Ratepayer Update March 2023
So much is happening behind closed doors and too often in Tauranga we ratepayers are the last to hear about it.
One issue causing concern is the Tauranga City Council’s Active Reserves Masterplan. This calls for a remodelling of Blake Park, Tauranga Domain and Baypark.
Among the proposals are a new stadium at Tauranga Domain, estimated to cost ratepayers $170 million - that's $3,136.76 per household.
This stadium would also result in the destruction of the only true green space in Tauranga City, tear up the all-weather athletics track, and force the relocation of the bowling, tennis and croquet clubs.
Two Sundays ago, a crowd of around 400 people met to protest against the construction of the proposed stadium. It was clear that these sports clubs mean a great deal to everyone involved. These are tremendous community resources that have been enjoyed by generations of Tauranga families. There is simply no economic case for a “boutique” stadium when Tauranga is not home to any major sports team that can attract regular crowds big enough to justify the cost. These resources simply must be protected.
When you also consider the disruption being caused to businesses and traffic along Cameron Road, the potential relocation of the Tauranga Racecourse, and other issues such as the Links Ave cul-de-sac trial, it is clear that communities aren't being listened to.
The Commissioners have given carte blanche to Council staff and consultants to run roughshod over democratic processes.
In fact, under the Commissioners, senior staff at Tauranga City Council have never had it so good. There are now more managers than customer-facing staff and they're being paid the big bucks.
Figures we obtained under the Local Government Official Information & Meetings Act reveal that Tauranga City Council employs 190.5 full-time managers with an average salary of $128,129 and half of them are paid over $263,700.
With a manager for every five employees, the Council looks increasingly top-heavy.
And then there is the $15 million of ratepayers' money paid out to consultants and contractors. Just who are these consultants and what value are they providing to ratepayers? We'll keep asking but don't hold your breath. Without an elected council there is no one to hold them to account.
Tauranga is the only city in New Zealand without a democratic voice. We have a right to decide what our city looks like and what matters to us. We are capable of making these decisions ourselves, and as the rest of the country continues to send freight and traffic our way, central government needs to play their part in investing in our city.
We say, enough is enough. The Commissioners have to go. Local democracy must be restored by the Minister – right now.
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The Tauranga Ratepayers’ Alliance is beginning to find momentum again. We plan to hold a meeting very soon as we launch our campaign to Take Back Tauranga.
But we can only do it with your support. Are you up for the fight?
Thank you for your support,
P.S. The single most important thing you can do to support this campaign is to spread the word. To win, we need people power. With the media so dependant on Government and Council advertising and funding, we need to directly reach as many locals as possible for this campaign to be effective. Anyone in Tauranga can sign up for free at www.TaurangaRatepayers.nz/join (you can unsubscribe at any time).