looming cuts come after four years of big spending from Mr Brown, who doubles as City Treasurer. Debt has increased by 87 per cent from $3.9 billion to $7.3 billion and households have received cumulative rates increases of up to 38 per cent.
Thank goodness the former local board made a new library a reality for Waiheke so we have one big gain from amalgamation. Clever management by Faye Storer and Don McKenzie in particular made that promise possible with the region, rather than the Waiheke ratepayer, picking up the tab. They knew how to get the most out of Council.
As I’ve been saying since the beginning of the school pool fiasco this is going to be a Waiheke Local Board only venture. For a local board to go it alone to build, maintain and operate a school pool will drag every cent from their budgets. The biggest winners will be their own children. The biggest losers will be the environment, tourism and the community. These bunnies will bankrupt Waiheke forever.