Wednesday, January 09, 2008

An illusory surplus

So, the Auckland Regional Council made a surplus last year, and the right, including the anti-rates brigade and Auckland Mayor John Banks, are calling on them to blow it on a rates cut or funding Auckland's rugby world cup stadium. Except that when you delve into the figures, the surplus is illusory - it's an artefact of cashflow, of the ARC receiving some money earlier than expected (a $20 million payment from the government), while not spending as much as expected due to projects being delayed. To put it another way, it's as if they'd been paid early while several bills had been delayed in the post. The money is all effectively budgetted and spent, but Banks et al think they should blow it on a new TV, just to celebrate the fact that they have money in the bank.

No sane person would manage their personal finances this way. But according to the right, this is how we should run New Zealand's biggest city. Cthulhu help us if they ever get back into power.