Her Worship the mayor Vanessa van Uden exhorts us, the citizens, to read the Annual Plan and debate the issues.
I was fascinated to read an extraordinary eulogy to her predecessor Clive Geddes whom she praised alongside Queenstown Lakes District Council finance boss Stewart Burns, staff and councillors for starting the budget slashing.
Rather analogous to praising Hitler for topping himself after the holocaust.
The fact is we the ratepayers can praise only the Auditor-General for in 2009 directing the council to clean up their act.
My study of the council’s spending and debt financing identifies the Geddes era circa 2002-2009 as the most profligate and wasteful period in the past half century – and yes, if challenged, I can produce proof.
But candidly, Your Worship, you must have experienced a bad hair day to have vapourised all your protests as a councillor against unparalleled exploitation of council funds whilst costly consultants drew up grandiose plans in the 2002-2009 period.
Evidently ratepayers, having coughed up to meet the extravagance of the past mob, are now expected to praise those who took council’s debt from $20 million in 2001 to $140m in 2009 – give us a break.
But the job’s not done yet, certainly not to my mind.
Despite my submissions on Annual Plans regarding staff levels at council, Lakes Leisure and Lakes Environmental, I have been left clueless. No answers are forthcoming. No acknowledgement forthcoming.
Is there a sinking lid policy?
How many seat warmers are there?
Am I alone in thinking we have an over-fat bureaucracy?
Why is it that there is not a skerrick of evidence that a long overdue review of staff numbers has taken place? The Annual Report is bereft of information on this issue.
My guess is that our elected representatives haven’t got the bottle to front the issue.
With the district’s economic activity quite flat and certainly far from combustible, staff numbers remain far too high and action is required.
With the Five Mile or “Hendo’s Hole” growing weeds, Kawarau Falls quarry in limbo, Jack’s Point gallantly surviving and a quarter of a billion dollars of projected council expenditure put on the back burner – what are the minions at City Hall doing? Sitting on their fandangos I imagine.
They were obscenely gung-ho till the Auditor-General gave the message to pull their heads in and stop haemorrhaging council’s assets.
Warren Cooper is a former Queenstown mayor and National cabinet minister
There are no comments on this article.
Have your say
You will need to register or login before you can post a comment.