Waitakere Grey Power

MY COMMENTS ON MEETING 29 March 2017

RATES

My concern is that rates have grown at a rapid rate in recent years. For me, I have no mortgage on my own home, but there are a number of superannuitants who do have mortgages, have lived in the same home most of their lives, have contributed to their local community and are faced with rapidly increasing valuations that consequently affect their rates. On 1 April National Superannuation will increase by 1.5%. That should help! Of even more concern should be the growing debt which one day must be repaid. At 30 June 2016 AC’s official debt was $7.6b. Forecast is $11.6b for 2024/25. That’s a faster growth rate than the projected population growth rate. If you intend being on this planet for the next 20 years you should be gravely concerned. Too often we hear the cry “Oh well if you can’t afford to live here you should sell up and go and live in a place you can afford.” —Totally unacceptable. It’s high time to revisit the suggestion put forward by Grey Power many years ago and often espoused by Don Chapman. Scrap rates as the major source of income for Councils, increase the GST, and out of that force Central Government to allocate adequate funding to Councils to cover both operating costs and infrastructure.

TE ATATU RD

This project has been a shambles. Initially planned to commence in 2013 and be completed in 2014, we’re now told hopefully mid-2017. Again elderly people have been taken for granted and disadvantaged. In one case an elderly couple received an offer of $3000 for their land. They were pressured to accept. Meanwhile for a piece of land of comparable size shared by 6 people they were offered $3000 each. One of them contested this and was offered an extra $500 for their share. Consequently the other 5 were offered an extra $500 each. This brought the total to $21000 (seven times that accepted by the elderly couple under duress.) Vehicle access to properties has been an ongoing problem with driveways often blocked for days without prior notice. Also there has been inaccurate advice re road closures. Under the Public Works Act there is no provision for loss of earnings or inconvenience. In December 2013 I put out a paper on the Public Works Act copies of which were submitted to my two local MPs Phil Twyford and Alfred Ngaro. The Act is an anachronism in urgent need of revision.

SPEAKING RIGHTS

In 2012, unbeknown to me or elected representatives, the Chief Executive of Auckland Council gave a directive blocking all my emails to elected representatives. This lasted until I discovered it quite by chance 10 months later. After initial denial by the CE that anyone’s emails had been blocked, he said 3 people were being “case managed.” Council commissioned a report by Ernst and Young at a cost of $55000 that talked about unreasonable customer conduct. In March 2013 my emails were reinstated. Then in 2016 I put in a LGOIMA request re salaries of elected members. Concerned I was being mucked around every time I rang the Call Centre I complained to the Chief Executive, Stephen Town. Rather than address the complaint he made a number of allegations against me that he has since refused to retract or substantiate. On the basis of those allegations he deemed me to be a UCC and told me all future calls and emails were to go to one person. I have put complaints into the Ombudsman in Oct 2016 and then to the Privacy Commissioner. Last week the Privacy Commissioner’s office rang and said they were not satisfied with Council’s response and have sought further information. I rang the Ombudsman’s office and was told I would have to be patient. Council’s UCC Policy calls for six monthly reviews. On Friday I emailed my sole Council contact to find out what had happened re the six-monthly review. Yesterday she rang me to say their legal team is handling it and will be another couple of weeks. Is it any wonder our rates are so high? In November last year I applied to speak at the Council meeting on 15 December. Phil Goff denied me that right on the basis of the “nature tone and volume of your historical communications to Auckland Council.” What a great way to start a new term.

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