Board requests make funding problem clear

Dave Cull
Dave Cull
Reasonable requests from Dunedin's smaller communities highlight the problem of the present local government funding model, Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull says.

Climate change, coastal erosion, freedom camping and the maintenance of the city's parks and reserves were all raised as issues by Dunedin's community board chairmen and a chairwoman during a meeting on the Dunedin City Council's annual plan yesterday.

Requests were made for investment in areas such as cycling infrastructure in the Brighton area, better maintenance of reserves and parks and improvements to the walking track network on the peninsula.

Mosgiel-Taieri Community Board chairwoman Sarah Nitis said while overgrown grass and untidy parks were relatively small issues, ratepayers noticed them every day.

Saddle Hill Community Board chairman Scott Weatherall said issues such as regular sports ground maintenance and reinstating a road resealing budget were ''major'' issues for his community.

Mr Cull, also the president of Local Government New Zealand, said there was nothing unreasonable in the requests from any of the community boards and it highlighted the council only had two ways to fund projects, either through debt or rates, while at the same time upgrading infrastructure.

''This is why the sector as a whole is telling the Government the funding models for local government are no longer adequate.''

There was praise for the council's approach to freedom camping and its trial of an inner-city freedom camping site at the Thomas Burns St car park.

Mr Weatherall said the council ''nailed'' its approach to freedom camping in Brighton and Ocean View this year.

Since the council's Thomas Burns St site opened last year. camper numbers at the Warrington Domain dropped by about 35%, Waikouaiti Coast chairman Alasdair Morrison said.

Otago Peninsula Community Board chairman Paul Pope said the situation on the peninsula had been ''OK'' this year.


It's not the funding models that are inadequate Mr Cull, it is the inadequacies of local government that is the problem. It is local councils that need to be reined in and reformed. Your council continue to pour millions of dollars down the drain on commercial business, property development, ugly cycle lanes, self promotion, report after report after plan after consultation, pointless pet projects, bridges for which there is no demand, etc, etc.. Then you cry that we have no money to fix the leaking pipes and business will need to pay for street upgrades and we need to tax this and we need a tax on that and we need to increase fees and parking costs. Then you and your flock of sheep for councilors have the cheek to try and tell use how successful you have made this city, how vibrant and thriving it is, riding on a crest of a wave! Well maybe you and your sheep will be having cocktails on a yacht tonight but not I.



Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter