21 May 2009

Manukau council consults over rafting facility

5:30 am on 21 May 2009

Manukau City Council is going ahead with consultation to provide funding for a $60 million whitewater rafting facility, despite Gvernment legislation to establish an Auckland super-council.

The move comes despite the Government pushing through a bill setting up the Auckland Transition Agency to oversee the restructuring of the region's eight councils into a single entity.

The Transition Agency has the power to vet any new spending over $20,000 by the councils. Local Government Minister Rodney Hide says the organisation must make sure councils are making the right choices before they are amalgamated.

Manukau City Council has committed to provide $40 million for the whitewater facility and has been hearing submissions.

Councillor Colleen Brown says it is important people get to have their say.

However, Councillor Daniel Newman says there are questions over whether Manukau council now has the authority to make a decision on the project, due to the agency's formation.

Manurewa MP George Hawkins says funding the project would cost every ratepayer an extra $400. He believes ratepayers should not have to pay for an expensive facility, as many local children will not be able to afford to use it.