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4. Funding Rate Decreases & 'Pet' Projects

The manner which all the 'pet' projects, including Whitianga Town Centre Upgrade, the new sports facilities (including Zoom Zone in Thames, and the grandstand etc. for Whitianga, community centre at Pauanui and swimming pool and skate park at Thames have been funded, while reducing rates is by the expedient of delaying what were previously regarded as 'essential' capital works items.

Static development means certain works can be delayed, but one would have to question (as I have done on several occasions in the past) the delays to stormwater in particular - there are safety issues involved that should concern rural residents in particular, but town stormwater projects are also important in preserving other infrastructure, and human life. This Council must have considered these issues when making what appears to have been decisions based on expediency.  

The sheer volume of work postponed can be gauged by the reduction in capital works between the years of 2012/13 to the year 2018/19 - the only ones that we can compare from the Annual Plan alteration approved by the previous Council for 2010/11.

The total capital works approved in 2010 for 2012/13 to 2018/19 were $558,599,000

The total capital works proposed in 2012 for 2012/13 to 2018/19 is $478,063,000 (14.4% decrease)

Of this, the total amount for Stormwater for the same period in 2010 was $26,063,000

The total amount proposed for Stormwater for the same period in 2012 is $18,716,000 (26% decrease)

The total amount for for Wastewater for the same period in 2010 was $162,045,000

The total amount proposed for wastewater for the same period in 2012 is 104,929,000 (36% decrease)

In other words, not only the current rate decrease, but future rates are held artificially by means of postponing capital works, and at the same time, all the 'pet' projects are funded. There is nothing wrong with adjusting Councils activities as long as everyone is aware of just what is happening. The document does not make these adjustments clear, and in fact goes to some trouble to disguise them.

The substantial wastewater reduction appears due to the removal of the Thames wastewater replacement project from the TYP - a review of the need for this project was undertaken by the previous Council, and it indicated no need for renewal for up to 40 years, so there no way that credit can be claimed in that regard. Just why this is not clearly explained remains a mystery. Extension of the Eastern Seaboard plants has also been pushed out to 20121/22, and so they should in view of the new growth projections.  




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