Waiheke Local Board sees wins and losses in Auckland Council’s budget, characterised by several Auckland councillors after two days’ debate as leaving everybody with a ‘few dead rats’ to swallow.

After lengthy discussion, Mayor Wayne Brown put out his final budget recommendation, which included a $4 million cut to local-board funding. 

Brown’s first budget proposal would have cut $16 million from local board funding. During public consultation, Waiheke Local Board argued the cut would effectively halve its discretionary budget. Local arts funding, reserves restoration and even things like the highly successful predator-free programme would suffer. Local Board chair Cath Handley also pointed out the proposed cuts would disproportionately affect Waiheke, which already struggles with underinvestment and extra service costs to accommodate the visitors and tourists who can quadruple the island’s population in summer.

After the public proved deeply opposed to the cuts, Mayor Brown reversed his position, taking them off the table going into the June 8 Extraordinary Governing Body meeting to set the budget.

After two days of debate, and staunch opposition to the sale of Auckland Council’s 18.01 percent share in Auckland International Airport Limited, a $4 million cut ended up back on the table. 

• Paul Mitchell and Laura Kvigstad, Auckland Council reporter funded by New Zealand on Air 

Full story in this week’s Gulf News… Out Now!!!

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