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Wednesday, 20 February 2008

ON TO THE LAWN NOT INTO THE FIRE

Those who think that going from Auckland to Thames-Coromandel would be out of the frying-pan into the fire are wrong. I agree that we must be careful. It has to be out of the frying-pan on to the lawn or nothing. But the Local Government Commission, in law, puts getting good local government at the top of its list, so the rigorous process is aimed at that. And I shall make sure, in my role in this, that that is what happens. I love this island, I don't want it go from bad to worse. Thames-Coromandel will not be perfect, just much better than Auckland.

Comparing rates bills is not comparing apples with apples because of Thames-Coromandel's targeted rates aimed at specific projects in specific areas. For instance, one area wanted a swimming-pool. So the council put in a targeted rate, just for that project, in just that area, based on improved value so that the cost was spread to match income. Other areas were not affected. Our costs would be ours, not theirs.

The argument in another article, which claimed that the 1000 commuters who travel to Auckland each day links us inextricably to Auckland, or as some say makes us a suburb, is spurious, because that leaves 6689 who don't commute. They stay here. A hefty majority. The 1000 is only 13%. So an argument based on the vote-with-our-feet is won by the island, not the city.

The same goes for the argument that we are tied to Auckland's economy and therefore have to be in it politically. Auckland's economic engine is important to the entire country, but that certainly does not make New Zealand subservient to Auckland or an Auckland suburb.