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Five years as a united Auckland

Written By: - Date published: 8:00 am, October 30th, 2015 - 168 comments
Categories: auckland supercity, len brown, local body elections, local government, Politics - Tags:

Every letterbox in Auckland received a 16 page A4 full color glossy this week entitled “Five Years as a United Auckland”

Apparently five years is worth celebrating. The Councillor job interviews are coming up next year, so let’s run the ruler over this glorious propaganda.

First off, remember the Auckland Plan, the visionary document resulting from New Zealand’s greatest ever consultation? One mention.

Actual measures to hold them all accountable? Not one. A useless report card.

On the inside page, the standard greeting from Mayor Len Brown. His primary triumph over five years has been to unify the left, the right, the media, and the government in universal loathing.

We have a note from Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse who claims everything good originated in Waitakere Council. The main success being the North West shopping centre, which in reality is a sad tilt-slab paradise smaller than Lynn Mall with not a bus, bus station, or cycle lane in site.

It notes government funding for 120 emergency housing places with $.5m from Council. No mention of the pensioner flat rent increases. And has anyone noticed homelessness getting better mover the last five years? Me neither.

There’s nearly six pages of advertising for upcoming events. Stuff I could get in two clicks.

Half a page on whales. Apparently Ports of Auckland saves whales. Screws its workers over, conspires to stuff up the harbour, rebels clearly against its shareholder with no punishment, outcompeted by Tauranga, and refuses to cooperate on a good waterfront. But somehow saves whales.

But there’s transport. It says watch some videos to help you take the car less. Hardly the generation-changing campaign of a highly funded monopoly. Council can however take credit for the electric trains. The trains and the HOP card are the main delivery items of five years of work.

Five lines on the environment. Despite parks, reserves, and catchments being a quarter of the region’s land mass, and a core statutory responsibility.

A page on standing for election, which is good. But to be clear: the 2010 reforms replaced 7 Councils with 7 corporations. In this town the Chair of Auckland Transport has more power than the Mayor, in fact more power than most Cabinet Ministers.

Now let’s listen for the total absences. Watercare. By asset value one of NZ’s biggest companies. Its perpetual price increases, incredibly secretive corporate life, its civic contribution of zip. Not a mention.

No mention of the Unitary Plan, the actual result of the Auckland Plan. Clearly the biggest legal contest in Auckland history stinks too much to be held in front of citizens.

Economic development, job, or innovation, mentioned zero times. But nearly two pages on bicycling, that whitest and most male-dominated of Council pursuits.

Propaganda this saccharine, this untruthful, does not let any citizen review five years of political performance.

It is not worth celebrating.

And it is lies.

168 comments on “Five years as a united Auckland”

  1. Patrick 1

    Haven’t seen this yet but I bet they wont be celebrating the erosion of the library system. Initially this was one of the things to celebrate but now hours are reduced and charges are up. Who knows what else is in the pipeline to celebrate……

  2. dukeofurl 2

    Ah Watercare….. yes by law it ‘cant make a profit from water sales’, which is all very noble as it toils to deliver the clean bubbly fresh stuff and take away the smelly toxic stuff.
    Strange isnt it , that Housing NZ is expected to provide a profit, nay demanded to profit from its customers and this year produce a ‘capital return’ to the government as well.

    WE can all read the crystal ball and see Watercare having some little changes to its financial status in the years ahead.?

  3. tinfoilhat 3

    Failed experiment, corrupt council, rapidly increasing debt, rapidly increasing taxes on the public, of course none of this mentioned in the glossy pamphlet from the spin doctors…what a shambles.

    • Once was Tim 3.1

      It wasn’t an experiment, it was an agenda – ad one that Natzis would wish on the rest of New Zull.
      Ekshully, its a michrocosm – macrochosm of what is to be foisted on the rest of us.

      I’m not suggesting there is some grand plan … the Natzis are incapable of that.
      It’s more that a finger waving ideology that includes things like ‘small gummit’; ‘bloody hard left PC dogooders’; a diet of sugar drinks, Wendy’s or KaifC, John Key oicon hero worship; a completely benign media; a public service that isn’t; (and all the rest of it) ….. makes it almost inevitable.
      Except that when they do awaken, they’re going to be really really really pissed off.

      It’s going to be amusing to watch (funny, as in funny serious)

  4. savenz 4

    +100 – The Supercity has been a disaster in every way. Reducing democracy, increasing costs and inefficiency, creating legal disasters everywhere and the council investing in ventures like West gate malls, which is clearly not core council business. No transport improvement, no environmental improvement ( actually a lot worse). The 4 lines on environment sum it all up really. And a joke to have ports of Auckland in there with their ‘saving the whales’ propaganda.

    The supercity has decreased democracy, decreased accountability, the corporatisation of our largest city including now the councillors voting yes on opening the west coast of Auckland up to oil speculation.

    Words can’t describe how disgusted I am with Auckland Council, Auckland Transport or should we say Auckland Roading Inc. and their COO’s like ports of Auckland.

    It really is a Marie Antoinette moment when our rates are spent on a glossy mail out saying how amazing they all are with their disgusting performance in particular public transport, unnecessary legal costs by the council from their pathetic actions like Ports of Auckland and the kauri tree and the environment.

    • dukeofurl 4.1

      “investing in Westgate mall”, was a deal done BEFORE the Supercity started.

      You might say it was a gift wrapped present to be opened years later. Highly unusual to commit the council so far in advance, especially since the deal-maker , Waitakere City was going out of business very soon after the deal was done.

      • savenz 4.1.1

        Yes, someone obviously did well out of it! Not the ratepayers or anyone having to use the motorway around there. Certainly not the environment because there is no innovation at all in the design.

        The council are using rate payer money in high risk real estate ventures, not like a council should be run.

        • dukeofurl 4.1.1.1

          You are right , especially since there was an existing large mall across the road.
          Big box retail and shopping malls on the outskirts of the urban area doesnt make any sense to me.

          • Ad 4.1.1.1.1

            If I had to argue for Westgate, I’d say it’s one of the most coherent large scale masterplanned developments on Auckland’s periphery.

            But then, so was Albany shopping centre, and that still has massive undeveloped tracts 30 years later. And its roads are wide enough for the entire Napoleonic army to march through.

            For a good version of masterplanning on a greenfields site at real scale, you can’t go past Hobsonville though. Which was state run.

            • dukeofurl 4.1.1.1.1.1

              Masterplan ? What next a master race to go with it.

              Just giving a big box center a direct connection to motorway exits and throwing in a public library/ community centre?

              BTW Westage is the name of the strip mall across the road which seems to meet locals needs pretty well.

              This new boondogle goes under the name “northwest”.

              A Farmers one end with a Countdown the other and other chain stores in between, including Michael Hill on a corner right next to the food court !

              Its like saying those world wide Irish theme pubs that come out of a catalogue with fake original features are something worthwhile

              • Ad

                A masterplan is a standard planning term.
                It’s what you do when you want coherence of all services and all sequences of building over a large area.
                The kind of thing Auckland has generally avoided.

                My wife is still waiting for Ikea to arrive.

                • dukeofurl

                  There are many odious things that looked good on a plan, but usually the people that draw them up wouldnt live. They love unplanned areas like Ponsonby or Parnell.

                  Northwest and its master plan are for suburban oinks !

                  My first job was working on a masterplan for Auckland. Thank god most of it wasnt built. It was a follow up to De Leuw Cather , another bonkers master plan.

  5. Penny Bright 5

    This forced Auckland amalgamation has produced a ‘Supercity’ – for the 1%.

    The Auckland region is being run ‘like a business – by business – FOR business’.

    The mechanism for this corporate takeover has been ‘Council Controlled Organisations’ (CCOs).

