Statement from Chief Executive

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Wednesday 6 December 2017

STATEMENT FROM HAMILTON CITY COUNCIL CE RICHARD BRIGGS

An online article published by ‘The Spinoff’ earlier this week, and written by Angela Cuming, relating to the initial draft 2018-28 10-Year Plan budget (referred to as the Mayor’s budget) and Hamilton’s provision of services for children, is factually incorrect.

The article also includes commentary attributed to UNICEF NZ’s Child Rights Education Manager. I believe these comments, in the context of the article, would suggest to the reader UNICEF NZ have accepted the information in the article as fact.

It is disappointing that a media organisation such as the Spinoff has published a substantial article, under the headline ‘UNICEF outraged by Hamilton mayor’s anti-playground budget’ without fact-checking the statements the article is based upon.

To clarify:

Ms Cuming states the Mayor’s budget contains no funding for any new playgrounds of any type in Hamilton for the next 10 years and there are no plans for smaller neighbourhood playgrounds.

This is incorrect. There is $3 million capital spend plus $1.27 million operational expenditure proposed on new or upgraded playgrounds in the next 10 years. This is the Mayor’s preferred option, but there are also other options with higher levels of cost for Councillors to consider. These other options include the full delivery of the Playgrounds of the Future Plan.

Ms Cuming states there’s no money in the budget for maintenance and renewal of large playgrounds.

This is incorrect, there is $7.9 million in the budget for renewals for current playgrounds. This includes the renewal and maintenance of Destination Playgrounds.

The article includes the statement: ‘Of extra concern to UNICEF was the Council’s plan to develop green space around the city to build 9500 new homes by 2027…without any new playgrounds.’

This is incorrect. In addition to the $3 million, playground provision has been included within the proposed capital expenditure allocated for open space provision in growth areas. This includes two playgrounds in the Peacocke growth cell.

Hamilton is a great city for families. By July 2018, there will be eight completed destination playgrounds in Hamilton. There are also 82 playgrounds in 77 parks across the city, and we have over 1100 hectares of open spaces for families to play.

Mayor Andrew King’s initial budget will be debated by the Council and the draft budget, when adopted by the Council, will go out for full public consultation next year before a final 10-Year Plan is adopted in June 2018.

Page reviewed: 06 Dec 2017 12:45pm