Pay for play is here

It’s pay for play time.   Parents, bring your cheque books.  John Morrison and colleagues delay a positive vote on artificial pitches by three months and end up with one pitch, part funded by the private sector, meaning low income families may not be able to afford for their kids to play with the rich kids.  At least it’s a result:

“Wellington will have one, maybe two, more artificial sports fields to cut the number of cancelled games next winter. Wellington City Council voted last night to pay $1.1 million to build an artificial playing surface for Wakefield Park in Island Bay.

The private sector has pledged $500,000 to help build the pitch. The council will build a second, if another $500,000 in private funding can be found in the next few months.

The cost of using the turf is estimated at $3 to $4 a player per game.”

Who’s going to vote for these two ‘villains’ in the words of Iona Pannett.

“The heated debate at last night’s council meeting – the last before next month’s elections – belied the final result: 13 voted to go ahead, councillors Rob Goulden and Bryan Pepperell did not.”

“Iona Pannett was worried that councillors who voted against the proposal would be labelled “villains”. “I don’t like being in this position.”

Thanks must be given to John Bishop and Marcus Ganley for making this an election year issue.

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5 responses to “Pay for play is here

  1. I think the credit should go to Sam Buckle and Yellow Fever. The politicians have just jumped on for fear of being labeled villains if they don’t. I think any sensible discussion about resolving field drainage has been lost in the artificial turf frenzy that some politicians think is a vote winner. Its about being able to play on fields. Its about drainage, not grass. Artificials should only be rolled out if other alternatives will not work. If anything I think it shows some politicians are one dimensional? Its why we have so much debt.

  2. What is Iona’s objection to artificial pitches? you’d think as a greenie she’d be in favour of people getting exercise, community spirit, etc

  3. Thanks Factchecker. I don’t object to artificial pitches at all, I think they are a good idea. I am also a strong proponent of the need to get people exercising (we are after all one of the most obese people in the world). My comments were not reported in full. What I did say was that I was cynical about the timing of the paper coming to Council given we are in the middle of voting at the moment. I don’t think this is the right time to deliver on a popular issue, especially given the Council had other opportunities to address issues around the pitches. It is better for politicians to make decisions like this when an election is not on and when all aspects of an issue can be examined.

    It is a matter of public record that I supported Andy Foster’s amendment to bring forward the pitch Programme (and again supported him last night when he attempted to strengthen our commitment) in June of this year whilst most of my other colleagues opposed it. I am also on public record as saying that we do need to balance the need for pitches against other important commitments such as earthquake strenthening, managing our liability from leaky homes and so on.

  4. Factchecker, if you read the previous post on this site about the issue you will see that Iona was one of only 5 councillors who voted in favour of artificial pitches in June. Morrison voted against. It’s election time so the dark arts of politics are at play now more than ever.

  5. The politics of this have certainly been messy, but I am pleased that councillors – whatever their motives – have voted for more artificials. One is good, two would be better, and even more would be better still. The new council – whoever is on it – is going to have a right ding dong over this again at draft annual plan time in February. Then better sports grounds (including more artificials) will be up against items like strengthening buildings agaisnt earthquakes and paying for leaky homes in the competition for funds. That will sharpen minds, but I do not retreat on this. Sportspeople and their families need a better deal and I am backing that.

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