Having been a citizen of a democratic culture all of my life, I occasionally find it interesting that folks seem to ignore numbers. I understand – numbers are hard.
Yet numbers are great things, because they’re difficult to refute. When someone says 1+1 = 4, we’re immediately suspicious.
That’s why I continue to be suspicious of the numbers that Wellington City Council and the Developer put out with respect to the proposed sale, lease, and infrastructure costs of the proposed development of Shelly Bay. The numbers just don’t add up.
In particular, my suspicion reaches red-alert levels when these same bodies are attempting to hide the numbers. All of their advertisements and text say a variant of this: “The Council proposes to sell and lease some of its land to Shelly Bay Ltd.” (the council website), and completely ignore the question of the huge infrastructure subsidy for the developer that comes along with the deal.
Which is why I keep hammering that number (among others). In a civil society, there’s a social construct between us, the citizens, and the Wellington City Council.
The City Council has the right of taxation over us, and so needs to be mindful of the benefit that we receive for that taxation. And lest anyone should forget, taxation comes ultimately at the point of a gun. Just try protesting this development by not paying your rates, and you’ll ultimately find a policeman at the end of the tale. Ignore that policeman, and one with a gun will ultimately show up.
When our elected representatives ignore this social contract, when they put the well-being of developers ahead of our welfare, we need to act. When they socialize the costs and privatise profits, we need to act. When they side with profiteers who do not live in our community, we need to act.
Look closely at the submission website:
and you’ll find no mention of the millions of dollars that they’re proposing to give to the developer. They are outright hiding the subsidy.
Only if you download the submission form or the consultation document will you find mention of this subsidy.
In my view, this is a crime. They are blatantly attempting to hide a pay-out of a magnitude that most of us would balk at. Are they unmindful of their responsibility to us? I don’t know. Are they corrupt? I don’t know. I hope not. All I know, is that they don’t appear to be representing us.
We need to act.
Tell our elected officials (particularly the ones that represent the eastern wards) that they cannot subsidize this development. They cannot line the pockets of the developers with our cash. They should not sell off our assets. Once they’re gone, they’re gone.
They are our representatives, and they need to start acting like it.
P.S.: Don’t forget to put your submission in by 5PM August 14, 2017