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C&R: A risky misuse of rates

Written By: - Date published: 12:00 pm, August 4th, 2010 - 70 comments
Categories: auckland supercity, C&R, local government, national - Tags:

Partially built white elephant - Eden Park

Risky White Elephant

As a ratepayer in Auckland city, I’m angry at reading that I’m now underwriting the revamping of Eden Park. I don’t even watch sport. There are risks that the council already faces that the money could be better spent on.

Bernard Osman pointed out yesterday that:-

Eden Park’s new business plan may not work, and poses a significant risk to Auckland ratepayers, says a confidential report.

City ratepayers have been exposed to a $40 million bill to complete the park’s upgrade for next year’s Rugby World Cup.

Auckland City Mayor John Banks – who earlier promised not to put a cent of ratepayers’ money into the project – voted with councillors in May to underwrite the $40 million shortfall for the $256 million redevelopment after the Government said its $190 million contribution was final.

The council has already put $6.5 million into Eden Park in the form of loans with a repayment holiday until 2013.

I can think of a lot of things that this kind of money could be better used at covering the councils own risk. As a owner of a previously leaky apartment, the obvious one is the massive liability that the Auckland City Council has for its slipshod approach in the past on oversight on building plans and building inspection.

The current guesstimates for the liability for ratepayers and taxpayers in the order of at least 11 billion dollars with estimates of up to 23 billion . Auckland City Council appears to be the council with the highest proportion of leaky buildings both because of the pace of building here, but also because the council was, in my opinion, grossly negligent in its duties. The courts have agreed that the councils are liable and made that quite clear in a recent judgment:-

The Court of Appeal has found that councils are liable for leaky buildings because they have a duty of care to ensure buildings are up to scratch.

The decision, issued yesterday, has been described as a “devastating blow” for councils and led to renewed calls for a joint bail-out scheme between the Government and councils.

The biggest problem is being able to start fixing the buildings before they deteriorate further. Not doing this geometrically increases the costs to the point where it is cheaper to simply bulldoze the building and rebuild rather than repairing. Starting repairs early enough in my building meant that homeowners started paying in 2005/2006 to investigate the problem before finally getting a settlement in 2009 after the repairs were almost complete. It cost about half of my purchase price from when I moved in to my brand new apartment.

Many of us, including me, were almost driven to bankruptcy to pay for the repairs. Meanwhile the city council and their insurers held out for as long as possible before finally settling a few months before the court date. As Grimshaws (a leading legal firm handling this type of case) says

The sad fact is that the individuals, companies and local authorities responsible for your leaky building or leaky home will do everything they can to avoid paying to fix the problem, unless they’re forced to.

At that, we were lucky. The buildings flaws were not inherent in the structure – I’d checked for those when I purchased in 1998. They were almost entirely the result of poor workmanship and poor enforcement of the building standards. The council had not only approved and certified our building, but they’d also done the inspection – in particular of building problems that subsequently caused failures and in the ingress of water.

Because those substantial fees that were paid for the inspection to the council, we had a relatively easy process through the legal obstructionism. We were able to get almost full restitution of direct costs because the council had a clear liability. But it doesn’t pay for the agony of scratching to find enough to pay the interest, and living in a construction site.

Others are not so lucky. Many people with leaky buildings were inspected by the fly by night inspection services with inadequate insurance that a previous National government in the 1990’s allowed to get into the law. The Citizens and Ratepayers dominated council of Auckland City at the time were one of the most irresponsible in not keeping control of the inspection process, in particular in allowing inspection by companies with inadequate insurance.

The current National lead government is promoting a scheme that will help the many leaky homeowners who were caught with inadequate building inspection companies who have since failed or gone out of business. They don’t have a existing litigation target like the the council. But it requires that the homeowner pays 50% of the costs of “homeowners’ agreed repair costs”, the councils 25% and the government 25%. The poor homeowner will be able to get loans but only if they meet bank lending criteria.