    Citizens and ratepayers of the Auckland region have had no say in the choosing of the CCO model, no say in the unelected Boards of Businesspeople who control the CCOs, or any say in the Statement of Intent, which purportedly is the basis by which the elected Mayor and Councillors exercise ‘governance’ over these CORPORATE Controlled Organisations.

    Citizens and ratepayers have NO idea where hundreds of million$ of public rates monies are being spent – (by either Auckland Council, or CCOs) because ‘the books’ are NOT open.

    Have a look at your Watercare bill, and see if you can find out where ONE dollar of the money they receive from water and wastewater services is being SPENT?

    In my considered opinion, as a proven anti-corruption / anti-privatisation ‘Public Watchdog’ – under the Auckland ‘Supercity’ – there has been a massive transfer of public money to the private sector, without lawful ‘open, transparent or democratic accountability’.

    The ‘one plan’ for the Auckland region, has been ‘super’ – for whom?

    Property developers, speculators, banks, foreign investors and money-launderers?

    It’s time to take back our Auckland region from what, in my considered opinion, is corrupt corporate control.

    The first step is to OPEN THE BOOKS so we can find out where every dollar of public money is being SPENT, INVESTED and BORROWED.

    Penny Bright

    2016 Auckland Mayoral candidate.

    • Tiger Mountain 5.1

      Penny,
      any chance of picking up some of the “Minto for Mayor” items to add to the transparency and anti corruption items in your campaign?
      –free public transport
      –“Living Wage” city
      –slash the $100,000 plus salaries
      –more pensioner and other social housing

      The CCOs should be opened up like a can of beans and put on notice to behave in ratepayers interest or else

      • dukeofurl 5.1.1

        What nonsense to ‘slash $100,000 plus salaries.!!!

        Its like saying to secondary schools , slash salaries where a Step 10 salary is $73,000. Which is a standard teaching role with no additional responsibilities. Teachers arent especially highly paid for what they train for and what they do.

        You have no frigging clue about what it costs to employ professionally qualified people.

        • Tiger Mountain 5.1.1.1

          er, I have more idea than comfortably off Council tops and business lobbyists that crap on a “Living Wage” for the working poor from a great height

          apol for not writing a book in my post, but I mean slashing the overall number of $100,000 plus salaries

          • Ad 5.1.1.1.1

            You do that and you will get what you pay for.

            For example, if you want a City Rail Link designed and constructed by people who have no expertise, no international experience, and just want to go at it like a tribe of monkeys with pickaxes in a cave, well you go for it.

            If you want a world-beating post-car public transport system, you are going to have to pay overseas rates – well over $100k – because nothing like that expertise or experience exists in this country.

            • Tiger Mountain 5.1.1.1.1.1

              “Living Wage” is unaffordable but the bloated salaries can’t be avoided? ah the smell of double standards in the morning; of course genuine expertise must be paid for, but the “Minto for Mayor” campaign identified a layer of scores of what were basically puffed up shiny butts

              Wellington COC may take action against WCC for proposing implementation of “Living Wage”
              http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/73506764/chamber-considering-legal-action-against-wellington-city-council-over-living-wage

            • dukeofurl 5.1.1.1.1.2

              Thats allready done through eye watering expensive consultants.

              Its not so much the salaries, its the empire building that rate payers have a problem with.

            • weka 5.1.1.1.1.3

              You do that and you will get what you pay for.

              For example, if you want a City Rail Link designed and constructed by people who have no expertise, no international experience, and just want to go at it like a tribe of monkeys with pickaxes in a cave, well you go for it.

              If you want a world-beating post-car public transport system, you are going to have to pay overseas rates – well over $100k – because nothing like that expertise or experience exists in this country.

              TINA?

              You get what you pay for? Like people who work for the love of the project or place and a lower salary, or people with social ethics? Surely those people are valuable as well?

              NZ is a very desirable place to live internationally, I’m sure if we wanted to we could find other ways to bring suitably qualified and experienced people here.

              We could also be building local expertise.

              And if NZ were to focus on sustainability, I reckon we’d have sustainability designers, engineers etc knocking on the door.

              Not everyone in the world is greedy.

              And I don’t buy the whole duality of either pay hugely or get crap professionals. There is a big area in between.

              • Ad

                No, we’re done in New Zealand with half-rate bodge jobs.

                Check out the local failures: Southland stadium: locals.
                Canterbury TV collapse: locals.

                We’ve been trucking by in New Zealand for multiple decades thinking we can get by with the crap levels of building practice from half-assed locals who think they can do it. Leaky homes being a case in point.

                We have to simply grow up and not be held in a perpetual adolescence of crap design and crap construction. And not be afraid of getting the world’s best, for which they expect to be paid like the world’s best.

                • weka

                  Sorry, but that’s ideological. The implication is that (a) there weren’t any proficient engineers/builders in NZ to build the Southland Stadium, and that (b) international ones can’t do bodge jobs. That doesn’t make any sense. I would see those failures as being as much about the person/organisation doing the employing/contracting and 30 years of neoliberalism and fucking with the functionality of systems in NZ for the sake of the almighty dollar (including the force used in how contracts are created).

                  Sure, we could solve that by spending large amounts of money bringing in people from overseas (the neoliberals will love that), but it’s not the only solution and it’s a fairly inelegant one because it just supports the system that created the problem in the first place.

                  I don’t have the cultural cringe that you do, and know that in NZ we are competent at many things. The corollory of that is that we don’t actually have to have the best in the world. I’d settle for a half decent sewerage system instead of a hyper, super duper one if it meant that the people in that rohe earned a living wage.

                  Leaky homes was a direct result of neoliberalism, deregulation and the promotion of greed, and nothing to do with NZ crap or adolescent. Case in point, before leaky buildings we were very good at building homes that lasted a very long time. We, here in little ole backward NZ.

                  For every Southland Stadium you name, I can name a project that worked and was highly competent, and another overseas that failed. Sorry, but your logic is way off on this one.

                  • Ad

                    Tell that to the leaky home victims. Who were not the victims of regulators, but of local builders who got away with it.
                    Or the Canterbury TV Building victims. Pretty cold comfort running that argument with the families of the dead that some other local could have done a better job. Whether it were true or not.

                    The other problem you regularly face in New Zealand is that the really large jobs simply don’t happen enough to retain sufficient expertise in the country.

                    Back in the day there were not enough locals who could build the great dam and tunnel systems – so we imported them. There were not enough tunneling experts in the country that could have done Waterview’s tunnels. There are not enough in the country to do the City Rail Link.

                    And even if there were, they would expect to be paid what they were worth.

                    • RedLogix

                      The other problem you regularly face in New Zealand is that the really large jobs simply don’t happen enough to retain sufficient expertise in the country.

                      Tick

                    • BM

                      Tell that to the leaky home victims. Who were not the victims of regulators, but of local builders who got away with it.

                      What a load of fucking shit.

                • dukeofurl

                  Heard of the new airport at Berlin- Schönefeld ? From the master race no less.

                  Do I detect a cultural snobbery ? The leaky homes basic concepts came from Germany originally,( a bit got lost along the way).

                  It was ‘that they know best overseas’ attitude and over 100 years of local practice was turfed out by the morons of the Bolger Shipley years.
                  I can see a lot of that in your comments

                  • RedLogix

                    And of course it was the Labour State Housing programs of the 1930’s which saw skilled tradesmen from ‘overseas’ transform the NZ building industry. Until then we typically either built mansions for the rich, and wretched hovels for everyone else.

                    NZ technical professionals are typically world-class. In my field they have nothing whatsoever to apologise for. But at the same time experience in specific areas relating to big and specialised projects is always very limited. Simply because as Ad stated before – there just aren’t enough big project to keep us around.

