Manukau Courier : December 16th 2010
3 MANUKAU COURIER, DECEMBER 16, 2010 NEWS PHONEUSON0800889888/2638518 VISIT US AT 22 Cavendish Drive, Manukau City OR ONLINE AT www.SPLNZ.co.nz Normal Lending Criteria Apply MAKING CHRISTMAS EASIER with fast service and competitive rates from South Paci c Loans. Christmas is a time for giving, so we would like to give you a Christmas Gift with every approved loan of $500 or more in December. To nd out the options available to you, call South Paci c Loans today! 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For people aged 16 years and over Super Liquor Otahuhu 52 Atkinson Ave Ph:09-2761700 Super Liquor Papatoetoe 24 Charles Street Hunters Corner Ph:09-2784389 $34.99ea Riccadonna Asti/Ruby/Rose 750ml Te Hana Res Cuvee 750ml Jamesons Irish Whisky 1 Litre Absolut Vodka 1 Litre Ballantines 1.5 Litre Grants 1.5 Litre $49.99ea Offer ends 19 December $11.99ea Lion Red/ Waikato/ Speights 12 Swappas $29.99ea Rates rise splits council By KAREN MANGNALL A RATES rise of up to 4.9 percent is looming for Auck- landers next year in a pro- posal by mayor Len Brown that s already split the new supercity council. Mr Brown, who cam- paigned on keeping rates rises in line with inflation, says the increase is higher than he d like. But it strikes a balance between what we need to achieve and being prudent for the 2011-12 annual plan. The 4.9 percent is a starting point and he expects council to move down from there, not up. It s less than the average 6 percent rise facing ratepayers across the region before the Auckland Council merger. And it s also lower than the 5.8 percent rates rise proposed by council officers, Mr Brown says. This increase represents a responsible and sustainable rating level given amalgama- tion and extra unbudgeted costs. But the mayor s under fire from Citizens & Ratepayers councillors who only narrowly lost a vote on Monday to keep the rates rise to just 3.9 percent. That s the increase the Auckland Transition Agency reckoned could be achieved from $48 million in unidenti- fied savings from the supercity merger. Without counting those savings, the agency forecast a 7.3 percent rates rise. Mr Brown says that s now revised to 8.9 percent because of decisions with negative impact inherited by the new council. They include a one-off 2 percent rates rise to pay for the 2011 Rugby World Cup, an extra $12.3m in govern- ment rail charges, higher inflation, lower rates growth than the optimistic pre- dictions of former councils, and a reduced dividend from Auckland airport shares. But council staff also believe they can claw the rates rise back to 5.8 percent with around $42m in savings from organisational efficien- cies and a more realistic capi- tal works schedule. Mr Brown wants more savings of at least $13m to get down to 4.9 percent. We have already ident- ified millions of dollars in savings and will be looking for more efficiencies. But getting down to 4.9 percent from the initial 8.9 percent forecast will take a huge effort , he says. Along with its $2.9 billion annual operating budget and $2.7 billion debt, Auckland Council has also inherited merger costs for the next 30 years and is still 800 staff short. Mr Brown says the 2011-12 annual plan doesn t include any major new projects but will need to find money to pay for planning and design for future rail and waterfront developments, events and community facilities. That will require an innovative new funding streams and an efficiency drive across all council organ- isations, he says. Special party for Kidz First By MELISSA KINEALY Christmas cheer: Summa Rikiti, 2, from Mangere enjoys the Freemasons Kidz First Christmas party with Trixie the fairy. Photo: SHANE WENZLICK Sick kids and their families had something to smile about at a special Kidz First Christmas party. More than 60 people filled the hospital s tinsel-lined Healing Garden for some festive fun at the fourth Auckland Freemasons Christmas party. Entertaining the crowd were Trixie the fairy, puppets and a juggling magician and of course Santa who handed out pres- ents for everyone. A keyboardist kept the Christmas tunes rolling as children enjoyed the fun and ate sweet treats for after- noon tea. Organiser Arthur Berman says putting on the event helps the Freemasons give something back to the com- munity. This is just a little fun thing we can do for the kids. Kidz First play specialist Robin Maria Christmas says parties are important for sick kids. If you re really young you have no concept of time and there s the feeling like you might miss out on Christmas, she says. It makes the kids feel like they are part of the com- munity.
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