Botany and Ormiston Times
Howick and Pakuranga Times : Howick and Pakuranga Times Monday February 24
www.times.co.nz Howick and Pakuranga Times, Monday, February 24, 2014 — 3 125077 if you bring in this advert before March 31, 2014. 120304-V4 PHONE 271 3434 | 53 Springs Road, East Tamaki. Hours: Monday-Friday 8am-5pm; Saturday 8am-3pm. 125455 LPG REFILLS Only $28(9kg bottle) 124757 By Marianne Kelly aCOMMON response to the notion that the south-east may get a rail link is “not in our lifetime”. Ever the optimist, Auckland Mayor Len Brown replies “not necessarily so”. He’s bullish about getting rail in the area sooner rather than later, because of the potential he sees in raising money for infrastructure through Public Private Partner- ships (PPPs). “We’ve always talked about rail out here and the possibility of rail coming east. A lot of people may eat their words if Auckland gets its act together. “My vision is that it’s something we may do in 20-30 years, but it could be fast-forwarded with a PPP. “We have the option of a PPP on the basis there would be a reason- able revenue stream from the rail link to pay down the private sector partner debt. “It adds to the options and would allow us to build infrastructure at a reasonable pace. If we are nervous we will just continue to build at the same pace and get more trans- port problems. “Sir Dove Myer Robinson said we should have done this [build a rapid rail system] 60 years ago and people didn’t listen to him.” Mr Brown’s unfazed by a litany of transport PPP failures in Aus- tralia and dangers that ratepayers can end up with the debt. The Clem7 Tunnel under the Brisbane River, he says, failed because the company that funded and built it overshot the mark in its assessment of patronage. “The Brisbane council inher- ited the project gratis. That’s what we’re looking for here – the pri- vate company takes the primary risk because they get the primary return.” Discussion about the pros and cons of PPPs will take place over the next few months, he says. The Auckland Council is dip- ping its toes in the water, negoti- ating with the private sector for a PPP arrangement for the Auckland Harbour Bridge SkyPath. “If we agree on this in the next month or two, SkyPath will be delivered in a PPP. “It will be paid for with a user charge and the debt will be paid down over 30 years after which the asset will be transferred back to the council. “At the end the asset will come to us. It’s an example of how we can broaden the infrastructure funding base.” PPPs, Mr Brown says, are new for New Zealand in comparison with Australia, which has been using them for 15-20 years and for 35 years in Europe, America and Asia. “Traditionally these infrastruc- ture projects come out of central or local government funds, but there is not the equity base to achieve them. So we’re constantly behind the eight ball, which is why we’ll be looking closely at this model. “It will be a chance to ensure the best value for money rather than trying to do everything ourselves. “We’re concerned about debt levels, so we need to access private sector balance sheets.” Rail may get fast-tracked F➤ ➤ rompage1 “But there are elements of rating that are, quite frankly, unfair. I’m told by Grey Power about the lack of equity and the system’s unfairness with people sitting on a house with increasing property value and a fixed income. “It’s not fair, but we can’t address it and the rates rebate only goes so far.” Mr Brown says it’s timely that there is a New Zealand- wide debate about finding a sustainable funding method for local government, possibly funding councils with an income- related taxation system rather than on the value of land owned. “We have 500,000 ratepayers, but one million taxpayers in Auckland. So a number of people don’t pay a contribution towards the upkeep of the city. “Small councils, such as Kaipara or Dunedin, all have the same challenges. “There is a need to provide infrastructure, but the rating base struggles to deliver it.” Unfair rating system gets tackled IT’S POSSIBLE: An electric train could be seen sooner rather than later on a potential south-eastern branch of the Auckland Rail Network. Photo supplied Harmonising with space F➤ ➤ rompage1 Carved from an old macrocarpa post, the work took Mr Curtis four months to complete and is the semi-retired man’s eighth wood carving. The former businessman’s affair with carving began three years ago, when his wife Lorraine Curtis gave him a gift voucher for his birthday. “She bought me a day of soft stone carving with Gillian Elmslie, who tutors at Uxbridge, and I just loved it,” says Mr Curtis. Christmas then came along and Mr Curtis was given another creative opportunity, a six-week wood carving course with well-known East Auckland sculptor Mark Jones. Mr Curtis describes his personal sculpting style as a “free-form” process, with no particular end vision in mind. “I don’t have any preconceived ideas. The wood reveals itself and it’s a journey that continues to unfold and evolve.” Ms Topping says creations featuring in Discovering Form have to meet certain criteria. “Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Temple is so sacred and has such a beautiful, peaceful nature, that the work has to be in tune with that environment,” she says. With the temple’s main courtyard playing backdrop to the sculptures, the natural surroundings are important. “Many of the artworks make reference to the natural work, being based in a garden,” she says. “This is to ensure they will harmonise with the space rather than work against it.” The exhibition is the first collaboration of its kind between the temple and the public arts centre in Uxbridge Road. “It’s another way to bring in two cultures and give artists the opportunity to present their works in a unique environment,” says Ms Topping. The Discovering Form sculpture trail, held as part of the Arts Festival Out East, is staged at Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Temple, 16 Stancombe Road, Flat Bush. It displays from March 1-16 and is open daily except Mondays from 9am-5pm. Entry is free and all works are for sale.
Howick and Pakuranga Times Thursday February 20
Howick and Pakuranga Times Thursday February 27