                    I’m a typical example – ran out of interesting work in NZ. Which is why I’m working in Aus at the moment. As I said above – having a ball managing a project on a scale I would never have gotten anywhere near if I had stayed at home.

                    Short answer – NZ engineers are great – but the industry as a whole is global and so are the skill sets.

            • Brian Smith 5.1.1.1.1.4

              That’s the typical BS reply to those questioning the over-inflated salaries of CEO’s and other ‘manager’s’ with over OTT salaries. Absolutely no evidence to substantiate the claim but plenty of evidence to the contrary- I can list plenty, like that Telecom CEO from Scotland who we imported from BT and received $5m per year plus bonuses/incentives. Previous Telecom CEO’s who ran a monopoly had it hard on their multi-million dollar salaries!! Power company manager’s, supermarket company CEO’s, Construction/building -you name it, the NZ marketplace is dominated by either a monopoly, duopoly, or oligopoly. You have to be really shrewd and highly qualified/experienced to achieve outstanding results in the NZ market….yeah, right!

              • Ad

                Stick to local government in your discussion. That’s what we’re evaluating here.

                Evaluate Stephen Town or David Warburton if you like – they can take it.

        • Visubversa 5.1.1.2

          Council employs a lot of professional people, Engineers, Surveyors, Planners, Architects, Building specialists etc to do the stuff that Council really needs to do to deliver the services that make the City. With all those professions Council has to compete with the private sector for people. If you pay second rate salaries for those jobs, you get very second rate people. At the moment, with the building industry booming, people like Planners can walk out of Council and join a consultancy for at least $10,000 a year more than Council pays.

          The jobs that should be scrutinised are the managment jobs at the upper levels which are now infested with business types, and the lower level communications and HR type bullshit jobs which are full of overpaid prats.

          • Tiger Mountain 5.1.1.2.1

            bingo!

            • Visubversa 5.1.1.2.1.1

              And when the staff are not there, but the work is still coming in – it has to go out to consultants. Many of the consultants are the staff who left and who have not been replaced. Council can get people straight out of Uni, but they cannot get the intermediate and senior people who have the experience to do the more complex work. That goes out the door to the consultants. And has the extra cost.

          • RedLogix 5.1.1.2.2

            Exactly – and which is why small councils struggle to attract and retain the level of expertise they necessary to do their job these days. They just can’t afford to pay enough.

            For instance if you want automation engineers who can design, build and operate world-class water supply systems – $60k pa isn’t going to cut mustard.

            • dukeofurl 5.1.1.2.2.1

              Oh please, no Council would employ someone to do that. That would be a short term contract.
              Not a good example

              But Whanganui did contract their waste disposal design out to a national consulting engineers, and got a lemon. Its closed and sewerage is pumped out to sea.
              Kaipara used expensive Auckland consultants and got a decent system waste disposal system but was far too expensive for their needs.

              Big expensive consultants make big expensive stuff ups.

              • Ad

                Kaipara was a far bigger problem than that, as the court cases proved.

              • RedLogix

                Oh please, no Council would employ someone to do that.

                erff …. choke. So what did I spend 8 years of my life employed by a Council to do?

                In my considerable experience in this area I am firmly convinced that short-term contracts deliver exceedingly poor value for money. As your two examples demonstrate.

                Of course there is no objection to contracting specialist skills – but only when you also have the in-house expertise to manage and supervise what they are doing. Which probably is why both Whanganui and Kaipara lost control of the process.

                • Ad

                  Agree in Whanganui case.

                  In Kaipara the Finance Department was too weak to link properly with its Comms and Stakeholder people to deliver the LTCCP mandate to survive the legal challenges. They fully deserved having a Commissioner brought in.

                  • dukeofurl

                    That was the aftermath.

                    The reality involved such nasty things a rural council shouldnt touch with a 10 ft pole called PPP, other things are blurry now , as expected that ‘cant be located in the files’ even when copies were sent to the councils solicitors.

                    ABN Amro played lead financier using NZ investors who took the council for a ride.

                    “Because we were unable to obtain a copy of the benchmark, we were unable to assess properly how the Core Assessment Team concluded that Simon Engineering’s proposal was going to be cheaper during the wastewater scheme’s operation, compared to KDC building and operating the scheme itself.” OAG report.

                    They wanted to ‘do something’ , they relied on outside experts, they were too stupid to know who stupid they were, and the files were cleansed to cover it all up.

          • Naturesong 5.1.1.2.3

            To a point.

            People do not choose one job over another because of the cash.

            It is very common for people in the public sector to work long hours for poor pay because they wish to contribute in meaningful ways to the communities they serve.
            You probably know someone or have a family member like that yourself.

            Once a person has enough to meet their and their families needs without struggling, it is purpose not money that motivates people.

            • BM 5.1.1.2.3.1

              Lol, your average council worker does fuck all and are grossly over paid for the little they do.

              Absolutely no accountability either.

              • RedLogix

                That is an exceedingly dated prejudice which bears zero relationship to reality. Seriously wrong BM.

                • BM

                  Good one.

                  I speak from recent experience.

                  Council workers would have to be the most useless, lazy , shameless bunch of pen pushers you could ever come across.

                  They have no work ethic and don’t give a a fuck if they ever do anything because there’s no one to pull them up on it.

                  Councils should out source as much as possible and then fire the rest because it’s the only way the rate payer is ever going to get any value for money.

                  • b waghorn

                    So we sack all those people in the pursuit of saving money and then what??
                    I grew up next to murupara and there was close to full employment,
                    They weren’t by all accounts that productive in the forestry but it was a lively community , privatisation came along and killed the place .

                    • BM

                      No, we sack all these people so we’re not stuck with a useless pack of no hopers.
                      The money saved then can either go towards a reduction in rates or spent on something which the community will get value from.

                      Not, propping up a large group of lazy over paid leeches with the work ethic of a stoned sloth.

                  • b waghorn

                    When you say source I here “hire consultants” now you would be hard pressed to find a bigger bunch of blood sucking leechs then you’re average consultant. Shit you can employ 5 or 6 over paid lazy buggers to one consultant.

                  • John Shears

                    BM You are entitled to your opinion but your continual use of bad language is boring and unhelpful.
                    BTW I disagree with your statement above based on personal experience. May be it is you and your attitude rather than them.

    • Reddelusion 5.2

      Doesn’t help the super city when bludgers don’t pay thier rates

  6. Rosemary McDonald 6

    On the list of things to celebrate is the loss of work to local contractors. Work that the local councils used to contract out to local businesses now goes up for tender…in theory.

    How can it be more economical for a company from South Auckland to beetle up SH16 to the Kaipara to do infrastructure work?

    • Ad 6.1

      They generally pick up the work as subconsultants to the main contractors.

      • Rosemary McDonald 6.1.1

        That could be happening now. The seriously disgruntled digger man I was chatting with up Port Albert way a few years back was on the warpath.

        • Ad 6.1.1.1

          There’s a little firm up there run by a Maori family – I thin it’s Tapora? They have not done well, whereas they did fine out of Rodney. There’s no doubt the smaller contractors have been hit hard.

          • Cricklewood 6.1.1.1.1

            I dont think that it is exactly common knowledge but the big infrastructure companies like Downers etc lobbied/lobby very hard for amalgamations of local bodies themselves or the maintenance contracts into very large super contracts.
            The end goal with regards to this was to produce contracts that are to big/require to much capex for smaller local firms to tender thus shunting them out of the market. When the contracts are smaller Downers and the like with there massive overheads can’t compete with local firms with much smaller overheads and thus miss out.
            Councils like this approach as it gives them one point of contact for all of there contracts rather than several smaller contractors ignoring of course that A, the total contract cost is much higher and B, the local companies often care about there work as the owner is likely to we’ll known in the community, they sponsor local events and spend there profits locally rather than ship them off to the share holders.

