Central Leader : March 18th 2011
www.centralleader.co.nz Friday, March 18, 2011 extra content, extra early, extra special! online editions Essential local news available now, wherever you are...and it's FREE! Just click on "Latest Edition" at www.centralleader.co.nz Central Leader online editions have exciting extras for all our readers -- including video and back issues. Get online now for a total multi media experience with the latest local news -- anywhere, anytime. Organisations fight for slice of the funding pie By SCOTT MORGAN A battle for funding between the Auckland Council and some of the region s major organisations could be on the cards as the supercity seeks to tighten its belt. Earlier this month the council s strategy and finance committee rejected a plea for funding increases from the Auckland War Memorial Museum, Motat and the Auckland Regional Amenities group. The museum wants a 5 percent increase, Motat needs 8 percent and Auckland Regional Amenities, which represents organisations like the Auckland Theatre Company, Stardome and Surf Lifesaving, wants 14 percent. But councillors who are battling to keep the projected rates rise to 4.9 percent voted 11 to seven to reject the combined $3.6 million increase across all three groups. Citizens and Ratepayers leader Chris Fletcher told the meeting the proposed increases aren t affordable in the economic climate. As much as I really want to sup- port these organisations, the world as we know it has changed. It isn t business as usual. Waitemata and Gulf councillor Mike Lee wants a more transparent funding process. To avoid being treated as an ATM I think we need a lot more transparency about who s getting what and why. But Albert-Eden-Roskill council- lor Cathy Casey describes the decision as shameful , with funding for Rugby World Cup projects left untouched. It seems to me the bigger the budget, the more we leave them alone. Three acts of Parliament exist to ensure funding for each organis- ation was sourced from across the region before the supercity was formed. Arbitration will take place if the council s governing body rejects the increases at this month s meeting, something Auckland Regional Amenities funding body chairman Vern Walsh is keen to avoid. That would be an additional cost to the ratepayer, which we wouldn t like to see. Without funding, a lot of these organisations would not be here or would struggle. He says the group will work with councillors if they need more details before making a decision. But his- tory isn t on the council s side. During arbitration last year the seven former councils rejection of a funding increase was overturned. Motat director Jeremy Hubbard says the committee s initial decision is disappointing, but it isn t clear what cuts would be made if it didn t get an increase. He says extra funding from the council has meant Motat can better care for its collections and upgrade buildings and exhibitions, making it an increasingly popular destination. The museum referred the Central Leader s inquiries to mayor Len Brown s office, which did not respond by deadline. College's big move Swinging success: St Dominic's Catholic Primary School student Aaron D'Silva, 8, tries out the bars on his new playground, donated by Auckland International College By KELSEY FLETCHER CONTINUED Page 3 A $15 MILLION move is being made by Auckland International College now that roll numbers have grown too big for its central city premises. The college purchased the old Hilltop Primary School property in Blockhouse Bay in 2009 after its small roll forced its closure. Executive principal Carolyn Solo- mon says it opened the city-based college in 2003 and has now out- grown the site. We started with 38 students and grew very quickly. We now have 370, she says. Mrs Solomon says the Heaphy St property was previously a school and meets the college s needs per- fectly. It has the potential to become a senior school a little like a univer- sity campus, she says. The suburban property is cur- rently being made suitable for col- lege students with upgrades to existing rooms and new buildings being constructed. We ve renovated the existing buildings to suit our students needs. We are building a four-storey building for 14 classrooms and we are doing extensive landscaping with tree planting, she says. The buildings are being designed to fit in with the setting around them and we are using an elegant arch style.
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