Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Pasifika councillor says proposed Auckland budget cuts could lead to more crime

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air
Anthony To’u (middle) helping locals with their submissions. Photo: Anauli Karima Fai’ai
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Anauli Karima Fai'ai | Reporter/Director

Proposed Auckland Council budgets, announced by Mayor Wayne Brown last month, prompted an event in Mangere on the weekend, encouraging the community to have their say.

The budget cuts extend to services such as libraries, buses and community groups in an attempt to recover from a $295 million shortfall.

Organisers were compelled to organise the Mangere event in response to a low number of submissions from the Manukau area.

Councillor Lotu Fuli, says the cuts will heavily impact Pasifika people because the Mangere-Otahuhu local board would have to reduce 60% of the funding they give to community groups.

“We know that funding helps groups that helped out with the recovery of the floods, groups like our sports clubs, our church groups, our youth groups, our seniors as well,” she says.

“We’re not like the other richer areas where if those cuts are made, their groups can carry on with those activities. We can’t. We really rely on that support that we get from the council through our local boards and through our community grants.”

Polyfest organisers have also been in turmoil as one of several big Council-funded events that could also receive funding cuts.

Photo: Lorenzo Kaisara

“If council, which is meant to represent all of us in Auckland, If we say that’s not important enough for us to fund, what message does that send to our children?” Fuli says.

“It’s important to the fabric of Auckland, so council pulling their funding will have a huge impact on the organisers but also on the young people.”

Fuli adds that reducing funding to local boards to run events could have major repercussions for vulnerable members of the Pasifika community.

“If you take funding away, what’s going to be in the gap? Only crime, only those other alternative lifestyles that we know is not going to benefit us in the long run.”

Labour List MP, Lemauga Lydia Sosene, was also present to show her support, saying a major concern was the proposed reduction of hours at public libraries.

“The libraries are really important for our elderly generation, our young people – the learning, the resources, computers, access to wifi,” she told PMN Samoa.

“Can Auckland Council look at other options? Can they borrow more? Is there that financial capacity? Don’t take away the funding from this community that needs the support.”

Anthony To’u from the Cook Islands Development Agency encourages Pasifika people to get in their submissions by Tuesday, March 28th, to stop some of the proposed cuts.

“We’ll probably lose out on our libraries, lose out on our buses, you know, major events that our local board, with the help of our other Pasifika organisations, put together every year,” he says.

“Once the council takes away funding, then that’s it for us. We’ll just be locked down at home doing nothing.”

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