Howick and Pakuranga Times
Botany and Ormiston Times : Howick and Botany Times Wednesday November 13
10 — Howick and Botany Times, Wednesday, November 13, 2013 www.times.co.nz ✓New Zealand Made ✓10 Ye ar Guarantee ✓Makers of the Wo rld’s No. 1 Selling Bed ✓Orthopaedically Designed STOREWIDE STOREWIDE SWEEPOUT STOREWIDE SWEEPOUT All stock on sale! STORE NAME Full address and store contact/opening hours STORE NAME Full address and store contact/opening hours J142337 Bedpost November A4_Press Ad.indd 1 21/10/13 4:43 PM 451 Ti Rakau Dr, The Hub Botany Downs. Ph 273 8088. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Mon-Sat 9am-5.30pm, Sun 10am-5pm. BEDpoST BoTany aT THE HuB 124368 Check out the COMPETITIONS page for lots of great fashion giveaways. 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Anarkali Basmati Rice $34.99 BLUE COW CONDENSED MILK $1.99 20kg bag NANDOS SAUCE $4.99 (Buy 1 pkt and get another free) 1kg pkt tin CUMIN SEEDS $6.99 kg MUSTARD SEEDS $2.99 kg FENUGREEK SEEDS $2.99 kg CHICKPEA FLOUR (BESAN) $2.49 Focusing on super-city’s big issues By Chris Harrowell MAYOR Len Brown says it’s his responsibility under the super-city structure to direct Auckland Coun- cil’s budget and planning process. “I will lead into council all pol- icy and planning decision making around the budgetary process,” he says. “It’s my way of ensuring we’re creating the world’s most liveable city. “We’ve also got the Auckland spa- tial plan, so the budget really needs to line up with our main agreed pri- orities. That’s why the budget has such a formidable transport spend and it’s why there’s significant con- nection with issues, such as build- ing local communities. “It’s the reason why we have a major focus on the central city. “The first transformational shift in the plan is about building a great CBD. “We looked at the process and I thought it was important I lead and chair the budget. “After three years we’ve now got inside the budget and have a real sense of how it’s starting to work. “We’ve got some challenges around our debt levels and deliver- ing the infrastructure we need in an affordable way. “We have significant challenges around managing and seeking alternate funding streams. “I want to achieve a very clear understanding in the community about budget matters. This is about my leadership as reflected in legis- lation that the mayor should lead the budgetary process.” Council-controlled organisations (CCOs) Mr Brown said publicly during the local-body elections last Septem- ber-October he would keep a closer eye on Auckland’s CCOs. The council’s CCO committee has been strengthened with the addition of close financial and per- formance monitoring. “We didn’t review the CCO structure in the first term,” Mr Brown says. “It was critical to let it settle and get a sense of what was working and what wasn’t. “It’s a corporate structure with new employees, new chief execu- tives and board members. “We’ve got two CCOs we’re required to maintain under statute, which are Watercare and Auckland Transport. “The first thing we will do is set up a monitoring committee chaired by [deputy mayor] Penny Hulse. “We will do that in the first three- six months with a full review of the CCO structure, size, scope and its delegations. “We will look at whether we need to move some of the CCOs’ responsibilities back into the coun- cil or some of the council’s into the CCOs. “It’s about delivering the most efficient council services and mak- ing decisions about whether the CCO structure delivers that best and at the best price. “It’s critical we make early deci- sions, but we won’t be tamper- ing with or trying to reflect on the future of Watercare or Auckland Transport, because we can’t.” Property rates Mr Brown says he’s “completely committed” to a property rates increase of 2.5 per cent. “I think in the draft council budget you’ll find me making com- mitments along that line,” he says. (The council will adopt its budget on November 21). “You’ve got to put the rates increase within a framework of much broader economic issues and challenges. We’ve got a growing city and we have clear and obvious challenges around our transport and infrastructure spending, par- ticularly on storm water, which we have to deal with. “We can’t just sit back and post- pone decisions, so the question is how we pay for it. “We’ve got to be really prudent with ratepayers’ money. “We can’t borrow forever. “We’ve got to keep a close eye on debt levels and use borrowing within a framework that the public generally feels comfortable with. “It’s critical we manage it within the given limits and we need to talk generally about issues like rates, particularly with elderly people. “Land and property rates aren’t fair. They don’t impact on people, particularly the elderly, in a fair way. They own their property and have got increasing value in it, but flatline income. It’s unsustainable. Funding government institutions should be based more on afford- ability and connectivity to income. “I want us to have a genuine dis- cussion as to what alternative there might be to rating. “There’s a lot of discussion as to how we sustainably build our city. “Everyone wants something done, but they don’t want to pay for it, don’t want any rates increases and don’t want us to borrow any money. “That is a completely hopeless situation. We need to deal with those challenges within the frame- work of people fully understanding the city and its growth. “There are challenges in provid- ing infrastructure and how we can afford it, but in the meantime rates increases of two-three per cent are where I’ll be.” Uniform Annual General Charge (UAGC) Mr Brown says the uniform annual general charge (UAGC), currently set at $350, is an “equity lever” moving up or down depending on movements in the rating base. “Every year I will be reflecting on the rate of the UAGC,” he says. “If we see significant percentage increases in upper value compared with middle and lower value prop- erties, there is a good argument for moving the UAGC. “We have to base it on prop- erty revaluations and percentage increases, not just dollar value. “We will be watching it and prob- ably won’t make a final decision on the UAGC in this budget until May next year.” Some people are calling on Auck- land Council to raise the UAGC to its maximum legal limit of 30 per cent of rates revenue. That would reduce the large burden currently existing on high value homes in South-East Auckland. Mr Brown says: “We’re sitting at about 17 per cent so we’re at the half way mark of being able to use the full 30 per cent rates limit, so there’s head room. “People argue for 30 per cent, but what do we do after we reach that?” The Times will continue its cov- erage of the interview with Mr Brown next week. AUCKLAND Mayor Len Brown is fully focused on putting the recent past behind him and getting down to the business of building the world’s most liveable city. The super-city’s leader visited the Times last week to discuss a range of subjects, including the council’s budget, the structure of council-controlled organisations (CCOs), property rates and the Uniform Annual General Charge (UAGC).
Howick and Botany Times Wednesday November 6
Howick and Botany Times Wednesday November 20 2013