A tale of two cities
John Blakey is angry. Here's why: "We have two houses in Auckland, one in Stonefields and one in Northern Rodney at Ti Point.
"They are both very similar in size, have three bedrooms, similar living space with the Stonefields house having the luxury of an ensuite as well as a bathroom.
"The Ti Point house has a pleasant view of a tidal harbour. The rates for the two properties are very similar (within $50).
"The similarities stop there.
"The Stonefields property has:
"A bus stop 200 metres from the front door.
"A train station 10 minutes walk away.
"A library three minutes drive away.
"Free rubbish collection.
"Several playgrounds in quick walking distance.
"A swimming pool reasonably close by.
"Oh, and one takes for granted the running water and sewerage system.
"In fact, we are well served for our rates and can easily participate in the life of the city if we choose. I believe 100 per cent of my rates are spent in the wider urban area that we are part of. There are plans to improve amenities in the area through the local board.
"The Ti Point property, by comparison, has:
"An unsealed and unkempt road (no grader this year and usually many potholes).
"No water or sewerage system.
"Dust created by visiting urban Aucklanders travelling to a number of recreational activities in our area contaminates our tank water and ironically if the Ti Point Rd was not used so heavily over summer by urban Aucklanders we would not need the seal.
"No public transport that could be used for commuting to work.
"A library is 20 minutes drive away.
"No swimming pool in the area.
"A pay per bag rubbish collection.
"The reserve at the end of the road - used by picnickers from Auckland - is no longer cared for.
"A large proportion of the rates collected in the region are spent elsewhere (I'm told but can't substantiate).
"The old Rodney council managed a modest road sealing programme of approximately 10 kilometres a year.
"The super-city managed a fat zero. There's no plan for fixing the infrastructure deficit.
"The mayor asks us to be patient.
"I can be patient if there is a plan.
"I can accept over investment in key projects in other areas if there is a final plan for over-investment in my area in necessities like roads and drains.
"It's important to say that I was unconcerned about my roads, footpaths and the other inconveniences that went with semi-rural living. It was a lifestyle we chose.
"That was until our rates went up by more than 100 per cent.
"I'm angry now and feel we are fast becoming the Third World of Len' s super-city.
"The white water rafting centre equates to 40 kilometres of sealed roads, the gift to the wealthy Anglican church equated to 18km of sealed road, the money wasted by ATEED (Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development Ltd) would quickly get us to another 30 or 40km a year.
"The money spent by council duplicating central government responsibilities would also help.
"They have choices. They choose to divert our rates to their other projects, they choose not to put us in the plan.
"In Northern Rodney the glass is not half full. It's empty."