            • RedLogix 6.1.1.1.1.1

              Which I agree is a real problem. I hate that sort of thing.

              All that is necessary to fix it is for the Council to direct staff towards designing the tenders and contracts so as the local businesses get a fair shot at it.

              It’s not hard, I’ve done it myself several times. It’s just a policy issue.

              • Cricklewood

                It’s very easy to do, the council I used to contract to in my previous postion saw the light and started to splinter there contracts into quite small sizes circa 100-300k for a three year term. The savings generated paid for another council officer and theb some. The particular contracts I was involved with actually declined in tender value as once we had cleaned up the mess left behind by the previous ‘large contractor’ we could keep the work covered at a lower cost to council.
                I would love to see a left wing party take up as policy reform to local govt mandating smaller contract sizes.

    • tc 6.2

      It’s not and that’s why UFB is struggling as it’s contractors travel large distances and they’re finding under the pay scale from chorus/CFH there’s better work closer to base.

  7. JP up North 7

    Further on from dukeofurl comment #2

    Watercare supplies the likes of Coca Cola with a liter of H2O for mere cents. They put it in a big mixer add some bubbles, flavouring and lots of sugar and kick it out the door for $$. Massive public subsidy of big business profits when many from the other end of town are getting smashed so Bill can flaunt his surplus. Multiply this by the number of other businesses also getting unlimited cheap access to top quality potable water.

    Where are all those right wing proponents of user pays now??

  8. Penny Bright 8

    I’m campaigning against CCOs and for Council services and regulatory functions to be returned ‘in house’ under the ‘public service’ model.

    As soon as you get into contracting (privatisation) – you get into contract management.

    Because Council staff are seen as being ‘too dumb’ to know how to do contract management – that gets contracted out to consultants – who ‘project manage’ the works contractors.

    But how many contractors actually do the work?

    How many contracts are then sub-contracted?

    Each private ‘piggy in the middle’ – with their snout in the trough?

    How many layers of private sector – for profit ‘contractocracy, compared with a single layer of public service, not for profit ‘bureaucracy’?

    The first step in order to follow the dollar – OPEN THE BOOKS!

    My Mayoral campaign will be a full frontal assault on the neo-liberal ‘Rogernomics’ model, of which here in Auckland we have had two doses.

    Why should the public majority not benefit from OUR public money?

    Why should the public subsidise that which we no longer own, operate or manage?

    Take ‘public transport’.

    In Auckland there is no such thing.

    There is publicly subsidised private passenger transport – but we’re not being told how much these subsidies cost the public, because these private passenger companies are claiming ‘commercial sensitivity’.

    How do I know?

    Because I’ve asked….

    Penny Bright

    2016 Auckland Mayoral candidate

    • dukeofurl 8.1

      You are right Penny. I have seen a small section of footpath laid for Auckland Transport, with the contractor being an Australian multi national Transfield. is there no small NZ business that can do this stuff without the massive overheads for a serco type business ?

      The list of Council vendors is here -excluding CCO’s

      http://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/EN/newseventsculture/mediacentre/Documents/vendorspendreport.pdf

      Madison Recruitment is paid $9.7 mill, its staggering, plus $250K for temps from the same company.
      A business Trading as Recreational Services Ltd gets over $12 mill

      • Ad 8.1.1

        And if you brought all of that in-house, what would happen?

        • dukeofurl 8.1.1.1

          Ask Kaipara District council what the cost of putting it out for private players to BOOT.
          AS for Madison, recruitment is a core activity for council with some 7000 employees. Maybe you do senior executives that way.
          How many other companies that size use agencies to that extent.

          • Ad 8.1.1.1.1

            They’d chew through something like that just sot keep their Board members refreshed. At any scale like that it’s ugly – and the problem with Auckland is that it’s too big to be compared within anything in New Zealand other than Fonterra and Air New Zealand. The other benchmarks of relevance are places like Brisbane, Toronto, GLC, even Paris.

            It’s now something that’s far too big for New Zealand – as is Auckland itself.

    • Tiger Mountain 8.2

      to Penny, again, hope you can get some social media coverage at least this time and a grass roots campaign going because no one else is going to be raising such issues,

      don’t be put off by false calls for “left unity” from Labour Party activists with the likes of Phil Goff and the ‘lesser evil’ argument, Phil will be an acceptable Mayor to the business lobby if they can’t get one of their ACT type wonks in, for obvious reasons

      a good hard left campaign needs to be run, you and Minto got good votes combined last time despite being starved of media and campaign resources

      • Mike the Savage One 8.2.1

        I would agree, that there must be some serious discussion on the “true left” in Auckland. It is not going to help having Penny Bright and John Minto both run for mayor, as that is splitting the vote. There are also some others, that would run and somehow be leaning to the left. If we had one candidate, that is NOT Phil the Goof, then we may have a chance to put a significant number of votes behind a truly progressive candidate and have a real showing.

        Phil Goff would be just a slightly more “polished” version of Len Brown, one happy to do deals with big business and with the ones pulling the strings from high places. NO thanks to that, we need a real alternative and put the power back into the hands of the voters and residents of Auckland!

    • dukeofurl 8.3

      Penny here is a ‘mayoral position paper’ on outside contracting. Its by Ernst and Young, who seem to have a ‘lock’ on these sort of things.
      http://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/SiteCollectionDocuments/aboutcouncil/mayorelectedrepresentatives/mayoralpositionpaperonppps20131127.pdf

      The interesting bit is towards the end about Mornington Council on outskirts of Melbourne after amalgamation

      “Shortly after amalgamation, council ceased to carry out any road infrastructure services in-house, opting for a
      100% out-sourced delivery model. Works were planned and procured largely on an annual basis according to
      demand. Resealing, major patching, rehabilitation and reconstruction were procured under separate, short-term
      contracts.
      Council found that this approach was not resulting in optimal outcomes for roads maintenance. In particular:
      ► The road network asset condition was in decline
      ► The approach to road network maintenance, repair and renewal was fragmented
      ► There was limited opportunity for innovation
      ► There was little integration between renewal and maintenance activities
      ► There was a focus on short-term planning to meet short term objectives – generally limited to 12 month
      periods – yet there were long-term performance risks
      ► Separate contracts were not cost effective or administratively efficient
      ► Short-term contracts led to frequent contract variations.

      Sound familiar, but the EY answer is a PPP agreement !!

      The 100% private scheme fails so lets go even bigger that way with a locked in 15 year term ( but no realistic hope of getting out even after that).
      You can bet the first 5 years will be all ‘plumped pillows’ and then downhill for 10 years after that with the last 5 years atrocious.

      You can see the usual tricks in play very soon after the contract began:

      ” the contract was awarded to Emoleum (which was subsequently acquired by Downer EDi)”

      The private owners of the smaller company , cash out the contract immediately for tax free payments, and then the bigger crafty company will play games with the numpties left at the Council.
      Sounds a lot like Serco.
      Plus the big drop in oil prices would have made big savings in road bitumen costs, which the Council will never see ( but I bet there was an ‘escalator clause’ if they rose.

      • Ad 8.3.1

        Auckland Transport’s road network maintenance is divided between a handful of large management areas, which are all contracted out. The biggest problem over the five years has been to enable a single level of service across every kind of network to be met and reached.

        In some legacy areas, footpaths were in far better shape than others. Same with the age of the neighbourhood itself.

        The “level of service” approach makes their condition a purely technical exercise to delivery, rather than one with any democratic input, which is both good and bad.

        • dukeofurl 8.3.1.1

          “Single level of service?”

          Which means what, just spouting management jargon gets us nowhere.

          With a lot of Auckland medium contracts, bidder collusion is rife, to share out the work load.
          I think Council should have a much bigger participation on maintenance, with its own crews. Its not rocket science doing road works.