The two weasel clauses of agreed repair costs and bank lending criteria are killers. It costs a lot of money to find out the degree of a problem, which in itself whittles away your ability to service a loan. Without pulling the walls away it is frequently impossible to determine the extent of the damage. In our case we would up finding out that there was extensive and expensive damage in an unforeseen exterior walls only after the bathrooms were torn up.

This scheme still is not in place, and isn’t expected until next year at the earliest. Every year that buildings are not made waterfast increases the costs to all parties, including the ratepayers. The available details on this scheme, like many things from this clueless government, are extremely vague. Grimshaws who are probably know as much as anyone else describe it as:-

The Government recently announced a proposed scheme which it believes will assist those parties embroiled in the leaky homes saga. The scheme is apparently to start sometime next year.

At this stage, we simply do not have enough information to make any meaningful comment about it.

With this looming vast leaky bill hanging over the ratepayers of Auckland, it seems incredibly irresponsible wasting money on underwriting a risky business plan for the Rugby Union. Quite simply the Auckland City Council should be looking at how they help the homeowners that C&R shafted decades ago at the earliest opportunity. It also reduces the known potential risks and liabilities to the ratepayers from letting buildings deteriorate with the additional costs that entails.

Underwriting a white elephant like Eden Park seems like the daftest thing that that John Banks and the irresponsible C&R team have done to date.

Citizens and Ratepayers - as rotten as ever

70 comments on “C&R: A risky misuse of rates”

  1. BLiP 1

    But . . . but . . . but . . . look, we’re having a big party!!

  2. Lanthanide 2

    “The poor homeowner will be able to get loans but only if they meet bank lending criteria.”

    You know far more about this than I ever will, but I thought part of the government’s scheme is that homeowners could get low-interest loans from the government to cover the repairs? Because obviously it is very difficult to get a loan from a bank for such a risky venture.

  3. lprent 3

    The current wording is

    This section outlines in more detail a Government proposal to establish a new financial assistance package to help homeowners repair their leaky homes faster.

    The financial assistance package will see the Government meet 25 per cent of homeowners’ agreed repair costs, local authorities contributing 25 per cent and homeowners funding the remaining 50 per cent, with a loan guarantee underwritten by the Government, provided claimants meet bank lending criteria.

    The package will be voluntary and in addition to the current disputes and litigation process for owners of leaky homes. It is also conditional on homeowners foregoing the right to sue local authorities or the Crown in relation to the claim.

    My italics

  4. Draco T Bastard 4

    What should happen is that the government should be making the funds available to get the leaky homes fixed ASAP through the RBNZ ability to print money @ 0% interest. The fault can be determined later with the people found to be at fault paying back the funds that the government made available.

    Of course, that’s just too sensible.

    • Armchair Critic 4.1

      And it also won’t happen because some of the people who are personally responsible are also ministers in the current government.

    • prism 4.2

      Well surely everything has to be looped back to private enterprise. The government reaps tax from the people, and private enterprise reaps profit, got to have the two-teat milking machine going until we’re squeezed dry. Suck sucks economics.

    • Alwyn 4.3

      Perhaps we could extend the idea.
      We could abolish all taxes and Government charges.
      Just let all Government expenditure be funded by the RBNZ creating money.

      Or is that also to sensible?

      ps I don’t actually advocate this as having any sense at all but DTB seems to be advocating something very similar. Oh, and I thought Bruce Beetham was dead.

      • Draco T Bastard 4.3.1

        Um, you missed the bit where I said that the money created would also be destroyed. So, what you said is not even close to what I proposed.

        • Alwyn 4.3.1.1

          You said later.
          How much later? Shall we say a year, or five years, or perhaps the fifteen years or so that the whole fiasco seems to have been going on.

          • Draco T Bastard 4.3.1.1.1

            At some point in some finite amount of time the matter will be settled and the money created destroyed as it needs to be. How much later isn’t really an issue.

