Tūrangi v Taupō: ‘Forgotten’ small town threatens law suit over cashed-up neighbour
Elton Rikihana Smallman11:26, Feb 03 2019T
First there was the velodrome, then the Ōtumuheke Hot Stream. Then came money for CBD upgrades and work on a proposed cultural project.
Now, Tūrangi residents have had enough. The small North Island community, home to a hot springs, a supermarket, and some small restaurants, is considering legal action involving its glitzier neighbour, tourist hotspot Taupō.
The prime concern: Taupō gets money “without hesitation” from the district council, while Tūrangi is considered the poorer cousin treated with “arguable contempt”.
That was the thrust of a lengthy community Facebook page post, written by community members Christine Dally, Antoinette Kereopa and Zane Cozens, which has been met with support from locals.
Neglected, forgotten, pushed aside – Tūrangi is an “embarrassing appendage” that Taupō begrudgingly inherited, says Tūrangi-Tongariro Residents and Ratepayers Association chairwoman Sandra Greenslade.
“We’ve got councillors up there who I wouldn’t mind betting they have probably not been to Tūrangi in 10 years.”
While council had spent $14m on the town, she’d like to see where. “It’s certainly not put into any of our needs.”
Tūrangi’s sports facilities are limited, there is no space for community and cultural events and there are safety concerns over the town’s gym. The town’s curbs are “rotting” and council-owned buildings are in disrepair, some with the roofs almost rusted through.
Meanwhile, money was found “without hesitation” for multiple Taupō projects including the resealing of the Owen Delany Park velodrome, the recent redevelopment of the Ōtumuheke Hot Stream, CBD upgrades and work on a proposed Cultural Precinct Project, the critics say.
The complainants are considering various options including seeking support from the Local Government Minister, seeking a judicial review of council practises, or a High Court injunction to stop further long term plan implementation. A media campaign was also under consideration.
Tūrangi businessman Zane Cozens is a former Taupō District councillor who resigned in 2017, lambasting it as dysfunctional. He says Tūrangi has been met with hollow promises and “piecemeal tid-bits” designed to placate. Council gave nothing but normal housekeeping – enough for Tūrangi to subsist but not thrive, he says.
Case in point: a letter from the Tūrangi Community Board expressing dismay over the long term plan, he says.
“I asked [Taupō District] Councillor Kingi if he could check into it. He checked into it and the Mayor and the chief executive said they’d forgotten about it. That underlines what they really think of us. If we did matter, they would have expedited that to council table.”
Taupō Mayor David Trewavas disputes that, and says the letter was acted upon immediately – because it was hand delivered.
Approximately $12.7m was collected from Tūrangi ratepayers in the 2017/18 year, and about $14m spent.
“Tūrangi is a town that was built for a larger population than currently exists in a very short period of time and so we are dealing with a significant amount of aging infrastructure all coming to the end of its life at the same time,” Trewavas says. “Council is willing to do its part, though, and has provided projects and funding for that.”
And more local comment…
Of course, I couldn’t stay out of this one 😉
The fact is Turangi gets more than its share of rates money based on whats taken in and spent. The real issues are…
- Allocation of that money (see next two points)
- Having no long term strategic and implementation plan (not the Council LTP which just allocates money and has nothing to do with implementation)
- No Governance or representation (ever had anyone on DGLT or EGLT from Turangi?)
People in Turangi need to stop this BS about poor cousin BC it comes across as small minded and self-entitled, is not based on facts and obscures the real issues. I know it plays well to people who see the world in black and white but it doesn’t address the core underlying issues – see points 2 and 3 above, then 1 will be taken care of too
As I have been saying for years there needs to be a hand-picked board of people with the right skill sets to solve the problems and opportunities, empowered to create a plan, accountable and properly funded. The rest is just a bunch of hot air from people who are often as much a part of the problem as the solution.
The entire setup could be funded by the $750k being flushed down the toilet every year for their stupid loss-making swimming pool that hardly anyone uses, seriously just close the doors and walk away! Until the sort of denial and untruththat exists around both the levels of funding lies and the total denial about that money sucking hole of a pool expect the same arguments to be repeated for another 10+ years