Te Awamutu Courier - 2021-07-22


Buying off councils


So, the Government wants to spend a few billion to “buy off” the councils so they will play ball with the Government. The total assets that councils (on behalf and paid for by the ratepayers) is tagged as a whopping $120 billion. I applaud those councils who do know that their systems are working okay and do not want to play ball with the proposal, ie. Whanga¯ rei. Ratepayers do have to understand that they paid for all assets and on their behalf councils do not sell assets like at a garage sale. Interesting times ahead. The response on the LTP clearly showed that council decided what they wanted, no surprise there. What bothers me and should bother all is that council is going to sell $11 million worth of assets to pay for the Memorial Park and Lake Te Ko Utu. Quote: ” The assets that will be sold to fund the project have not been established yet. Council is currently developing a property strategy and anticipates this will inform the sale of assets.” What I would like to know is the following: What assets are there to be sold? Where did the money come from to acquire these assets? How long have these assets been in council’s (or should I say “ratepayers” possession?) Why have these assets been bought in the first place? Council’s core services certainly should not include buying and selling property? If these assets have been in the books for a while, why were they not looked at to sell earlier to offset rates? I believe that if council has (on our behalf) $11 million of assets to be sold that the ratepayers are entitled to know answers on the above. After all, council should be transparent? Bernard Westerbaan


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