            • Gosman 4.3.1.1.1.1

              Congratulations on promoting the Zimbabweisation of the NZ economy DTB.

              I can’t wait until I become a dollar billionaire under your proposal and have to cart around trunkloads of cash just to get a latte.

  5. rich 5

    Building inspections are just red tape that stopped honest kayweahs getting on with their lives. Oh, wait..

  6. loota 6

    Auckland rate payers are in for the $40M eden park redevelopment shortfall, huh?

    What a laugh, the Dunedin City Council put us ratepayers in for 3x that figure for their Southern White Elephant Stadium.

    They’re showing Auckland ratepayers how its really supposed to be done.

  7. Gooner 7

    Mallard’s Auckland Stadium on the waterfront would have been cheaper.

    And I bet the $30 mill chucked into the Americas Cup was money well spent.

    • lprent 7.1

      More importantly it would have helped to keep the rugby fans away from my NIMBY presence. I feel a holiday coming on about world cup time next year.

      • ghostwhowalksnz 7.1.1

        Im off to the Rugby League Series at the end of the year. No orgy of spending taxpayers money required

    • Joshua 7.2

      The 30mill for Americas cup was the best money spent in Auckland to date, the economic benefit was huge and still remands to be huge.

  8. Gosman 8

    Ummmmmm…. wasn’t it Helen Clark who was instrumental in helping N.Z. win the rights to host the Rugby World Cup?

    Personally I thought the rights should have been awarded to Japan myself but the last Labour led Government thought it would be a good thing to support.

    Central Government has already underwritten the tournament projected loss and provided the majority of funding for the Stadium upgrade.

    Given this fact I don’t see why people should moan about Auckland ratepayers having to stump up for a proportion of the costs involved in providing AUCKLAND with a suitable stadium.for this event. Aucklanders are the ones that will, on the whole, get the ongoing benefit from the stadium in future.

    • lprent 8.1

      Yeah? I haven’t been in Eden Park since I was a kid. But I’ve been under the impression that the only things that go on there are things that I’d have to pay for if I entered the stadium?

      In which case – why don’t the patrons pay for it?

      Personally I can see the point in the city assisting sports clubs for kids to play in. They largely do that by subsidizing the playing grounds. That doesn’t require any obscene over sized stadias with inadequate parking.

      I fail to see any need to subsidize what is essentially purely lazy entertainment, as much for the media as for the people paying to go.

      Perhaps you should expand your point and try to convince me?

      Then compare it with the relative importance of fixing the thousands of housing that the ‘free-market’ ideological stupidity of the last national government screwed up.

    • Draco T Bastard 8.2

      We already have a large number of stadiums in Auckland. They aren’t used all that much and I’m not too sure if they actually bring any greater benefit to Aucklanders in general. They seem to cost a hell of a lot (NSCC has been throwing huge amounts of money into the Northshore Stadium with no -ve return) and return nothing.

      Like Lprent I’m not against the councils providing a place for providing a place for children and even adults to play but once once it becomes a commercial concern such as the RWC etc then they can damn well pay for it themselves.

      • Gosman 8.2.1

        Perhaps your beloved Ms Clark shouldn’t have been instrumental in committing the country to providing top class facilities for the tournament then.

        If you have a problem with the fact that the country has to pony up all this cash for a tournament then you should really take it up with the former leader of the Labour Party and Trevor Mallard.

        • loota 8.2.1.1

          I tell you what, when Clark and Mallard committed to hosting the RWC, Government wasn’t making people redundant, freezing pay, locking out new ui students, exporting engineering jobs and cutting back home help for the elderly. Thanks to National’s hamfisted economic mismanagement that’s where we are at now.

        • lprent 8.2.1.2

          Perhaps you’d care to explain why a central government decision has much to do with my local government wasting money on the RWC when they have much more pressing obligations to their citizens that they’re royally screwing.