          • Ad 8.3.1.1.1

            Duke, you clearly have no idea of the public sector at all.

            A “level of service” is a measure that the organization is held to by their shareholder and their customer.

            Achieve a level of service ie be able to go anywhere across Auckland, look at a kilometer of pavement and say, “it’s x milimetres uneven, y number of cracks, had z number of accidents”…

            …and then be held to it when the next funding round comes by.

            When you then generate is a “level of service agreement”, which is the promise you make, in order to get the reward of funding.

            • dukeofurl 8.3.1.1.1.1

              Its you that has no idea.
              Its just a buzz word about ‘stuff’

              Whats this thing called ‘shareholder’ – absurd corporate word if there ever was one when referring to roads.

              If you think they are really talking about ‘cracks’ you need to to take off the rose tinted glasses.

              Do you have a computer tablet and service level agreement for ‘potholes’ too, along with the 17 different varieties?

              I recently checked with AT about their assesment of roads in Auckland that are classified for HPT trucks?

              There answer was there wasnt one, someone just drove along one day.

              These ‘service levels’ are are done as snow jobs for idiots, with all the 21st jargon and high class bullshit that goes with it.
              Believe me I used to write this sort of stuff for a living, one paragraph of real information, 5 pages of filler for people who have a ‘read a report’ mentality.
              And I kept mine to a minimum, other consultants would do 10 pages plus.

              • Ad

                Well then, pop along to the next Auckland CCO Performance Review Committee – you will see precisely what a crack in the pavement is measured in.

                And if you don’t like the jargon, you’re an amateur.
                Every large bureaucracy generates them, because they are the only way of stabilizing what anyone is talking about.

                It’s true that local government on this scale creaks at the seams – it’s generated a huge political and bureaucratic imbalance.

              • Ad

                If you asked the AT Asset Management team you will find that they have audited all their bridges for the new HPMV’s, and so have NZTA. You’ve clearly not got the right departmental access.

                • dukeofurl

                  NZTA have done so, as you would expect.

                  AT , through their consultants have not. They denied any assessment has been done.
                  You are just assuming it. Its only ONE road too.

                  • Ad

                    No, I’m not assuming it.

                  • dukeofurl

                    Just looked back to check. They say no report was done other than a desk study using topographical maps ??? and a visual check ( presumably a drive along.)
                    This is not just an occasional HPMV, they are a very heavy user. Driving along which takes 15 min or so , easily count 6 or so ( they have a little sign at front)

                    • Ad

                      Fair enough I was going by their published Asset Management Plan which came out about a month ago.

                    • dukeofurl

                      This came up at Transport blog, someone asked about it at some meet the local yokels day, and the answer from AT was :
                      ‘ do you know how much rates NZ Steel pays ?( just over a $1m)

                    • dukeofurl

                      Just checked 2015-2018 Asset Management plan.
                      No mention of HPMV?

                      Maybe you got the ‘international consultants version’

          • millsy 8.3.1.1.2

            A few smaller councils still do that — albeit by parcelling their works departments off into CCO’s and contracting them back. Wairoa DC, South Waikato DC, Waikato DC, Westland DC, Rotorua DC, and of course, Dunedin CC and Christchurch still control their works departments via CCO’s. Palmerston North still has its rubbish collection in house.

      • Macro 8.3.2

        Totally agree Duke – have also seen far too much of this bullshit. In the UK the realization that PPP’s are just more jobs for the boys, (and don’t expect any improvement in standards but a steady decline )is now the common experience.
        eg
        ‘From a more critical side, Blanc-Brude et al. (2006) conducted a careful regression analysis across EU countries and found that PPPs were 24% more expensive than expectations from traditional procurement and registered about the same magnitude of traditional project cost-over-runs. Fitzgerald (2004) argued that the size of costs savings claimed for Australian PPPs was largely dependent on the discount rate used (with a lower discount rate suggesting a cost increase of 6 percent rather than the 9 percent cost saving estimated using the higher discount rate). Hodge (2005) therefore concluded that public agencies need a careful judgment before entering into PPPs. Vining and Boardman (2008) judged only one half of the Canadian PPPs reviewed as successful, and in a similar vein Jupe (2009) viewed PPPs as an ‘imperfect solution’ for transport in the UK.”
        from
        http://www.oecd.org/dac/evaluation/IOBstudy378publicprivatepartnershipsindevelopingcountries.pdf pg 46

    • Reddelusion 8.4

      Funny that you complain about subsidies but are happy for rate payers to subsidise your rates

  9. weka 9

    Here’s what the sustainability people were saying 40 years ago about large scale governance and economics, eg EF Schumacher’s Small is Beautiful – Economics as if People Mattered

    Looking back over the intervening almost four decades, the book’s influence has been enormous. “Small is beautiful” was a radical challenge to the 20th century’s intoxication with what Schumacher described as “gigantism”. For several decades, mass production methods were producing more cheap goods than ever before; the mass media and mass culture opened up new opportunities to a wider audience than ever. It was creating bigger markets and bigger political entities – his book came on the eve of the vote on the European Common Market in 1975 – but he believed such scale led to a dehumanisation of people and the economic systems that ordered their lives.

    One of the recurrent themes through the book is how modern organisations stripped the satisfaction out of work, making the worker no more than an anonymous cog in a huge machine. Craft skill was no longer important, nor was the quality of human relationship: human beings were expected to act like adjuncts to the machines of the production line. The economic system was similarly dehumanising, making decisions on the basis of profitability rather than human need: an argument that played out most dramatically in the 80s coal miners’ strike. What Schumacher wanted was a people-centred economics because that would, in his view, enable environmental and human sustainability.

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/nov/10/small-is-beautiful-economic-idea

    • RedLogix 9.1

      One of the recurrent themes through the book is how modern organisations stripped the satisfaction out of work, making the worker no more than an anonymous cog in a huge machine.

      Not always. The most rewarding and best job I ever had was working for the largest one.

      Of course it is very true that large scale entities are prone to the worst of this kind of de-humanisation. But ultimately it’s more to do with the values and motives of it’s senior managers than the effect of size itself.

      And the number of layers of management. I made myself really unpopular by pointing out once that the entity only of 50 people I was working for, had more layers of management than the one of 25,000 I had previously been employed by.

      More reporting layers means the decision makers tend to be isolated from the impact of their decisions – which is a challenge – but a solvable one.

      • weka 9.1.1

        “The most rewarding and best job I ever had was working for the largest one.”

        Sure, there will always be individuals who do well. But that’s not what Schumacher was talking about.

        “But ultimately it’s more to do with the values and motives of it’s senior managers than the effect of size itself.”

        The Small is Beautiful contention (as I understand it) is that the larger the organisation the more inherently dehumanising it is. So while it is possible to have large organisations with better values, in general we don’t. The reason for this is because the larger you go the less ability there is to remain human focussed, it’s inherent in the scale.

        So theoretically solvable, but in practice is doesn’t turn out that way.

        • RedLogix 9.1.1.1

          So the organisation I worked for that had solved the problem was only theoretical?

          Good oh – there was a decade of my life I must have imagined.

          • weka 9.1.1.1.1

            Nice side stepping of the points made Red. That was quick.

            • RedLogix 9.1.1.1.1.1

              Nope I addressed your point head on.

              You claimed larger the organisation the more inherently dehumanising it is.

              I pointed out that I have direct experience of at least one large organisation that was not. In fact quite the opposite. Nor was I alone in “doing well” – despite my modest status in the scheme of things. Nor is this the only example I can point to.

              So my personal experience contradicts your claim that size is inherently dehumanising. I’ve noted above that of course large organisations are prone to this – but it is not inevitable. There are solutions and they are not theoretical.

              • Interesting discussion.

