Manukau Courier : January 25th 2011
www.manukaucourier.co.nz Tuesday, January 25, 2011 February 2011 NO EXPERIENCE required. So polish up your jandals, dust off your leis and call for more information 0800 467 472 Boards bid for airport dividends By KAREN MANGNALL MILLIONS of dollars in dividends from the old Manukau City Council s airport shares should return to the south instead of bene- fitting the rest of the supercity, local board members say. They want a slice of around $24 million in annual dividends the Auckland Council can expect from its 22.45 percent Auckland Airport stake inherited from the old Manu- kau and Auckland city councils. I just don t think it s fair that the rest of Auckland should benefit from our good savings, Manurewa local board member Toa Greening says. Manukau protected its sharehold- ing while other councils sold out or reduced theirs. That foresight and loyalty should be rewarded, he says. We re putting in a bid for a pro- portion of those dividends to come back to this local board for our use. The Manurewa board wants a proportion of dividends from Manu- kau city s airport shares to be real- located to all local boards in the legacy council area for capital works. It s also calling for the Auck- land Council to write that into its investment company s statement of intent. That policy should stand for nine years -- or three terms of the fledgling council, Mr Greening says. After that time we re a proper, established city. Manurewa s dividend bid is being made as part of negotiations with Auckland Council for its 2011-12 annual budget agreement. Board chairman Daniel Newman back the bid but isn t confident of success. I think you ve got a better chance of bringing the moa back from extinction but let s go for it. The Mangere-Otahuhu local board is also seeking to ring-fence money from the airport company in its draft annual agreement. It wants developer contributions raised in the airport corridor to go to the board to fund the cost of growth within its area. The Otara-Papatoetoe local board didn t think to put airport dividend reallocation in its draft agreement but it s a very good issue for nego- tiation, chairman John McCracken says. We would support it -- but I think there won t be a chance in hell of it happening. Mayor Len Brown, a long-time advocate of keeping Manukau s air- port shares, agrees. Nice try, he says of the airport dividend bid. Local board members are reflecting the very strong commit- ment to ownership of public assets and utilities by the old Manukau City Council and the people of the south. I absolutely understand their sentiment but I could not counten- ance it as being fair and just to the rest of the city. Other councils each brought sub- stantial assets into the supercity that will return dividends. Do we pay that out to the local boards there? It just would not be fair. Auckland is now a united council with its assets incorporated in a single budget to be evenly and fairly distributed around the region and its local boards. But Mr Brown believes Auckland can count itself fortunate that Manukau was so gung-ho about holding its shares in the airport while other councils sold theirs. That fortitude had a significant sway over Auckland City Council s decision to stop selling its remain- ing shares, Mr Brown says. Auckland Council inherited Manukau s 9.9 percent stake in the airport company and Auckland city s 12.56 percent, making it the single largest shareholder. Art of politics: Mayor Len Brown with a Don Binney painting, one of a rotating selection of works from the Auckland Art Gallery that hang in the mayoral chambers. Photo: KAREN MANGNALL Art in the office suits mayor just fine By KAREN MANGNALL There s art to being mayor of Auck- land. And a lot of it hangs on the wall in Len Brown s offices at the Auckland Town Hall. It s pretty extraordinary, he says. A Don Binney bird painting hangs over his desk. A glance up from the mayoral papers catches a Pat Hanley on the facing wall. There s some amazing artwork -- you ve got Lindauers, you ve got McCahons, you ve got Binneys. This place is an extension of the Auckland Art Gallery, really. The gallery s been asked to rotate a selection from its collections through the mayoral offices. So people who visit get an opportunity to gaze upon some of our most amazing artwork -- pri- marily Auckland artists, Mr Brown says. After three months in the top job he s settling nicely into his new offices on the first floor of the 1911 neo-Baroque landmark. But the mayoral office isn t as airy as his previous one at Manukau s civic building. And then there s the need to keep direct light to a minimum to protect all that art. It s different from the old Manukau office but people when they come here really enjoy the ambience of it.
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