Both Waiheke and Great Barrier Islands have been net beneficiaries (more money spent by Council than taken in rates) of both Auckland City Council and now Auckland Council. A researcher has told me that over the last ten years Waiheke has had $1.10 spent on island for every dollar taken in rates.
This will make it very difficult for the isolationist faction of Waiheke (OW) to argue they have been hard done by as a part of the Supercity. It also seems more than a little ungrateful of Local Board members to be biting the hand that is feeding us so well. Wexit is a very high risk strategy as some locals are beginning to comprehend.
This is the conclusion of some of more informed citizens who have been introducing an element of sanity into the debate by demolishing the naïve ‘budget’ released by OW.
In essence it means as ratepayers we each move from a position of low risk in the world of local government to a position of high risk (Don Cowie)
The so-called proposed budget is more than likely a case of massaging figures to arrive at the desired outcome.
The OW proposal is either breathtaking ignorant of the realities or deliberately designed to mislead. Take just one example. The OW proposal says they want to be a ‘Unitary’ Authority and then compares Waiheke with various District Councils. If they want to be a Unitary Authority then they must compare themselves with the five Unitary Councils around the country.
‘Unitary’ Authorities have all the responsibilities of ‘District’ Councils plus all the functions and responsibilities of Regional Councils – think Auckland Council. This is an amalgamation of seven city councils plus the Auckland Regional Council.
Here are some of the extra costs involved in taking on ‘regional’ responsibilities:
- Managing the effects of using freshwater, land, air and coastal waters, by developing regional policy statements and the issuing of consents.
- Managing rivers, mitigating soil erosion and flood control.
- Regional emergency management and civil defence preparedness.
- Regional land transport planning and contracting passenger services.
- Harbour navigation and safety, oil spills and other marine pollution.
Each and every one of these is a significant cost centre running into millions of dollars.
Imagine the risks involved for Waiheke residents if they become liable for cleaning up an ‘oil spill or other marine pollution’ within their Hauraki Gulf boundaries. Imagine the risks they would be incurring in a full blown civil defence emergency.
Each householder will be putting their homes on the line.
OW is a very high risk enterprise with no way back. Ask the residents of Mangawhai and Kaipara what the failed high risk strategy of their local Council has cost them.
Oh, and by the way, once Auckland and Waiheke rates are compared with other Unitary Authorities our rates are around average.