Mayor says Waiheke’s had its “fair share”
Auckland mayor John Banks has told Waiheke it has done “pretty well under two Banks’ councils” but it shouldn’t expect any extra under the supercity.
Mr Banks visited the Waiheke Community Board for informal talks last week, staying on to speak at the beginning of the board’s monthly public forum and taking questions from the floor.
He paid tribute to former board chairman Ray Ericson and incumbent chairman Tony Sears for their lengthy service, saying the Waiheke board was one of council’s “best”.
And he encouraged islanders’ interest in Waiheke becoming a Unesco biosphere reserve, agreeing it was “a unique part of the world”.
“It is one of the most beautiful places in the world and we need to protect its heritage.”
But on the subject of future funding he was firm, saying Waiheke had had its “fair share”.
“Waiheke has needed more investment because of its idiosyncratic structural environment, with more structural challenges than any other part of Auckland City.
“Of course you could have more – but your brothers and sisters on the mainland can fund it if you can convince them to spend the money. You will never have everything you want. It’s a matter of balance.”
He assured residents that council had no intention of selling off its council offices site in Ostend once the new combined library and service centre building was built in Oneroa.
But he warned the new local board would have some tough decisions to make in the future.
“The good news is you’re going to have much more autonomy with the supercity than ever before. But the problem will be the board members having to order priorities. Underpinning them with funding is very difficult and you’ll find out you’ll never get everyone on your side.”
Mr Banks will be standing in the first supercity mayoral elections in October.
His parting words were, “Thanks for disagreeing without being too disagreeable.”