Straight from city council A personal view, by Councillor Steve Morris
Remember the old saying ‘look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves?’ It’s sound financial advice but when it comes to local politics the greater danger is being ‘penny-wise and pound-foolish.’ Take the museum proposal, it’s receiving a lot of scrutiny from the public, media, councillors and candidates. It’s only right when you consider a council contribution of $20.7m to the $55m build cost, but what you might not know is that this represents only 1 per cent of council’s $2.4 billion capital budget over the next 10 years.
The majority of council spending doesn’t receive anywhere near the level of political scrutiny and that must change if we’re going to live within our community’s means to pay. We’re having a referendum on a future museum, but propose spending more on replacing an existing library downtown with little debate. We’re spending $91m on the Te Maunga wastewater treatment plant, more than $100m on a new water plant and even more on protecting our infrastructure around the city from natural hazards like earthquakes.
If we, as councillors and the media who report, raise our level of scrutiny of the big issues while not neglecting the smaller ones our city will be all the better for it.