Saturday, May 18, 2024

Bin removals disproportionately hits local boards

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Cr Maurice Williamson [Howick] said bin removals were the greatest example of a good policy enacted really badly.
By Laura Kvigstad, Auckland Council reporter
funded by New Zealand on Air

Huge cuts are proposed for rubbish bins in some local board areas but not for others.

At Auckland Council’s Governing Body meeting on May 2, councillors voted in favour of getting advice from council staff on how to reinstate bins where there is an obvious need.

Cr Shane Henderson revealed that his area had been disproportionately impacted by rubbish bin removals.

Council’s 2023/2024 annual budget saw a 30 per cent reduction in bins across the city which was estimated to save $1.36 million per annum.

The reductions are being rolled out across local boards with removals expected to be complete in early May.

“I’ve been sent a response to a LGOIMA (Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act) showing the proposed removal of bins by local board area and it is quite scary reading,” Henderson said.

The information showed the Henderson-Massey area had 52 per cent of its bins removed compared to 21 per cent in the Albert-Eden area.

When asked for an explanation, Customer and Community Services director Claudia Wyss said the same principles for removal had been applied across the city.

“We have looked at bins that are in close proximity to each other. We have looked at bins that might be underutilised relative to others,” Wyss said.

“Some of the bins in your area were older assets and they were facing end of life, they were not functioning very well anymore.”

Cr Maurice Williamson [Howick Ward] said bin removals were the greatest example of a good policy enacted really badly.

“What actually has happened in our ward is that whole shafts of bins have been taken away,” Williamson said.

“To add insult to injury, one of the big bins that was taken away has been replaced by $90,000 from our arts people with an aluminium statue – that really pisses people off.”
While council has said it will reinstate some bins, some local boards have chosen to retain their bins through their own budgets.

Cr Lotu Fuli questioned how well council was driving the behavioural change for bin removal.

“We want Aucklanders to try to be more mindful about the waste that they are carrying. I have lived in Japan, there are no bins anywhere – people are expected to take their rubbish back home with them,” Fuli said.

Cr Mike Lee said council was enabled to rate Aucklanders because of a social contract.

“There is a quid pro quo implicit in the arrangement of Aucklanders paying rates to this worthy organisation and the 7.5 per cent extra coming up,” Lee said.

He took issue with likening Auckland to Japan and was concerned that the conversation around the table was elitist.

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