                Surely the bigger the organisation the bigger the bureaucracy, which by its nature is dehumanising – doesn’t it have to be to work? Although there may be examples of the apparent opposite can those examples counter the scale point raised by weka?

                maybe the word ‘inherently’ is the problem but for me it is correct.

                • RedLogix

                  marty

                  I absolutely agree that big organisations are prone to this – I’ve said so twice now.

                  But the solutions are pretty simple and well known:

                  1. A CEO who isn’t a marketing or finance person. Someone who actually played his/her part in building the real business.

                  2. Someone with personal ethics who insists of setting the standard and tone for the organisation.

                  3. No more than 3 – 6 layers of managerial reporting.

                  4. Push all decision making as low down the organisation as possible.

                  5. An HR Department that is driven to invest in people and to protect them as the organisations most valuable asset.

                  This isn’t an exhaustive list by any means – but it’s a starting point.

                  • Ad

                    Large-scale cross-cutting projects also help as well – stuff that forces horizontal cooperation is the stuff that decreases organizational ossification.

                    • RedLogix

                      Yes … the organisation I’m in now does this on a small scale. The tendency to form silos is common to all organisations pretty much regardless of size – and it’s not easy to overcome.

                  • John Shears

                    Well said Red
                    I started as a cadet in 1945 with a (then) large Public company with a factory employing 300 plus about 30 retail branches from Whangarei to Invercargill.
                    Created and managed by practical people who respected the individual’s contribution regardless of age or background.
                    Executives were well paid but not like today and worked long hours when needed. There was no HR Dept. , A Public Accountant with shares in the company became the Chairman and the company folded a few years later.
                    Q.E.D. as my maths master used to say.

  10. RedLogix 10

    In 20 years time will anyone want to de-merge Auckland back into the 20 or so little podunk boroughs it was when I was a lad?

    Will Christchurch suddenly have a rush of blood and decide to split itself into a dozen little councils?

    People always moan and bitch about amalgamations and increased scale – but in the long run the advantages always outweigh the disadvantages.

    • dukeofurl 10.1

      Who said anything about the 20 or so boroughs from before the mid eighties , 30 years ago.

      There were 4 cities plus 2 mostly rural councils before amalgamation.

      Please try to keep up.

    • weka 10.2

      Never mind in 20 years, I’d like to see it happen now. But I’m not sure that anyone is suggesting that Auckland demerge back into 20 dull and insignificant boroughs, strange that you would frame it as either supercity or backwards and boring. There are other options.

      • RedLogix 10.2.1

        Yeah but whenever you put this kind of thing to a democratic vote – any proposal for increasing amalgamation is ALWAYS voted down.

        Classic example is the Wairarapa with three stupid little councils. They turned down an amalgamation in the last round of reform some 20 years ago, and recently they’ve vociferously rejected any amalgamation into a Wellington regional city.

        But along the way there is a belated and grudging admission that a lesser amalgamation into a single Wairarapa entity has become inevitable – the three existing ones being no longer viable.

        A decision they should have made 20 years ago.

        • weka 10.2.1.1

          no longer viable in a wider system of neoliberalism. But viable under other models. It really comes down to what we think councils are for.

          • dukeofurl 10.2.1.1.1

            Im with you on that one. They only become ‘non viable’ when you scale them up to say Auckland size. But for Wairarapa it seems they are totally inscale.

            One big council wont work for them either, as they are stable or declining in population.
            More important things are education , healthcare, communications.
            Itsy little roading and sewerage projects are best left to bodies close to the public.

            You see signs of grandiosity from big city planners who move down to towns like Palmerston North. Absurd one way streets, and clearways and other such rubbish, they think they are still in Sydney .

          • Ad 10.2.1.1.2

            That’s where this scale of merger brings full circle closure between a hard-right “get rid of democratic governance” objective and a hard-left “strong and large state” objective. Both enable much larger and longer-reaching decisions.

            That centralizing dynamic is certainly not limited to “neoliberalism”.

            The argument about centralization has passed for this generation at least.
            The real debate is the policy framework and governance mechanisms to operate it with.

    • Ad 10.3

      This post isn’t proposing any such thing.

      All it’s doing is bewailing the inability to hold Council through its propaganda to account for its own performance.

      • RedLogix 10.3.1

        I realise that Ad.

        But everyone carries on as if the Auckland Supercity was a disaster – yet with the passing of time it will sort itself out and in another 20 odd years no-one will dream of undoing it.

        • Ad 10.3.1.1

          Well, the last lot of Auckland’s cities only lasted just over 20 years before they were merged out of existence. And like the boiling frog, you don’t miss democracy unless you’re trying to stop something. By which time you find you’re cooked.

          • RedLogix 10.3.1.1.1

            I get that. Democracy doesn’t scale well – even if many of the other functions of Local Govt do. It’s a well understood problem.

            What I reject is the knee-jerk rejection of scale so common on the left.

            Certainly the world is full of examples of size and scale done badly – but that does not mean it must always be done badly.

            In fact when size is done well – nothing can touch it. And that’s the kind of question I like to see the left explore more.

            • dukeofurl 10.3.1.1.1.1

              Do you sell snakes and ladders games?

              Because that what it sounds like.

              • RedLogix

                Knee meet jerk

                • dukeofurl

                  Certainly…
                  the world is full..

                  You have no idea of running anything bigger than a small people mover, yet you claim global knowledge…
                  Go figure

                  • RedLogix

                    Right now I’m in the factory commissioning an $800m project. Bigger than a small people mover.

                    So go fuck yourself.

            • One Two 10.3.1.1.1.2

              Lacking in public consultation, sold on lies and deceit ensures ‘success’ will be defined by the smallest percentage of ‘ stakeholders ‘

              • RedLogix

                Oh I’ve been as critical as anyone of the way Rodney Hide set about creating the Supercity – but that’s a political problem to be solved.

    • maui 10.4

      Considering all our councils are bankrupt and merging them increases the debt burden and generally makes things more top heavy and unsustainable, then I think demerging is more probable. Also with amalgamation being deeply unpopular among the public doesn’t help their viability. The larger you become no matter whether you’re a governing structure or company lessens your life span I think.

      • Ad 10.4.1

        I still can’t figure out what MBIE has achieved for New Zealand beyond its statutory regulatory functions. Same problems of over-amalgamation there.

        • RedLogix 10.4.1.1

          Or more accurately Ad – amalgamation without useful purpose.

          The various entities that Joyce smashed together to form MBIE were sufficiently diverse and discrete that there was not much to be gained by merging them.

          While I’m not afraid of scale and size (as so many here are) – I’m also aware that it is not an end unto itself or a universal pancea. Sometimes it doesn’t make sense.

          • Ad 10.4.1.1.1

            Yes there are definitely a few mergers that need to happen when there’s a new government installed.

            Housing NZ and all its idiots would be on my personal list.

            As would Kiwirail and NZTA.

            And a few others.

            My post was not a criticism of Auckland Council and its CCOs per se – rather only against its self-serving in-house propaganda.

  11. Wayne 11

    The Standard’s authors needs to start proposing solutions, rather than just constantly complaining.

    On the big things the unified council was put into place to do, they are actually doing pretty well. There is at least now a sense of purpose on the overall direction of the city that simply did not exist before.

    Sure there are the usual concerns about rates, numbers of staff, but these are perennial problems of local government and are not really related to having a single council. But they do need fixing.

    Once the unified plan is fully in place, things will be a lot easier to understand.

    there are some improvement to be done that could could give more responsibility to Local Boards.

    Reviewing the Auckland City legislation would make sense, now that the initial implementation has been achieved. Maybe the new council should appoint an independent panel, with public input to do just that.

    • dukeofurl 11.1

      The big city stuff is still unsolved, the perennials about costs and staff were THE PROBLEM they were supposed to solve.

