Our team lawyer, Andrea wants to improve council management, transparency, and accountability.
POSITIVE CHANGE for HAMILTON
My principal place of residence is the Hamilton East Ward.
Having moved to Hamilton in 1986, I have watched with dismay the increasing burden placed on ratepayers and residents by rates increases. With average rates forecast to balloon to over $4200 because of the 10-year plan, and debt planned to increase to over $750 million, meaning debt repayment taking the place of regular service,
I decided to join Team Integrity and be part of the changes needed to improve transparency around how our rates are spent.
We need to know a lot more about how Council decides to spend the money we give them, and why Council thinks it needs so much money to provide the core and non-core services we expect to receive.
Vote Team Integrity for positive change, sound democracy, decision transparency and real accountability – the least you are owed as residents and ratepayers.
MY VISION for HAMILTON
What’s your vision for Hamilton?
My vision is for a city that has control over its spending. A city where council spends ratepayers’ and residents’ money efficiently. When I read that less than 30% of Hamiltonians have confidence in Council decision making, and rates are forecast to increase by 54% in the ten-year plan, with debt increasing to ¾ of a billion dollars, it became clear to me that something has to change. I will help make the changes which will make Hamilton more affordable and liveable.
What do you think is key for managing our city’s growth?
There is only one answer to this question, and that is managing the spending of the rates that we are all required to pay, be it through rates or rent. There is not a revenue problem, but a spending issue. The council’s pre-election document states Hamilton city population will grow around 11% between 2018 and 2028, or just 1.1% a year. In people terms that is around 18,300 people, or 6800 new households, yet debt levels are forecast to rise in that same period to over ¾ of a billion dollars; an increase of 97%. Can this be right?
What’s the one thing you’d do differently that would make Hamilton an even better place to live?
Easy – as a member of Team Integrity I will work to bring revenue and spending back into balance. I will ensure independent cost benefit analyses are undertaken and people are held accountable for their decisions. For example, I will not allow reports such as the one justifying Claudelands to go unchallenged. That report stated that it would make significant yearly profits and that it would bring almost three times the number of large conference delegates to the city than Wellington achieves every year. Instead, the Ratepayer has to fund losses which amounted to tens of millions of dollars (https://www.stuff.co.nz/waikato-times/news/72711520/).
What’s the biggest technology opportunity Hamilton is missing and how can we make it happen?
From a residents’ and ratepayers’ perspective, more information should be made available from the Council to those living in Hamilton. Councillors should also have technology working for them, rather than the other way around, and get access to the paperwork concerning decisions they need to vote on well before meetings. In short, technology can work to make for better governance, accountability, transparency and integrity.
How do you think we can get more people interested and engaged in Council?
LISTEN to the people who pay the bills. Right now, people are engaging less and less because they consider there is no point. If time and again the majority of submissions appear to be ignored, then people have to think that Council undertakes pointless consultation processes. Almost two out of three submissions regarding the new Theatre opposed the current proposal, but the Council still gave the project $25m; the majority of submitters opposed rate rises but we face average rate rises of 54% in the 10- year plan; and the majority opposed free CBD parking.
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