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Saturday, 29 November 2008

OUTRAGEOUSLY EXPENSIVE DISTRICT PLAN

Auckland's habit trying to force what it wants down the throats of the islands created an expensive problem when it launched the Proposed District Plan for the Hauraki Gulf Islands. The thing was called a dog's breakfast, although it is a moot point whether any self-respecting dog would have come anywhere near it for any meal, even if starving. It was badly conceived, badly written, and insensitive to the islands.

It soon faced 4000 submissions from the 8628 islanders. It dealt to swathes of them simply by crossing them out--true democracy, that--but the long-running hearings for what was left did not finish till November 2008. The cost was huge, as figures gained under the Local Government Official Information Act show. For Great Barrier alone the expenditures for 2005/2006 to 2007/2008 were $226,585, $192,669 and $251,012, a total of $670,266, 9.2% of the total council income over those years. On an island of 852 residents it works out at $787 per head. On Waiheke the costs were $896,000, $856,000 and $581,243 in the same three years ($1,135,093 had been budgeted for 2007/2008), a total of $2,333,243, or $306.92 per head. Even tiny Rakino, with a permanent population of only 12, paid out $25,554 in 2006/2007, which was 12.47% of the council's income for the island that year. That all comes to an outrageous $3,029,063, or $351.07 per head over all the islands. But it is not over yet. The hearing committee now has to deliberate until its ruling comes out next April.

To put that in perspective, if isthmus Auckland had gone through the same process and had had the same relativities there would have been been 183,600 submissions from its 396,030 residents, and the whole process would have cost a staggering $139 million.

Auckland's incompetence and poor governance created that problem. The ratepayers paid for it. Again.