Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Media Statement: Monte Cecilia 'Blank Cheque' needs review

“A new Council is an opportunity to look afresh at the divisive issue of Monte Cecilia School. We have written to every incoming Councillor to put the issues in front of them and to urge them to urgently review the situation”, says Roskill Community Voice member of the Puketapapa Local Board Michael Wood who is campaigning against the old Auckland City Council’s plan to pay for the demolition and re-building of Monte Cecilia School because it is too close to a new art gallery.

“We know that the incoming Council is keen to open the books, and ensure that all expenditure is prudent. In the case of Monte Cecilia School there are serious questions to be answered. Estimates of the cost of the total project vary between $30-$100 million”, continues Wood

“Most importantly there has been no public scrutiny of this planned expenditure. There is not a single publicly available document that can tell a ratepayer how much might be spent on this project. Effectively the old Auckland City Council signed a ‘blank cheque’ with the expectation that the new Council will pick up the tab”.

“Expenditure of this magnitude makes Monte Cecilia a regional issue. If the project proceeds, then other open space projects around the region will not be able to occur because the budget will be drained”.

“The project was rammed through in the months before the old Auckland City Council was dissolved and consultation was minimal We are calling on the new Council to do the right thing by ratepayers and the local community by opening the books, reviewing the project, and looking at alternative options that meet everyone’s objectives while saving millions of dollars of public money”, concludes Wood.