          You really are a ignorant dipshit who obviously hasn’t read the post…

          • Gosman 8.2.1.2.1

            Read my reply below.

            If you don’t like the consequences of decision made by the last Labour Government perhaps you should have been more vocal about it at the time.

            • lprent 8.2.1.2.1.1

              I was. I thought that spending on the whole RWC was a bloody silly idea.

              However I also didn’t think that the idiots in C&R would waste money on covering a business risk for the NZRU.

  9. Max Walker 9

    uhh Lprent – i think you’ve cocked up here. All the Auckland mayors agreed to underwrite Eden Park.

    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1002/S00069.htm
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/rugby-world-cup/news/article.cfm?c_id=522&objectid=10625246

    Not just Banks – but Brown too

    • lprent 9.1

      Entirely likely. I just looked at Osmans article. I’ll read the links after I bus home.

      However exactly the same thing applies because every city in Auckland has the same leaky home issues. If they’re going to throw ratepayers money around, then that should be their priority. Quite simply the councils (and their insurers) have been trying to avoid the issue for the last decade. The courts have been quite clear that they are culpable along with everyone else, and frequently more than anyone else. The delays, apart from the misery for the victims, leads to far higher bills in the long term fit the councils.

    • lprent 9.2

      Interesting. I can see Brown and Williams saying they’d support it. But I can’t see a report that their respective councils voted for it…

      Interesting.

  10. Kleefer 10

    I totally agree with you, ratepayer money should not be spent on rugby. But I suspect there are things this author would rather this money go to that other ratepayers might not agree with. Instead of creating a super-bureaucracy we should do away with councils altogether. There is not one function they perform that couldn’t be done better by competing private companies providing services to those who pay for them. End of story.

    • lprent 10.1

      What you mean like checking the buildings comply with building standards?

      You know just like we had from 1994-2004 in the competing building inspection companies?. Where a sizable proportion of those buildings had such crappy construction that in spite of being rated for a 60 year lifespan, many were falling apart after less than a decade.

      You mean that type of free-market don’t you? The common race to the bottom? That kind of a free-market failure of competing firms to provide the services that they charged for?

      If you want to be a proper dickhead ACToid, then perhaps you’d better to learn the answers to such questions…

    • Draco T Bastard 10.2

      Back in reality – the councils (and governments in general) provide necessary services better and cheaper than private enterprise. This has been proved several times over.

    • Joshua 10.3

      Everyone is missing the point on this site, Rugby is the sport we are supporting, but it’s the other benefits of such an event we are investing in. One of our biggest industries in this country is tourism, and the amount of gains we are going to get because of hosting the 3rd biggest sporting event in the world is tremendous, not to mention general retail spending because of a event this size.

      The investment is for the economic progression of all New Zealanders, not for a game of Rugby.

      Rugby is just the means to the ends

      • lprent 10.3.1

        How exactly does that help fixing leaky houses in the short term?

        I think that there are literally thousands of cases going ahead against the Auckland City Council. They take years to get to court, cost immense amounts of money, and generally sap economic performance. We’re talking tens of billions of dollars just in direct costs.

        Basically your ideas appear to have absolutely no sense of perspective. Typical ACToid response – speaking from faith rather than using your brains.

  11. G8 11

    Good article; son of C&R (slob whale) blames it all on Brown on his blogg so you must have hit his nerve.

    • lprent 11.1

      Saw that. An interesting attempt to ignore the issues in my post. I guess he couldn’t figure out an substantive argument (as usual) so went into his familiar moronic diversion routine.