      Remember we had a regional council for the big stuff, which they did pretty well.

      The Councillors are still intensely parochial and trade off support for each others projects.

      • Wayne 11.1.1

        The rates bill and staffing issues were not the main reason for single council. I know, I was part of the process of getting the single council into existence.

        The main reason was to get a single plan and vision for the city. To be able to deal with the big issues, like how should the city develop, like a unified transport plan, like the future of the port, and the location and nature of regional amenities.

        On these things we are seeing a much better approach from the single council. Sure there is work to do, but in my view we are way ahead of where we would have been without the unified council.

        • Tracey 11.1.1.1

          Was part of your approach to make it easier for Central Govt to impose its policy on a single entity rather than having to impose it across 8 different councils?

        • Ad 11.1.1.2

          That’s true – which makes it all them more rich that this specific central government are clearly incapable of governing to address exactly the issues you mention.

          So far, the Key government have rejected and undermined Auckland Council’s decisions on:
          – Its transport plan
          – Its housing plan
          – Its RMA framework
          – Its funding plan
          …and in fact runs interference on everything it was set up for.

          Rather than growing up and cooperating, like its own legislation five years ago required.

        • Naturesong 11.1.1.3

          You mean those things that ARC and ARTA used to do under a more accountable governance model?

          The stuff that would be impeded at every juncture by local Cit Rat councillers for petty political point scoring?

    • Grant 11.2

      Is that you telling The Standard’s authors how to write their posts Wayne?

      • tc 11.2.1

        No that’s wayne saying everything is fine we just need to make a few tweaks with an ‘independant’ review.

        Rebstock will be available for it no doubt, or wyatt etc

      • dukeofurl 11.2.2

        To be honest Wayne should become a Standard author!

        Im sure he still has a few lefty views from way back

      • Tracey 11.2.3

        Yes it is and it’s also Wayne not commetning here anymore… oh wait, was that just bluff and bluster to avoid answering questions which he didnt want to…

    • Wainwright 11.3

      The solutions are obvious. Get rid of Len Brown, end the fiction of “council controlled organisations” which are anything but council-controlled, and give the people of Auckland a real say in what happens in their communities.

      For the rest of New Zealand it’s simple. Don’t let the same stupid undemocratic process happen to you. Amalgamate on your terms, not Wellington’s.

      • dukeofurl 11.3.1

        What is wrong with Len Brown ? The job cant just be a continuing revolving door, and we are lucky Banks didnt win, very lucky that crook didnt make it.

        The rest of your stuff is just Hogwarts fiction. A real say in what happens ?

        Oh please. I Bet you havent thought past the buzz words.

        • Wainwright 11.3.1.1

          Len Brown couldn’t even stand up for port workers when POAL were leaking their private info to Cam Slater. If he stands and wins this time it would only be because the right in Auckland are useless fucks.

          Sorry you think democracy is just a buzz word.

          • dukeofurl 11.3.1.1.1

            The board of POAL has changed quite a bit since then, and its not a coincidence.
            Standing up for people you know nothing about again, oh …yawn

            • ian 11.3.1.1.1.1

              No I know nothing about him AT ALL. But attraction works differently doesn’t it?

              There is an underlying current with attraction- as they say ‘opposites attract’.

            • Naturesong 11.3.1.1.1.2

              Both Tony Gibson and Wayne Thompson are still there.

              • dukeofurl

                Zap. Just checked and they are gone gone goooooone.

                • Might be some confusion, they are management, CEO and CFO respectively and are the ones who used a public utility to wage an ideological war against their staff.

                  If the board has changed as you say, why are these two still employed?

      • Ad 11.3.2

        Wainwright let me step you through the consequences of merging all those CCOs in-house.

        There would be no staff efficiencies – there’s a rolling set of restructures that keeps everyone working inside pretty damn hard. Plus lost several thousands in the merger.

        There would be no fewer $100K plus salaries – if you want the job done you will simply pay what the global demand for that kind of skill demands.

        There would be decreased transparency – because instead of 7 CCO Boards you would simply have 12,000+ staff reporting to (say) 7 committees, who would be stacked against 20 Councillors and 1 Mayor.

        There would be a total and complete monopoly on price for water, parking, consents, fees, and absolutely no competition or regulator to stop them.

        And there would be the most massive exodus of service professionals out of Auckland to parts of the world who welcomed them (engineers, lawyers, accountants, technical specialists). Those are your remaining middle class.

        Think all of it through.

        • Wainwright 11.3.2.1

          Never said it would be easy. Any organisation as big as Auckland is going to involve a massive bureaucracy. But when you’re saying “the Chair of Auckland Transport has more power than the Mayor,” you’re saying that the people of Auckland have no real say in how Auckland is run. Unless we start electing the chairs of the CCOs too. Another red-tape nightmare.

          • Ad 11.3.2.1.1

            It is definitely a red tape nightmare.

            They are exceedingly fortunate with the AC CE Stephen Town.
            He works well, despite the massive machinery and despite politicians both local and central not making his tasks easier.

    • Ad 11.4

      Only the weakest of the political biosphere can’t take criticism.
      If they can’t take their brochure being criticized, it’s time to get out of the business.

      Think it through Wayne: imagine if central government tried publishing this kind of propaganda well outside an election. The shit would rain down. As it should.

      • RedLogix 11.4.1

        PS

        Great thread mate. Well done.

        • Ad 11.4.1.1

          Cheers!
          Great to see your deep local government experience on display here.

          The post was unusually harsh for me but honestly I was just incensed at the Council spin machine thinking they weren’t going to get called out.

    • Tracey 11.5

      “The Standard’s authors needs to start proposing solutions, ”

      You get paid alot of money to come up with solutions at the Law Commission Wayne (or to read the proposals of the employees there).

      I and other rtaxayers shell out about quarter of a million to pay for your current opinion on that set of solutions.

      Before that as a Cabinet Minister we paid you even more (when you add in perks and expenses), so climb down off your santiconious high horse aye.

      Authors here get paid nothing.

      • dukeofurl 11.5.1

        Theres a Wayne, no relation over at Instapundit proposing the POAL be moved to make way for latte drinkers.

        No mention that Auckland has plenty of wonderful location son its waterfront.
        No mention a lot of wharves around viaduct to Princes wharf opened up to public.

        BUT if you were an inhabitant of Parnell they would wonder when the container wharf went into some one else back yard.

        The billions that it would cost would miraculously be paid by selling said waterfront land to high rise apartments that would block off public access or views, unless you were on the heights of Parnell.
        Total uncosted nonsense of course.

        I would have though the car transporters could just use another port !, but silly me doesnt understand such things

    • Mike the Savage One 11.6

      Yep, Auckland Council doing deals with large developers and construction businesses, such as Ockham Holdings, Fletcher Residential, so to ram through a PAUP and ignore most the concerns of ordinary residents, to build up, to intensify, to create the future ghettoes of a “Super City”, so we become like any other large city on this planet. Real progress that is, I suppose.

      Minimum dwelling size 30 sqm, NO dwelling mix required, no density rules for Terrace Housing and Apartment Building and Mixed Housing Urban zones, very liberal density rules for Mixed Housing Suburban zones, and now even a very liberal rule approach for the Single Housing zone. I hear that Aucklanders just “love” it, Wayne, prepare for a ratepayer’s revolt, if this proceeds as anticipated, and Council giving in to the developer lobby.

      Some intensification and development is needed, but Council is NOT even addressing the basic infrastructure issues, like the much needed upgrade of water and wastewater networks, and the huge costs for this. Watercare and Council are relying on additional 200 thousand cubic metres of water supply per day from the Waikato to be consented by the Waikato Council, to provide the water needed for up to a further million population. But nothing has been agreed to, and will not for this year, and there is also stiff opposition in the Waikato.

