Riding roughshod over Rodney

By: Julie Cotton

Is it just me or do others get the feeling Auckland Council is making voodoo dolls of Northern Rodney and sticking the pins right in? It’s certainly going to become very expensive to live in our neck of the woods. Tax upon tax upon tax. I had to laugh when the Mayor came out in a Herald editorial recently doing the big “sell” for the fuel tax. He claimed that the tax for all Aucklanders was “fair” because basically the citizens that used the most fuel were generally using the most infrastructure! So sorry Your Excellency, but your argument has got more holes in it than one of my lace tablecloths. And here’s why: the average Aucklander travels around 9000km per year to carry out their basic day-to-day life. Someone like me, on the other hand, travels around 50,000km per year. Goodness me, even with a set of glasses on, I can’t see a lot of infrastructure around here.

Would the Mayor and our elected representatives care to explain this flawed rational to all the low income families who have been shoved out of the city due to housing affordability, and why it is they see fit to punish these people with the bulk of the fuel tax burden, along with a toll, when they have zilch other options other than to drive? And just when mum and dad thought they could still scrape together a few little luxuries for the kiddies in the shopping trolley – boom! – in comes central government to rip it out with their greedy little fuel tax.

Figures obtained by Councillor Sayers last year revealed that the lion’s share of rates in Rodney were being paid by the rural communities. These are the communities with the least and also the ones who have suffered through decades of targeted rates that never hit the target. So why are some members of the Local Board puffing their chests out like roosters and demanding we have another targeted rate?

Listen here you big bullies, the mandate at the last election was for Council  in-house cost savings, so may I suggest that instead of taking the cheats way out and taxing the guts out of your hard-working citizens, perhaps you could put the “screws” on Auckland Council to tighten its own family belt. Trust me, fancy statues on the waterfront don’t put food on people’s plates or seal roads. Targeted rates are like Band Aids on infectious diseases, put there only to appease the patient. The disease always spreads and a cure is never found.

This is 2018, and there are no longer any justifiable grounds to kick minority groups to the kerb or place greedy wants in front of basic needs. Through waste and mismanagement, local government politics now firmly sits on the dinner plates of every working-class family.

As a writer, I am starting to hear unprecedented levels of community opinion on local government policies, and only a foolish politician would not recognise that it is us who hold the balance of power and the cheque book from which their wages are paid.

Julie Cotton


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