  12. Joshua 12

    The main reason is because the government at the time, Labour, would of funded fully the Stadium on the Waterfront, which to be fair was the best option. However because the powers to be wanted Eden Park, in the middle of a residential area, to be upgraded, and the government threw a big sad and said they will not fund the whole thing leaving a shortfall of 40mill. Unfortunately someone had to pick up the slack, and the Eden Park management were never to be trusted with business decisions, they are effectively a bunch of politics who were campaigning for their stadium, rather than building an effective business case to justify the use. So Auckland City effectively had to fund the 40mill which was always going to be the case, so we can get our stadium of 60,000 to allow us to host the 3rd biggest sporting event in the world.

    What I’m effectively saying is they were left with no choice.

  13. Joshua 13

    Gosman – Actually it was the NZRU and in particular our captain at the time Tana who won the rights for us, but lets give credit because the government did support it, although so did the opposition in government at the time, so either way it would of gone ahead.

    lprent – It is the governments and local governments responsibility to pay as its the national economy that is going to benefit from the event. The number of tourist and the amount of exposure to NZ tourism a event of this size will provide is huge. Unfortunately allot of people seem to underestimate the size this event is and the scale of ongoing benefits for the NZ economy it will bring.

    In terms of housing, it’s important, but this is not a one or the other situation, it’s a both have to be done at some-point, however due to the window of opportunity for the World Cup, we must first concentrate on making this event a success for the benefit of New Zealand economy, and every New Zealander, we can then concentrate on helping the few negligent buyers of leaky homes at a later stage.

    Draco T Bastard – The stadium itself is not what is benefiting from the upgrade, we needed to provide a stadium of 60,000 for the world cup, the stadium will recover some cost but the majority they will not. It’s the NZ economy that will benefit from the event through tourism and retail, so it’s the Central and local Governments responsibility to progress NZs/Aucklands economy and the central and local governments responsibility to pay for the upgrade, to benefit New Zealander on a whole.

    • loota 13.1

      I think you are making an argument which says that tax payers and rate payers should pay in whole for something that mainly business (tourist operators and retailers in the big centres) are going to profit from in terms of a one off event. Is that right?

      And the funnelling off of tax payers and rate payer funds to rugby and construction special interests?

      Exactly what has happened down here in Dunedin, where you better add the $120M Dunedin City rate payers bill for the new southern stadium to the RWC public monies tab.

      • Gosman 13.1.1

        So you are not interested in seeing any more top class international games in Dunedin?

        I suppose that is a fair position to take but it kind of goes against what the last Labour Government was trying to achieve by supporting the bid to win the rights to host the 2011 tournament.

        Was there much opposition to this decsion in the Labour party by the way? Or even amongst the left wing generally?

      • Joshua 13.1.2

        I am making the argument that says the government should be investing money in which they will have the return on, when business make money who benefits? Cause the businesses I have been on the benefiters range from the;

        – Government, they gain the taxes, remembering how much tax is retained from businesses.
        – Business owners, obviously they must get a return on their investment
        – Employees, all employees of successful businesses benefit in monetary and job security ways.

        Then were do they spend there money?

        Again I think you are missing the point, it’s the not only a one off event, our public image is being sent around the world, we are advertising NZ to them, also the tourist that come here for the World cup will spend big, but if we do it right will be back with more friends. It’s got an immediate economic impact, but also a ongoing economic impact on the county.

        RUGBY IS THE MEANS TO AN ENDS.

    • Gosman 13.2

      Where was Helen Clark when the IRB was making the decision on which nation should be awarded the rights for the tournament?

      Who’s decision was it to underwrite the whole thing, which was key in convincing the IRB of the commercial viability of NZ holding it?

      • Joshua 13.2.1

        I have given credit and will give credit to the Government of the time, as I said before, however it was the NZRU and in particularly Tana who convinced the IRB New Zealand was the right place to host the cup. You don’t think Japan and the other bidders were also underwriting the whole thing? So yes that helped but it wasn’t the reason we got it, it just made us meet the requirements, it was Tana’s speech that actually won us the rights, Helen agreed to the conditions, which I give her credit for, but also believe the other parties would of done the same.

