Aucklanders are ‘Browned off’
That lineup of the not-so-supercity’s councillors must be stone deaf and have their hearing aids turned off if they can’t hear the growing growl of angry, bewildered ratepayers who feel like victims of a con job.
Promised before they voted that rates would not rise beyond 2.5 per cent, the council’s victims are now living in dread of perhaps twice that.
Then there’s that parade of council ill-judged decisions later rejigged, floated and then scrapped, or simply disappeared without the fanfare, smoke and flashing lights they were announced in.
Perhaps the mayor and councillors spend too much time dreaming about their ambitions of a buried train set.
Maybe they think that digging for those underground lines will also bury some of the totally justified slagging off they seem reluctant to hear or give any weight to.
Typical quotes from letters in my mailbag – from Orewa to St Johns, Titirangi to St Heliers and Bucklands Beach – all of them published in full would have filled three pages of this newspaper:
‘‘How ironic that it’s not only becoming fiscally impossible for many to live in Len’s ‘most liveable’ city – the council must make it more expensive to die here too.
‘‘The council’s Department of Irritating Nonsense (a growing body unnecessarily focused on things of little importance like crumbling chimneys and old roofs that do no harm) now feels the need to impose fees and increase costs for Auckland ratepayers even after we die.
‘‘Presumably to raise spirits over this rort, the council chirpily points out that under a new regime, affecting burial plots and scattering of ashes, it would be cheaper than it used to be to bury a child. That’s comforting.
‘‘I sincerely hope that my descendants will ensure that my ashes are scattered close enough to an open window of the council chambers so that they may gently waft inside and get up their noses.
‘‘It would only be fair to return the favour after all these years.’’ – Carmel Claridge, St Johns
‘‘If the council is going to insist that all galvanised and copper roofs be painted to stop metal elements leaching into water ways, why stop there?
‘‘Maybe all roofs will need to be painted white to reflect the sun and reduce global warming?’’ – Max Jackson, St Heliers
‘‘What an impressive column on Noosa and the debacle of its forced amalgamation with other councils on the Australian Sunshine Coast.
‘‘We lived in Noosa during the whole episode and listened to all the arguments about efficiencies and cost savings and can verify the facts you outlined.
‘‘The Noosa situation is a great example of ‘bigger is not better’ and one hopes that eventually, Aucklanders will see the light and – given the chance – will deamalgamate.
‘‘Please keep on pushing for that to happen.’’ – Ian Williamson, Bucklands Beach
‘‘So you got our attention but where do we start?
‘‘Please, no big spending Bob Harveys this time, no castle builders, just ordinary folk who still have a bit of commonsense left. If there are any still out there.’’ – Aidan Crabtree, Titirangi
‘‘The super-city is a weird structure in which the mayor and 20 elected councillors have to ‘joust’ with seven council controlled organisations they seem to have no control of and a phalanx of unelected bureaucrats.
‘‘As portrayed on TV in the brilliant Yes Minister, the latter can have too much control. It’s highly questionable democracy.
‘‘District councils were a manageable size. They were locally aware, far more effective in their communities than the Auckland monster. The amalgamation twaddle was foisted upon us without any checks and balances to measure its success.
‘‘Hopefully, one day we shall return to an appropriate governance model that publishes its aims, targets, result and failures. Then, ratepayers can judge performance and vote accordingly.
‘‘A lot of Aucklanders are very Browned off.’’ – John Clements, Orewa Beach
Not so super: ‘‘The amalgamation twaddle was foisted upon us without any checks and balances to measure its success.’’