The Christchurch City Council had no problems finding $17 million to give to failed property developer Dave Henderson for five over-valued buildings. Nor did it have any trouble coughing up more than $2 milion for the loss-making 'Ellerslie Garden Show' - which amounted to little more than the naming rights.
However the Council has problems finding money for community groups.
Mayor Sideshow Bob and his supporters on council - including Barry Corbett, Sue Wells and David Cox - have approved cuts to community funding totalling $1.5 million.
The community grants fund a wide range of organisations including cultural groups, welfare groups and health organisations.
An amendment by Cr Yani Johanson to retain current community grant funding failed by 12 votes to two yesterday. Johanson and Cr Chrissie Williams were the only two to vote for the amendment.
Johanson pointed out that there is growing demand for community services and, in these adverse economic times, such cuts were unacceptable.
Sideshow Bob defended the cuts saying that they were intended to keep rates down. If you believe this then you will believe any old nonsense.
This is the same Sideshow Bob who schemed to give Henderson $17 million and coughed up over $2 million for an over-hyped Auckland garden show.
Clearly playing to the gallery, Sideshow has tried to portray himself as some kind of crusader for the good citizens of Christchurch.
"We should minimise the amount that we take and leave as much as we can in the pockets of people who pay rates. This is deliberately targeted at giving them a break," said Parker, the man who didn't want to give council tenants a break when he tried to whack their rents up a massive 24 percent.
Councillors David Cox and Barry Corbett both said many of the community grants were in areas they 'felt' should be funded by central government.
'Felt?' What does that mean exactly?
And who give Cox and Corbett the right to decide what and what shouldn't be funded by local councils anyway? Has there been a massive change in council policy or are Corbett and Cox just making things up as they go along? Or are they just being arrogant right wing bastards?
Of course, the suggestion that this sort of expenditure isn't a local council concern will be music to the ears of neoliberal zealot Rodney Hide, the Minister for Local Government.
He wants to see local councils concentrate on the 'cores services'. Corbett and Cox are clearly in Hide's camp. Voters should remember that when Cox and Corbett advertise themselves as 'politically independent' at the next council election.
Welfare campaigner and Council of Social Services executive officer Sharon Torstonson said the cuts were "very shortsighted".
She said community funding helped unemployed people stay connected with their community and find new employment in a recession.
'They are not seeing that we can be partners in supporting the community through the recession. Central government has cut funding and now the council is cutting funding as well. It will damage the wellbeing of the city,' she told The Press.