        • Gosman 13.2.1.1

          Helen Clark was right there and in fact it has been stated by a number of people that it was her personal appeal to the IRB which convinced them that the tournament should come to NZ. Trying to rewrite history now because you don’t like the consequences of that is just sad and desperate.

      • lprent 13.2.2

        Gosman: So what you’re arguing is that central government should underwrite the risks?

        I’d agree. That makes John Banks and C&R look like total suckers as well as heartless, irresponsible and stupid.

        • Gosman 13.2.2.1

          The Central Government is already underwriting the vast majority of the risk. I don’t think it is too much to expect the people of Auckland to directly take on some of that risk when they will be getting the majority of the benefits of the tournament and have already received funding from the rest of NZ for this.

          If you don’t like this then perhaps you should have been a little more vocal when Helen and Trevor were throwing their weight behind the NZRFU’s bid for the cup. That was the time to bitch about it. Not now.

          • lprent 13.2.2.1.1

            Since you’re suggesting that there was an obligation to the RWC and there is also a existing obligation to the people with screwed over leaky homes, then I’d expect to cover both of them to see C&R and John Banks announce that they’re putting up rates to cover both?

            I don’t see that happening – do you?

            In the meantime I’ll be pointing out to people with leaky homes exactly where Banks and C&R think that their priorities lie.

            • Gosman 13.2.2.1.1.1

              Fair enough if you want your council to spend money on both. However to claim that it should spend money on leaky homes INSTEAD of the RWC underwriting it plainly silly especially if you weren’t vocal in your opposition to the tournament coming here when Labour was pushing for it.

              I believe the councils position is that the RWC is a one off whereas they can deal with leaky homes over the long term, hence why they prioritse the RWC over the leaky homes.

              • lprent

                The problem is that rotting wood doesn’t prioritize. It keeps rotting at an accelerating rate until torn out and repaired.

                Not doing anything just increases the costs to repair – which is why the councils having spent the last decade trying to avoid dealing with the issue are now facing ever increasing bills as the cases come to court and the councils have to pay up.

                It is idiotic

              • lprent

                BTW: I don’t want the council to expend my rates on the RWC. That simplify the equation enough for you?

    • lprent 13.3

      Joshua: That really wasn’t the issue I was raising. The issue is that given scarce ratepayer funds and two competing obligations

      1. the poor buggers in trapped in leaky buildings largely caused by the councils screwing up on their duties
      2. the entertainment of a rugby world cup

      Then the council should put priority on the first rather than the second. John Banks and C&R generally prefer to screw the first and have photo-ops at the second. But they’re total arseholes.

      The alternative of course would be to raise rates to cover both – and I don’t see any sign of that happening – do you?

      So which side do you come down on, given that set of alternatives? Arsehole or responsible?

  14. tc 14

    C&R…Cronies and Rednecks…..an extension of that good old grammeresque thugby boys club.

    Yet again the taxpayers/ratepayers foot the bill for a game that on a global scale is a very minor sport run by a boys club of amateurs….tew/hobbs/dalton etc when they’re not troughing on the boards of finance companies.

    Money better spent on improved infrastructure with real long term benefits e.g cruise terminal/rail network….eden park is a joke and now a very expensive taxpayer funded one.

    Banksie doesn’t give an F….never has never will that takes compassion and intelligence.

    • Gosman 14.1

      So was this your position when Helen and co backed the bid to host the competition to the hilt?

      • lprent 14.1.1

        What exactly does central government have to do with a local government decision?

        Are you retarded or simply into diversion?

        • Gosman 14.1.1.1

          No, Helen Clark and co made a decision to commit New Zealand as a whole to the hosting of the tournament.

          The implications of this would be that the Central Government had to pony up the vast majority of the funds to cover the risks but that other areas that benefit directly from it, (e.g. Auckland), would need to do so as well.

