[November 27, 1929 – Auckland Star] At the risk of being called “the meanest in New Zealand,” the Mount Albert Borough Council decided last night not to make any contribution to the funds of the Auckland Harbour Bridge Association. When a circular detailing the proposals of the association had been read, the Mayor, Mr. L. E. Rhodes, moved that the council reply that it had insufficient data to express an opinion on the scheme.
This was strongly opposed by Mr. A. A. Buckley. “The bridge is of vital importance,” he declared. “Not only will it be the centre of our town planning scheme, but North Auckland is one of the richest district in New Zealand, and the bridge will increase its trade with the city. A little borough like Newmarket has already contributed, and we are the largest in New Zealand.” Mr. Buckley moved that the council subscribe £5.
“I do not agree,” said Mr. J. H. Langley. “Mount Albert is certainly the largest borough in New Zealand, “but it is also the most expensive in which to do anything for the ratepayers. We should not spend any money outside the borough. We have a loan, but when that is done, this borough will be the hardest in New Zealand to live in.”
“You tell us how much we will get out of the bridge, but you do not tell us how much the landed proprietors on the other side will get,” remarked another member.
Mr. B. Brigham also opposed the donation.
Another supporter of the bridge was Mr W. G. Russell. “When the bridge is built,” he declared, “a stream of motor lorries will bring the wool and butter and cheese from the North to be shipped at this port. Yet, though we are willing to be taxed at the rate of £500 per year for the museum, we squabble over £5 for the bridge.” Mr. Russell further explained that the ratepayers would not have to pay anything unless a poll were taken.
“I am sorry to think that this borough is going to be known as the meanest in New Zealand,” said Mr. Carr. “The council is taking a very narrow, parochial view of a great national endowment.”
The Mayor explained that his attitude did not signify opposition to the building of a bridge across the harbour. On that point he refused to give an opinion. His care, he said, was to safeguard the ratepayers, and if the council committed itself by subscribing to the fund, the ratepayers might be called upon to pay a big share of the cost of a commission of inquiry.
On the vote, Mr. Buckley’s amendment was defeated by a majority of one, and the Mayor’s motion was carried.
During a discussion on town planning later in the evening, the subject of the harbour bridge again came up. After a short debate, Mr. Russell handed in his resignation as the council’s delegate to the Bridge Association’s meetings.