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Friday, 16 April 2010

COSTLY PIPERS AND SUGAR-DADDIES

Those who lust after millions of dollars from Auckland--far above the $16-million-plus that is collected on the island, are overlooking the simple arithmetic of a big, nasty problem.

A couple of years ago the Waiheke Community Board was briefed by a senior bean-counter in Auckland City Council who laid out the plain facts--every dollar spent on capital works here adds 14 cents to the operating expenditure every year, forever afterwards.

That means that for every $7 million pumped in by Auckland there has to be an extra $1 million added to the rates forever (plus inflation).

Obviously the only way that iniquitous situation can be sustained is by being increasingly dependent on Auckland's handouts. Thus we fall into the aid-dependency trap. And the loss-of-local-democracy trap, because he who pays the piper calls the tune.

Greed for someone else's money destroys self-determination. It cripples local decision-making and action. When we accept Auckland's money we also must accept its control of our community.

The problem with a Sugar-daddy is that sooner or later he wants his pound of sweetened flesh. He is like the wicked witch in Hansel and Gretel. He is not feeding us for our best nourishment, he is bent on making us tasty for his own dinner-table.

The argument by those who lust for Auckland's dollars--that we deserve Auckland's money because Aucklanders come here on holiday--is specious claptrap. First the ones with baches here are paying rates here--which is a third of ratepayers--so there is a solid contribution, but from insiders not outsiders, people who have a true commitment here. Second, it is nonsense to expect a portion of Auckland's rates to follow Aucklanders wherever they go on holiday. Tell that to Ruapehu, to Whangamata, to Bali, to Fiji, to Surfer's Paradise, to London, to Timbuktu. We no more deserve a portion of Auckland's rates than we do of Shanghai's, on the grounds that many Chinese come here.

A tourist destination that does that not stand on its own two feet, instead choosing to stand on someone else's, cannot complain when the other feet take it where it does not want to go.

On top of all that is what should be obvious, that using the rates collected from one group of ratepayers to better the lot of other ratepayers, above or far above what the others could afford to do for themselves, or in natural justice justify, is also a breach of the Bill of Rights Act, especially when you do not have a mandate from the group that was robbed. But never let good law get in the way of yet another example of brain-damaged ideological 'policy'.