          If you didn’t realise this at the time of Helen’s grand gesture then it is more fool you. I don’t see why I, as a non-Auckland, should shoulder 100 percent the risks associated with the tournament when Aucklands get the vast majority of the benefits.

          If you didn’t want to pay your share then you should have told Trevour and Helen at the time instead of moaning about the consequences now.

          • lprent 14.1.1.1.1

            I did complain at the time, and for exactly this reason – that it’d divert the local councils from their actual duties.

            That doesn’t prevent me from raising it again now for local government – which is the point that you’re trying to avoid. John Banks and C&R campaigned in 2007 on the basis of not putting money into Eden Park. Now they are underwriting the risk.

            They should be spending the ratepayers money on their leaky homes obligations instead.

            • Gosman 14.1.1.1.1.1

              Where did you do your complaining? Certainly not here as far as i can tell.

              • lprent

                You forget that I wasn’t writing posts until the end of 2008.

                Search in comments under lprent and AncientGeek and you’ll find me tearing into this issue mostly on why it was a really stupid idea to upgrade Eden Park.

                At that time the C&R position was that they weren’t going to be putting any money into Eden Park.. I guess that they were just lying – typical of them really.

            • Gosman 14.1.1.1.1.2

              What did your mates in the Labour party say to you when you complained by the way?

              I can’t imagine they were very sympathetic especially given Clark’s strong backing for the tournament when she was PM.

              • lprent

                At that time the option was that central government was to be putting up the money for the waterfront stadium. That was a far better option than doing this daft and expensive upgrade of Eden Park. All that does is increase the existing parking issues around Eden Park for residents.

                The waterfront stadium wouldn’t have diverted attention away from the councils existing obligations.

    • Joshua 14.2

      Again missing the point of investing in such a tournament.

      If the third biggest sporting event is minor I would hate to see your list of standards, the only bigger events in terms of spectators is the Soccer World Cup and the Olympics.

      Also the Cup itself is allowing for these infrastructure projects to go ahead, We would have a Cruise Ship terminal if it weren’t for the ARC, ACC, MCC and NSCC, all agreeing not to go ahead with it, although giving credit to ARC they were the only ones keen in that lot. Also rail has investment in it, be it not nearly enough, however at least it will force us to implement part of the integrated ticketing network by that time. Allot of the roading projects have or had deadlines on to complete before the Rugby World Cup, the big one the Manukau Harbour Crossing, so when the tourist get off the plane with their cars they have somewhere to go. (Obviously I believe we should be investing more in PT than we are so a bit biased there).

      So seriously before a big event like this it’s the perfect excuse to get these infrastructure projects going, the Government and Auckland City Councils in particular have lost the opportunity here, but there has been street improvements etc, for the cup.

      • lprent 14.2.1

        That wasn’t the issue – you really are squirming away from it aren’t you… It is like watching a maggot getting away from the light.

        Read the post again. The costs of not doing fixes early enough with leaky buildings keeps pushing the costs up. The court decisions to date have made it quite clear that the councils are in a large part responsible. The councils have been putting leaky home owners through hell by refusing to deal with the issues until forced to by the courts. C&R in Auckland city are amongst the worst.

        Now we see the idiots continuing to avoid their responsibilities in fixing the leaky housing infrastructure. Instead they’re pushing money away from their obligations and into white elephant projects that they can’t afford.

        I’ll give you one idea how that makes them look to the tens of thousands of people with leaky home issues around Auckland City.

  15. Nick C 15

    But wont all this spending on Edan Park, you know, create jobs and stimulate the economy ? Isnt that the nonsense that you pull out whenever someone on the left gets accused of overspending taxpayers money?

    But I guess when citizens and ratepayers are doing it…

    • lprent 15.1

      The short answer is almost certainly not – it is hard to find a case where these type of events have made a ‘profit’ for the hosting city in the short-term. You do get left with a better infrastructure.

