A tale of two Auck­land cities and their dif­fer­ences

Central Leader - - NEWS -

John Blakey is an­gry. Here’s why:

‘‘We have two houses in Auck­land, one in Stone­fields and one in North­ern Rod­ney at Ti Point.

‘‘They are both very sim­i­lar in size, have three bed­rooms, sim­i­lar liv­ing space with the Stone­fields house hav­ing the lux­ury of an en­suite as well as a bath­room.

‘‘The Ti Point house has a pleas­ant view of a ti­dal har­bour. The rates for the two prop­er­ties are very sim­i­lar (within $50). The sim­i­lar­i­ties stop there.

‘‘The Stone­fields prop­erty has: Sealed roads. Foot­paths. A bus stop 200 me­tres from the front door. A train sta­tion 10 min­utes walk away. A li­brary three min­utes drive away. Free rub­bish col­lec­tion. Sev­eral play­grounds in quick walk­ing dis­tance. A swim­ming pool rea­son­ably close by. Oh, and one takes for granted the run­ning wa­ter and sew­er­age sys­tem.

‘‘In fact, we are well served for our rates and can eas­ily par­tic­i­pate in the life of the city if we choose. I be­lieve 100 per cent of my rates are spent in the wider ur­ban area that we are part of. There are plans to im­prove ameni­ties in the area through the lo­cal board.

‘‘The Ti Point prop­erty, by comparison, has:

‘‘An un­sealed and un­kempt road (no grader this year and usu­ally many pot­holes). No foot­paths. No wa­ter or sew­er­age sys­tem. Dust cre­ated by vis­it­ing ur­ban Auck­lan­ders trav­el­ling to a num­ber of re­cre­ational ac­tiv­i­ties in our area con­tam­i­nates our tank wa­ter and iron­i­cally if the Ti Point Rd was not used so heav­ily over sum­mer by ur­ban Auck­lan­ders we would not need the seal. No pub­lic trans­port that could be used for com­mut­ing to work.

‘‘A li­brary is 20 min­utes drive away. No swim­ming pool in the area. A pay per bag rub­bish col­lec­tion. The re­serve at the end of the road – used by pic­nick­ers from Auck­land – is no longer cared for. A large pro­por­tion of the rates col­lected in the re­gion are spent else­where (I’m told but can’t sub­stan­ti­ate). The old Rod­ney coun­cil man­aged a mod­est road seal­ing pro­gramme of ap­prox­i­mately 10 kilo­me­tres a year. The su­per-city man­aged a fat zero. There’s no plan for fix­ing the in­fra­struc­ture deficit.

‘‘The mayor asks us to be pa­tient. I can be pa­tient if there is a plan. I can ac­cept over in­vest­ment in key projects in other ar­eas if there is a fi­nal plan for over­in­vest­ment in my area in ne­ces­si­ties like roads and drains.

‘‘It’s im­por­tant to say that I was un­con­cerned about my roads, foot­paths and the other in­con­ve­niences that went with semi-ru­ral liv­ing. It was a life­style we chose. That was un­til our rates went up by more than 100 per cent. I’m an­gry now and feel we are fast be­com­ing the Third World of Len’ s su­percity.

‘‘The white wa­ter raft­ing cen­tre equates to 40 kilo­me­tres of sealed roads, the gift to the wealthy Angli­can church equated to 18km of sealed road, the money wasted by ATEED (Auck­land Tourism Events and Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Ltd) would quickly get us to another 30 or 40km a year.

‘‘The money spent by coun­cil du­pli­cat­ing cen­tral govern­ment re­spon­si­bil­i­ties would also help.

‘‘They have choices. They choose to di­vert our rates to their other projects, they choose not to put us in the plan. mIn North­ern Rod­ney the glass is not half full. It’s empty.’’

Let­ters emailed to me in the past few months may have been lost to a tech­ni­cal glitch. Please try again at pat.booth@fair­fax­me­dia.co. nz.

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