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Waitaki ratepayers left holding the bag for Oamaru Vanity Project – NZTU

Waitaki District Council has approved the $32 million Network Waitaki Events Centre in Oamaru, despite lacking a sound funding plan.

The Council has pledged $15 million to the project, which when combined with the input of some outsider funding, still leaves a $2.7 million shortfall as well as an additional unfunded $4 million for the second stage of the project.

Commenting on this, Taxpayers’ Union Policy Adviser, James Ross, said:

“Waitaki District Council have now decided to rush headfirst into the Event Centre project with next to no regard for those pesky things called finances. Given their current financial position, this will likely mean borrowing at high interest rates and figuring out the details later.

“The Waitaki Ratepayers & Residents Association have been calling on their council from the beginning to come up with a workable plan that does not involve demands for ratepayers to foot the bill. No one will be shocked to learn that calls to put the back pockets of ratepayers first are falling on deaf ears.

“With 20% of staff on salaries above $100,000 and an annual consultant and contractor bill of over $34 million, rather than lumping ratepayers with this enormous bill in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis the Council must instead cut back on its bureaucratic bloat.”


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