November 27, 2023
The Tauranga Ratepayers’ Alliance calls on the unelected Commissioners at Tauranga City Council to defer the setting of the Long-Term Plan.
The Long-Term Plan is a very important document setting out all the proposed activities and services provided by council together with how they will be funded over the next 10 years.
It is widely understood Tauranga City Council is rushing the process to ‘lock in’ contracts for ‘non-essential’ capital expenditure due to the possibility of a 2024 elected council changing the extravagant proposals of the commissioners and senior council employees.
Polls indicate the majority of Tauranga Ratepayers believe many of the projects are not required and cannot be afforded by the community. Important core infrastructure needs such as an increase in the water supply are not being addressed. In regard to water, it is believed the commissioners are committing to the outgoing Labour Governments unpopular 3 Waters plan.
Given the uncertainty of the incoming government’s proposals, a responsible council should delay any LTP decisions. Recently the Western Bay Of Plenty District Council “deferred adoption of its Long-term Plan due to a “lack of clear national direction” on core water and transportation services.”
Tauranga Ratepayers’ Alliance calls on Tauranga City Council to also take this prudent, responsible direction.
May 07, 2023
A Curia/Tauranga Ratepayers’ Alliance poll shows that an overwhelming majority of Tauranga residents support holding council elections this year.
May 04, 2023
March 21, 2023
March 17, 2023
So much is happening behind closed doors and too often in Tauranga we ratepayers are the last to hear about it.
April 12, 2022
Thank you for your continued support in the battle to return democracy to Tauranga. We’ve been active in the background and would like to share the latest news.
As some of you may know, members of the steering group joined the Water Users Group and were initial signatories to the High Court action seeking clarification on Nanaia Mahuta’s Three Waters proposal. We did this on behalf of the people of Tauranga, and all the other ratepayers whose councils were duped into ‘consulting’ on this government’s pre-determined path of asset theft. That action is ongoing, we encourage anyone with an interest to sign up for updates.
You might also note that the week after this action was filed Minister Mahuta put the Three Waters proposal into review but did not allow any of the elements including co-governance or asset ownership to be discussed.
As a natural part of our evolution the Tauranga Ratepayers' Alliance was incorporated early in 2022, and will follow on with election of roles, committee members and growing our efforts.
Long-Term Plan and submissions on the Civic Renewal proposal
Some of you will be aware of the Council’s current roadshow, discussing alternative ways to pay for their proposed Civic redevelopment. What they won’t discuss is that there are no guaranteed or even proposed measures of success for the cost of $303 million. Note that the cost is $2000 per person for the population of Tauranga.
The Council material talks about pumping the city and returning the beating heart of Tauranga. What it omits is that most of the new occupants already inhabit the civic precinct and none bring people to the city centre. Council services are online with little reason for humans to interact or visit Council Chambers, the library already exists as a drop-in centre for vagrants while books are moving into the digital space, the Art Gallery gets most of its numbers from bused-in visits by school children… a museum would have the same profile. BayCourt already brings short bursts of visitors and that won’t change with a facelift. None of these functions will change with millions of dollars of brutalist paving.
It reflects that the Commissioners have no business experience and that there are no critical voices in the chamber. For the record, the Tauranga Ratepayers' Alliance is not against a museum for Tauranga, but rather that if it honestly shows the complex and traumatic history of the region it will not draw visitors after the compulsory school visits and will not bring people for repeat and casual visits to a new ‘heart of the city’.
We urge members to feedback their concerns to the ‘consultation’ process: Click here to make a submission.
With the removal of elections for Tauranga we are focusing our major efforts on the return of democracy to Tauranga, ideally in time for October 2022. There are a range of actions.
On the initial appointment of the Commissioners a legal opinion was sought and paid for privately. It outlined some genuine concerns about the statutory basis for the appointment of commissioners. At that time the duration of the term and likely cost meant it was not practical to pursue a court case.
As we speak an updated opinion has been commissioned, funded privately. We expect it will expand on the first. If that is the case, we will seriously consider a formal legal challenge. These exercises are expensive, we will be seeking donations and support from our base and the residents of Tauranga. If any members have experience in the space of a judicial review, please contact the Secretary at [email protected] or reply to this email.
