Cr Tracy Mulholland
I could not support the recent annual budget rates increase; we are already facing a challenging time and council does need to do more to save costs. The most talked about item was the climate action targeted rate. Funds from the rate are to be ringfenced to support projects that help reduce our impact on climate change. This was a hard balancing exercise between increasing costs to ratepayers and investing in future initiatives.
Despite a 3.5% rates hike, there is still $230 million in capital deferrals, this will hurt our community facilities. The community pool planned in the Whau ward deferred just like that, despite it being talked about in the long-term plan and the opportunities I put forward seemingly ignored.
I do not support Three Waters reform: Despite on-going opposition to Three Waters reforms, the proposal put us in a “fire sale scenario”, where just to balance our budget, we are having to go cap in hand to the government asking to draw down the better off payment. I hope this is not a poisoned chalice that we have committed our future council to. Our community needs to be heard. I have had hundreds of emails from unhappy residents and ratepayers who want to have a referendum and be listened to by government.
As deputy chair of the Value for Money committee, I want to highlight some of the council savings achieved:
Council continues to work through the challenges of the government’s urban development (note: Government’s ruling, not Council) and housing intensification reforms. Qualifying matters continue to be a point of debate. Much of the robust discussion relates to the practicality of the intensification, infrastructure, and service provisions including emergency service provisions.
I have given years of advocacy and support to see the completion of some major infrastructure projects in the area. The New Lynn to Avondale shared path opening, which has many local benefits.
A major local project that I have consistently supported is the Wolverton culverts, a multimillion dollar upgrade of our stormwater system, improving network resistance to the impact of severe flooding events in the area.
I continue to be available to discuss constituent queries and concerns. I am always keen to hear your views on items before council committees, as this is a vital part of shaping which way to vote.