INDEPENDENT NEWS

Transport Package Contains Little Ratepayer Relief

Published: Fri 12 Dec 2003 01:27 PM
Transport Package Contains Little Relief For Ratepayers
More Powers For Arc Will Cause Real Alarm
While additional funding from the National transport Fund is certainly welcomed, it seems to come at the cost of giving significantly greater power to the Auckland regional Council.
Ratepayers throughout the region will be alarmed that the very organisation which made such a mess of its rating policies this year is now to be put in absolute control of spending and development of public transport and the regions roading programme.
Infrastructure Auckland will surrender its stewardship of regional assets back to their former home in the regional authority from which they were stripped in the early 1990s.
Many ratepayers will recall the spendthrift approach of the old Auckland Regional Authority - and will be watching for signs of empire building by the ARC as it assumes its greatly enhanced powers.
The Government has made it clear that the proposals are a total package - in effect holding a gun to the heads of local councils in the region - accept that the ARC is being returned to its former glory or you don't get the money.
The proposals will also mean that rates will remain as a significant part of transport funding.
While additional funding is being made available to develop the public transport system it is painfully clear that rates revenue will be needed to maintain new capital infrastructure and new services.
Next year could well see substantial increases in both local and regional rates.
While the ARC may well be congratulating itself on gaining these new powers it must now face up to the problems it will have in setting its rating policy next year.

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