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Auckland councillors distance themselves from planned multi-million dollar chamber

Auckland councillors are rapidly distancing themselves from plans for a new multi-million dollar council chamber, as revealed by ONE News.

Today ONE News couldn't find one councillor prepared to commit themselves to the plan that comes as homeowners face hefty rate rises.

A leaked proposal says a bigger, better, full size chamber is needed at the council's new headquarters.

"I'm not committed one way or another. I'm very happy with the way our Town Hall arrangement works already," says Auckland mayor Len Brown.

How it works already is councillors and staff take a four minute walk from the council building to the existing chamber 445 metres away.

Councillor Cathy Casey says the chamber is not necessary.

"Running shoes get between the two easily. It's good for fitness," she says.

And Councillor Chris Fletcher says: "A move away from the Town Hall will be over my dead body".

"I think the council spends way too much on itself and not enough on services," says Councillor Mike Lee.

Options include a new mezzanine floor extension over a public walkway, glazed walls, a new civic lounge and a catering kitchen.

It could cost ratepayers between $3 and $10 million.

It has marginal support.

"To have it here is much easier for us to park downstairs and come up," says Councillor Arthur Anae.

While Councillor Penny Webster says the "Auckland City Council chamber downstairs in the Town Hall is too small."

No councillors spoken to by ONE News were willing to say they fully supported building a new chamber.

It comes in a week where Auckland households were told to expect average rate increases of 9.9%.

But Mr Brown says the proposal "just came as a normal way of looking at what and how we might go forward as a council".

He says he hasn't made a decision yet on whether to go forward with the proposal that no one is pushing for.

The proposal for a new multi-million dollar council chamber comes as homeowners face hefty rate rises. Source: 1 NEWS


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