Column: The Cash Cow Diet

July 1, 2013 by  
Filed under Blog

Rob Thomas HeadshotPonsonby News – July 2013 edition – By Rob Thomas – Candidate for Waitemata & Gulf Councillor:

THE CASH COW DIET
Auckland Council will be posting out the 2013-2014 rates bills this month which will include an average rate increase of 2.9% across the region. For most property owners in our community, myself included, we are likely to be hit with another harrowing 10% cap on our rates bill as we come to the final year of the regional rates equalisation. However, I was shocked to read in the 2011-2012 Annual Report that the total Auckland Council Group’s debt had gone from $6 billion to $7 billion. So, if you are one of the 514,000 Aucklanders that pay rates we share in the debt of over $14,000 per person.

The Auckland Council has been able to grow debt levels as it continues to borrow against its guaranteed income. According to the Council’s Draft Long-term Plan for 2012 -2022, it proposes to increase debt as a percentage of total revenue from 175% to 275%.

Simply put, if you had a guaranteed cash cow would you borrow against it to deliver what you want now or take a more cautious approach and save for the future? The Auckland Council must live within its means and have a fixed debt ceiling that balances out the need of our community today and for the next generation.

RED, BLUE, GREEN, INDEPENDENT– HOW LOCAL GOVERNMENT AFFECTS YOU

Being aligned to a central government party should not determine who you vote for in local government elections.

Central Government and Auckland Local Government are in loggerheads over the future of Auckland’s transport. This election we need a strong independent Councillor that can work across the political spectrum, working with the next Mayor of Auckland and Central Government to deliver a reliable and appropriate transport plan for Auckland. In fact being an independent is a blessing because you are not predetermined by your decision, you can work with the community and avoid towing the party line.

Waitemata needs a champion who passionately understands that great cities have a vibrant and growing heart. We need a Councillor that represents the dynamic and changing face of the Waitemata. As the only independently elected member on the Waitemata Local Board I have proven that you can be influential and effective without hammering colours to a wooden post.

The Waitemata ward has a population of around 72,000 individuals and employs 70 per cent of these residents. This highlights the importance of voting for Local Board Members and Councillors that reflect community experience, knowledge, age, ethnicity and diversity of opinion. There are many issues across our inner-city community that include parking, public transport, heritage and character protection, supporting business districts and sewage on beaches.

With current local government voting statistics sitting around just 40 per cent, local residents and community associations need to be adequately informed about the upcoming elections and how their vote can bring about constructive change

Nominations for local government elections open on Friday 19th July and I will be standing as your strong independent Councillor for the Waitemata & Gulf Ward.

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