      So what about “sustainability”? Much talk, much aspiration, little hard facts knowledge and few feet on the ground, I fear. Just endless BS and grandiose planning and daydreaming by over-paid planners, Councillors and experts paid by Council and developers.

      If they cannot even get the basics organised, then forget this BS.

  12. millsy 12

    Do u support privatisation? Ad

    • Ad 12.1

      No.

      I would certainly like to see an independent price regulator for water.

      I also like a certain amount of tension between NZTA and AC transport funding priorities. Just enough to make the system work hard.

  13. Mike the Savage One 13

    For once I can agree with Ad, a good cynical summary, yes, the Council’s brochure, it is lies, full of lies.

    Anything coming from Council these days seems to be little else than propaganda, glossed up ‘Our Auckland’, and now this publication, to “celebrate” what?

    Having dealt with Council on and off I see little or rather no improvements.

    We got this Super City with Rodney Hide’s tweaking of what Labour had prepared, after Rodney Hide and his National Party friends in government took over in 2008.

    A mayor who seems totally out of touch now, and busy to save his face with presenting bits of “news” that distract from the failures all over the show.

    Voter participation has been low in local body elections for a fair few years, and most are disillusioned or disinterested with what goes on. Most have no clue what the Auckland Plan was about, and even fewer know about the details in the Unitary Plan, that is still in a hearing process.

    The Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan has since its notification been changed so many times, it is now a very different document, over which submitter parties and lobbies still fight. Auckland Council had backed down in the feedback process that preceded the notified version, and moderated the intensification intentions. Now since hearings have started, there have been many attempts to revert to the Draft Auckland Unitary Plan (e.g. a new intention to allow greater densities, higher allowances for buildings and a generally more liberal and “flexible” approach). But you cannot first listen to the residents opposing stuff in a feedback process on the draft, then act upon their concerns, and once the notified version has been presented, start undermining or rolling that back again.

    Council also seems to rather give in to the business and developer lobbies, I detect, than listen to community groups and various other citizen submitters. So Council has put itself in between a rock and a hard place now, facing attacks from all sides. The Mayor likes to stay out of it all, and like with a recent vote on oil exploration off the Auckland coast, Mayor Brown casts his votes to the pleasure of the government, it seems.

    He seems desperate to not upset government in Wellington, as without their assistance nothing much will move ahead anyway.

    It is a true mess, and a Phil Goff for mayor will hardly change things to the better, I fear. But then again, we cannot let the field be taken over by the right of centre political lobbyists, we will only end up with a much greater mess.

    If only “the left” had a convincing and unblemished, competent candidate to take over from Brown, we may have some reason for hope. At the moment I cannot see any much hope at all to resolve the challenges and issues Auckland faces.

  14. Mike the Savage One 14

    “Now let’s listen for the total absences. Watercare. By asset value one of NZ’s biggest companies. Its perpetual price increases, incredibly secretive corporate life, its civic contribution of zip. Not a mention.”

    If any person wonders about Watercare and the ever increasing water prices, perhaps read the Winter 2015 edition of their customer brochure, where a graph shows how they plan for increased water use by an increased population. One must read between the lines, when they comment that they want to reduce water use per capita.

    So how does that work? You simply increase the prices!

    That is how Watercare intends to change water consumption behaviour by consumers, by increasing the cost of water used, and waste water released, so people use less. That is how they think they can prepare to supply more households in future. But without the additional 200 k cubic metres of water per day from the Waikato River (on top of the present 150 k cubics), they will not be able to supply enough to the Auckland population, it seems.

    There seem to be little alternative supply sources, apart from perhaps a desalination plant such as Melbourne has. Now how much will that cost us?

    • b waghorn 14.1

      Given that people are by nature wasteful ,and that any government that tries to do sensible things like pass laws to force people to conserve our resources is labelled “nanny state” what other methods other than hitting them in the wallet can be used to reduce usage.?

      • Mike the Savage One 14.1.1

        Hah, I am by no means “wasteful”, and while I understand your point, the present pricing is hitting a level, where it seems to be rather unreasonable. And that is the crux of the matter, Watercare are continuing to squeeze rich and POOR for water usage, increasingly, and that is just not acceptable. I suppose you will next bring up the situation in desert regions, where people live with only washing once a week or a month, to make your point.

        • b waghorn 14.1.1.1

          “”I suppose you will next bring up the situation in desert regions, where people live with only washing once a week or a month, to make your point.””
          No I just like to look for solutions.

      • gsays 14.1.2

        hi b waghorn,
        ‘what other methods other than hitting them in the wallet can be used to reduce usage.?’

        every new whare has water tanks.

        and while we are making new rules up..

        2kw of solar on every new whare as well.

        • b waghorn 14.1.2.1

          Hell yes to solar . the only problem with tanks is they need pumps .

          • gsays 14.1.2.1.1

            dc solar ones perhaps?

            • Ad 14.1.2.1.1.1

              There’s a fair few problems with a fully decentralized wastewater system.

              Just ask the fish in the Piha lagoon.

              • gsays

                to be fair, i am coming from a resilience/independence angle as much as a water conservation point of view.

                perhaps no more developing houses unless it can deal with its own waste on the property footprint.

            • b waghorn 14.1.2.1.1.2

              I think you can move it with solar but unless you can get it to a decent height you won’t get much pressure. Can you see people going back to dribbly showers ?

    • Ad 14.2

      In Watercare’s very long term future they will generate a new supply from the Puhoi area to supplement the growth of Auckland to the north.

      In the next decade the Waikato is sufficient to ensure they are no longer vulnerable to drought conditions in either the Hunua’s or the Waitakere’s. Which is a good thing.

      Price is certainly a blunt instrument, but think what Otago’s rivers would be like if Wanaka, Queenstown, Alexandra and Cromwell all had fully metered systems. Without metering and charging for use, there’s simply too much untreated greywater going straight back into the river systems.

      • Mike the Savage One 14.2.1

        Come on Ad, the farmers and other users in the Waikato have experienced some droughts also, and with climate change the precipitation for the Auckland and Waikato regions is going to be lower in future, so how can you say we should rely on the Waikato’s water, when there may be serious issues with certainty of supply, that is besides of the Waikato region residents being opposed to let Auckland and Watercare take more of THEIR water?

        I think you somehow missed my point.

        Alternative sources, of which you seem to suggest one, are rather limited by comparison, and will not be sufficient for the whole Auckland region and anticipated population growth.

        And I am NOT opposed to metering water use, that was not my point.

        • Ad 14.2.1.1

          Watercare debated over 25 different pricing models live with Auckland Council as part of the Long Term Plan drafting this year. With the change of CE and many other senior staff there, they’re much better than they used to be.

          By law Watercare are not allowed to price their water or wastewater greater than that income required to sustain their asset management plan AMP for short).

          They have no plans for desalination plans anywhere, precisely because the price of the water is cheaper by other means.

  15. KS 15

    It appears there is total agreement between The Standard and Whaleoil on one thing!

    • Ad 15.1

      Its the Circle of Life
      And it Moves Us Forward
      To the Path Unwinding …..
      (sing along now)

      It’s the circle
      The Circle of Life

  16. James Growley 17

    The only thing that the council does well is the propaganda it bombards us with telling us how well they are doing.

  17. John Shears 18

    “Every letterbox in Auckland received a 16 page A4 full color glossy this week entitled “Five Years as a United Auckland”

    Sorry Ad ,wrong, this Standardista DID NOT GET A 16 Page. A4…..
    in my letter box.

    I wonder how many other citizens of this great city also missed out.?

    • Ad 18.1

      Trust me you weren’t missing much.
      Probably rolled up with all the advertising junk you put straight into your bin, like many of us do.

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