      The question is if it is more effective use of taxpayers money right now for the councils to put money into the RWC or into fixing the existing mistakes with the costs of delay escalating all of the time.

  16. Tracey 16

    Worse still, the Trust Board could sell the naming rights to the park but dont want to, they want to preserve the name of the Park. I say sell it, we need all the money we can get. IF ‘we’ hadnt underwritten this they would be selling every square inch including the name to the highest bdidder

    Leaky Buildings, there are cheaper ways to both find the extent of damage and get repairs, without reclad, but the same industry that gave us leaky buildings now gives us the rort of fixing the leaky buildings. Almost all buildings are “investigated” by cutting holes in them and then they declare “you need a reclad”. There is plenty of research to support that this is bunkum BUT the building surveyors, the manufacturers, the builders, they want reclads, and Councils are SO scared from last time they agree.

    • lprent 16.1

      In our case there wasn’t a lot of choice about the major reclad.

      The apartment balconies were rotting back into the front wall (because the water proofing on the balconies was inadequate). All 40 balconies all had to be torn out to replace their bracing beams. With a monolithic coating that meant that most of the wall had to come out.

      As soon as that happened we were subject to having to put a cavity system into the wall by the building code. That was a good idea anyway, and probably what we’d have done to prevent other possible water ingress issues. It didn’t change the costs much.

  17. Tracey 17

    Nick C

    Would love to see your evidence that this will bring more money into NZ and Auckland than the cost to run it. NO major world event ever breaks even. That’s why Banks BS about the Olympics is just more evidence that leopard hasn’t changed his spots. He KNOWS how much an olympics costs, he knows how crippled the city that hosts it is afterwards, left tpaying it off, yet he plays on people’s sporting love with a ludicrous proposal.

  18. JonL 18

    “1. the poor buggers in trapped in leaky buildings largely caused by the councils screwing up on their duties”
    Sorry – you have the wrong idea on what Building Inspectors are responsible for. Their job is to enforce the Building Code and Building Standards as they were at the time! From 1992-2002 they were crap! You can thank the Nats and their mates in the building industry for that – mainly James Hardie and Carter Holt! As an ex ACC inspector that came onto the scene after the shit had hit the fan, what I saw astounded me, but, most of it had been legal when it was built and approved.- and, believe me, if we tried to fail stuff that complied (as I often did if I thought it wasn’t going to work), you could be sure we would be over ridden by higher up! Most of the stuff built was doomed to fail even if it did conform fully to the regulations and standards! Oh yes – the worst I saw was 2 months, from completion to start to rebuild due to rotting. You can also thank the construction companies that created a shell, built the project as quickly and cheaply as possible, then closed down, so there is no comeback! Pricks!

    • lprent 18.1

      Yes they were crap building standards – and what they were replaced with was far far better.

      However the reason that we had the councils insurers cave in and settle on our apartment block was because the building inspections at the time did not even enforce those rather pathetic standards. For that matter the building plans approved by the council had a clear violations as well.

      But the other question of liability is to do with the standards that were put in at the time by the council that you pointed out. Those were inadequate for the task as well

  19. jaymam 19

    Unfortunately politicians rely too much on “expert” advice which is faulty.
    I don’t care who decided to have the RWC in NZ, but that was a mistake in an economic sense.
    Most people just don’t have the money these days to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars for tickets and transport and accommodation.

    And the new building regs of the 1990s were a huge mistake. To hell with regulations – any architect or builder or building inpector with common sense would have known that the new methods of cheap construction were not going to last. House owners should have chosen architects and builders who were prepared to stand by their work and NOT set up a new company for each house. That should be a red flag for the owners.
    The architects and builders who have escaped their responsibilites by setting up new companies should be chased up and made to pay or never go into business again. My contact in the IRD says that they can be chased up.
    And the Councils should pay for their incompetence, especially since they used to be so difficult about petty things that didn’t matter, while allowing leaky houses to be approved.

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