Ratepayers protesting about the amount and concept of rates fail to understand the system. ‘‘Rates’’ are a euphemism for land tax.
The number of people in a house is irrelevant. The income of ratepayers is almost irrelevant.
Even if there is no house, services rates still apply.
As rural householders will confirm, rates have nothing to do with services provided other than an unsealed road as access to their property.
The reason this inequity survives is because of the simplicity of raising funds. Property is readily identifiable and valuations every three years gives a new base to calculate higher rates.
Why would politicians, national and local, want to change this? The alternative would involve a system whereby all contribute through taxation and funds then distributed to councils according to population, as happens in Australia with GST and the states. Too hard? I think so. projects already budgeted for, such as sports field upgrades elsewhere.
In particular, as the current aquatic centre in Mt Albert will need to move within 5 to 10 years, it would be misleading to include the cost in any consideration of the cost of developing the park for wider uses.
Auckland Council will be building a new aquatic centre regardless. Securing a site in Chamberlain Park gives local people some hope of retaining the replacement pool in the Mt Albert area. Others in nearby areas have been lobbying concertedly to have the pool built elsewhere.
The current repairs give the existing pool a limited lease of life, and avoid the need to close the pool altogether for an extended period whilst a replacement is sited, planned and built.
The nature of master planning needs to be clear. It is at heart an aspirational planning exercise. It provides a basis for further, more detailed planning in the future, when costs are closely considered. Thus, many master plans are completed without any costings at all.
There is no fixed programme of spending involved, and most of the spending will have to be justified in terms of the council’s priorities at some future point, within the overall budget. An example would be artificial surfaces for sports fields.
The point of master planning for Chamberlain Park is to provide for the future needs of local people. There will be a great deal of population growth in the surrounding area, and facilities such as sports fields are already in short supply. Not to have considered the best use of the open space available would be irresponsible in my view.