With the impending by-election for Tauranga, we know that democracy will be a major election issue. We urge all Tauranga Ratepayers' Alliance supporters and ratepayers to support a return to democracy. You can support your preferred candidate, you can ask questions, you can write letter to the editors, speak out on social and to other media.
You can fairly ask any Labour candidate about their participation in an election considering the Government’s disdain for democratic process.
Letter to the Minister
You might consider a letter to the Minister Mahuta outlining your thoughts and feedback on her unprecedented action to remove democracy from Tauranga City Council. We know that most of the support for the action came from the Commissioners themselves and other entities being funded by Council such as Priority One, the Chamber of Commerce / Business Tauranga and the UTF.
The minister’s email address is [email protected].
We will inform you all shortly of updates. If any have interest in participating in the Committee please reply to this email or contact the Secretary.
April 06, 2022
Tauranga Ratepayers' Alliance
The Tauranga Ratepayers' Alliance is calling on the Tauranga City Commissioners to acknowledge that there is a cost of living crisis in the city, and is urging like-minded residents to support the Alliance's submission to Council’s budget by going to www.TaurangaRates.nz.
The Commission need to alter their proposed rates increase this year to reflect the cost of living crisis and to help business recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Ratepayers Alliance is calling on the Commission to reduce the 13.7% total rates increase proposed this year in their 2021-2031 Long Term Plan Amendment. The Commission has budgeted an extra $9m for staff salaries and an extra $4m for consultants this year. This is on top of the $11m increase for staff salaries and $9m more for consultants the Commission approved last year. The public sector and their consultants shouldn't be benefiting from the removal of local democracy at this difficult time for ratepayers.
One way the Commission can show leadership and understanding for the high cost of living of that ratepayers are facing is by cutting back their own expenses.
Anne Tolley claimed nearly $358,200 in fees over the last 12 months and she claimed $35,565 in expenses on top. This is twice as much as we were told it would cost when she was appointed. We are calling on Commissioners to forego their expense claims, totalling $71,000 because they are well remunerated and it would show some empathy for the costs they are adding to resident's budgets.
Commissioners Tolley & Selwood both claim $750 per week from the ratepayer due to the high cost of living in Tauranga. They need to understand the effect of their rate increases on the average person’s cost of living, average people who don't get $750 a week gifted to them.
March 16, 2022
Sun Media is open to receiving emails to the Editor on important topics, including community viewpoints on the removal and need to return democracy to Tauranga City Council.
Emails should be addressed to [email protected] with a short sharp message of 200 words maximum.
March 10, 2022
The Tauranga Ratepayers' Alliance is calling on Minister of Local Government Nanaia Mahuta to preserve the democratic rights of Tauranga ratepayers and residents by not cancelling local elections this year.
--> Click here to sign the petition <--
The Minister promised to return Tauranga to full democracy in October 2022 and we think she should keep her promise. But if the Commissioners have their way, Tauranga will be the only Council not to have an election in October. Anne Tolley, Stephen Selwood, Shad Rolleston and Bill Wasley asked the Minister to cancel local elections in December without consulting Tauranga residents.
November 19, 2021
The Commissioners never consulted with anyone before asking the Minister to extend their high paying jobs for another year. They are paid between $1,500 and $1,800 a day plus expenses and Commission Chair Anne Tolley has claimed in excess of $300,000 over the last twelve months.
They don't have any incentive to leave. Our right to vote was won at a great price and we're not going to let them take it away again, that's why we've started this petition and we will be presenting it to Parliament. It's time for Tauranga residents and ratepayers to get their rights back.
Recently reported budget blowouts under the Commission's watch saw $30m more for Cameron Road and over $3m more for the Elizabeth St projects. If they've claimed twice as much as they were supposed to in expenses what hope is there that they can stick to a budget for a $300m+ museum?
The Commission's duty was to keep the city running until democratic elections could be held. They've gone far beyond their mandate and it's time for the people of Tauranga to decide what our priorities are, not Wellington.
Read more below.