103 days ago

Harko Brown-Far North mayoral candidate and toll road advocate

Geoff from Russell

Harko Brown-Far North mayoral candidate and toll road advocate.

I recently became a member of the Moerewa Noticeboard on which Harko Brown posted his “manifesto?” I posted the following as a comment

I attended the "Meet the candidates" meeting in Paihia. You said something about "creating toll roads in the far north to increase revenue." I can't remember if you said that the tolls would be paid only by tourists or if locals would also pay them. I will appreciate clarification. Another thing, as I understand it, a "toll" is a "tax" and taxes can be imposed on the people only by the national thieves in Wellington, the local thieves in Kaikohe do not have that power. Now, if that is the case, is your idea for "far north toll roads" a non starter?

I then came across his “manifesto” and found the bit about “toll roads” and other taxes, which you will see here. “We also need to get a healthier budget for our region through innovative income generation - for example, toll roads to get revenue from those 350 - 400 000 visitors who over-burden and thrash our infrastructure over summer. Also tax tourists $2 for every accommodation night, and $10 each to fly out of one of our airports. That revenue is sorely needed and should be spread evenly around our districts to actually start paving our 1 000km of loose metal roads, keep our infrastructure working and to take the burden off long suffering ratepayers (yes a rates freeze is necessary and well overdue)." I then, having the details of his idea(s) did a more detailed commen which you will see here “I see that your plan is for only tourists to pay the tolls. Who would decide who IS and who is NOT a tourist? As I said in my previous comment,"taxes can be imposed on the people only by the national thieves in Wellington, the local thieves in Kaikohe do not have that power. " That being the case, it would seem that not only is your toll roads idea a non starter but also your $2 for every accommodation night, and $10 each to fly out of one of our airports. I would also be interested to know why the cruise ship passengers have not been included for some kind of tax. There are 150,158 scheduled to come to Waitangi on 69 ships this season.Obviously not all of them come ashore, but a heck of a lot certainly do. The vast majority do not drive on the roads roads,although a few do rent cars, the vast majority go on tours either with Clarks or with the local operators. How would they be taxed since they don't drive, don't stay in motels and don't fly out of any airport? It is all very well for all the other commentors to give their blind support, but if you DO get elected, which I seriously doubt, and you can't do what you say you will do, I wonder how they will feel. Just a thought.

The sooner Di Maxwell's “ online facility is developed and is ready to roll, the better. It is a facebook page called Know Your Candidate As Karl Kurz from Russell said in a Neighbourly comment “ This will also be a very suitable measure to find out how seriously bold statements are really meant and can can be brought about, like far north toll roads, to name but one.

Here is Mr. Brown's reply. Kia ora Geoff, thx for your interest. Yes many people have told me it's refreshing to see genuine strategies and possibilities being expressed by a candidate. So thx again.

As for devising a possible policy for taking the heat off rate-payers, always the easy fall back / fall guys for council, I've been canvassing our residents on ideas to bring in much needed funding. How are your roads & footpaths, are you happy with them? Are you happy with our 1000 km of dusty, health-affecting metal roads?

As mayor I will use the legal avenue, not a difficult one, of submitting to agencies on issues of interest to council, should we agree as a United team that such measures are wanted.

Cruise ships already get pinged but we would look to increase that toll, same with tour operators.

Such measures work well in Akld, Tauranga, Rotorua & elsewhere, it's not rocket science.

I'm very approachable at our public meetings as you know so next time have a chat :)

Good on you for getting involved with these elections.

My reply With all due respect, you have not answered the questions





L

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