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The Government-Auckland relationship

Written By: - Date published: 1:22 pm, October 25th, 2019 - 26 comments
Categories: auckland supercity, Economy, jacinda ardern, labour, local government, supercity - Tags:

The Sky City National Convention Centre fire brings the Government Auckland relationship to a very sharp edge. It was tense before. It’s worse now.

They are both co-investors in City Rail Link. It’s the biggest single project risk either of them have taken. It will continue to cause neighbourhood stress for years.

They are both co-investors in the Amerca’s Cup 36 preparatory work. This one’s going well.

Downtown Auckland works including the ferry terminal rebuild need to be done by 2021. It’s crushing Quay Street.

Albert Street building construction is under full noise – half of the sites on the street are in demolition or construction, even excluding CRL.

Sky City’s National Convention Centre is itself the result of a massive Government commercial and legislative deal. They haven’t delivered on that deal.

A fresh Auckland CBD needs to be fully completed for 2021. No excuses. It’s Auckland’s most important year since electrification prior to WW1.

Then there’s the Government-Auckland relationship about light rail .Can the ATAP relationship be salvaged after this?

The moment is similar but greater than that before Rugby World Cup 2008. Central and local government must to stand together in front of the media and opinion leaders and demonstrate why we should all still have confidence in them.

There’s more tax-and-ratepayer money riding on this than anything outside the Christchurch earthquake. Except with this one we know the date it’s coming.

The focus on 2021 is very high in central and local departments. All components need to work, and be delivered on time. They are now scrambling. The whole thing is brittle: capable of breaking and failing.

The loss of the Convention Centre shouldn’t dent public confidence in itself. Other partnerships like Tamaki Transformation is now showing strong results. Perspective is in order.

But the Government-Auckland relationship is being really tested.

The Prime Minister is great in a crisis. But can she muscle Ministers and Departments to get them all back on track?

That’s the confidence question.

26 comments on “The Government-Auckland relationship ”

  1. Let's not compromise safety and structural integrity for this artificial 2021 deadline. Shit can go sideways real fast.

    NZ companies could easily go the way of Mainzeal. We may need to nationalise Fletchers before it goes bust.

    We have too many foreign companies and foreign workers building stuff on OUR waterfront to be owned by overseas interests. Govt and Council needs to stop selling out Kiwis for that juicy GDP boost


    We are heading for an industry wide meltdown worse than the Leaky Homes saga

    • Dukeofurl 1.1

      When I was a student and buildings from the 20s and 30s were being knocked down in Queen St , it became obvious that some of the reinforcing steel was missing, these were the picture palaces. Owners of many new buildings have switched from RC to steel, because you can see whats in it. The last 20 years have been a boom in concrete buildings using offsite pre cast structural sections for tower buildings as speed was the key- a floor a week-, Im thinking many of these were cut corners.

      • roblogic 1.1.1

        There was a lot of shonky stuff built in Auckland after Rogernomics gave wankers like Brierley and Equiticorp and Chase and Bob Jones open slather to erect glass palaces and demolish our heritage

    • Ngungukai 1.2

      Fletcher is 80-90% overseas owned, no need to Nationalize them. Fletchers have had a dream run here in NZ for nearly 100 years.

  2. Dukeofurl 2

    The Ferry Building isnt being rebuilt. Its a highest category heritage building and was modernised 20 yrs or so ago. What is changing is some of the ferry wharves, but that doesnt affect Quay St. The works on Quay St are connected to the sea wall underneath which keeps out the ocean.

    Albert St has been dug up for the first stage of the CRL as , was the Old QE2 Sq. That because the CRL tunnel was a cut and cover from Britomart to about Wyndam St, from then on there is enough depth of cover over the bored tunnel. AS well they had to protect the main Auckland CBD west -east sewer tunnel at the Victoria St junction with a large excavation

    Most of the lower Albert St trench will be backfilled by the end of 2019.

    From 2020 the excavations will move to the site of the Aotea Station, from Victoria St to Wellesley St

    • Ad 2.1

      You would have to be really ignorant of Auckland to think you caught the ferry from the ferry building. Which is why I called it by the term "ferry terminal rebuild".

      The works on Quay Street have the sea wall as their beginning. They then continue to streetscape the entire road, cycleway, and footpath. It's one integrated job with the ferry terminals. You can even look up instructive videos on youtube about it, with dates and everything.

      And now let me educate you a little further on City Rail Link.

      Albert Street from Wyndham Street to Swanson Street has had its trench filled, but will remain in streetscape construction until June 2020.

      Albert Street from Swanson to Customs Street is having its trench filled progressively until about March next year. They are still taking out construction road concrete slabs at the moment. But the streetscape rebuild will continue in that section until about October.

      Albert Street from Customs to Quay Street will begin once Commercial bay is completed. Their current target for completion is Easter next year. That means streetscape works will start after that, and continue into 2021.

      Timetable for streetscape works of the old QEII Square (now largely sold off by Council) is also into 2021.

      Albert Street from Wyndham to Wellesley Street have had utility works and canopy removals since late last year. The utility works and further building canopy removals will continue right into main excavation . Anyone who believe they are on timetable is a fool.

      But please, do tell me more about infrastructure jobs in Auckland.

  3. alwyn 3

    What is so special about the year 2021 for Auckland?

    • Incognito 3.1


      • alwyn 3.1.1

        Ah, now I see what you mean. I hadn't really thought that APEC was that big a deal and I had never considered that much needed to be done for it to be held in Auckland.

        After all it has been held in Brunei where the population of Bandar Seri Begawan is only about 100,000 in a country of about 400,000 and in PNG where Port Moresby is only about 400,000.

        Was it really that big a deal when we held it in 1999? I don't even remember where all the meetings were held.

        • Ad

          Were you living in Auckland 20 years ago? Unless you were living under a fucking rock, it was a thing.

          • Dukeofurl

            Only about 3 days for the bigwigs, Clinton and Chinese President had a meeting at Government House, Clinton went shopping in Parnell, city centre streets closed off. A lot a businesses closed for a special long weekend.

            For the public there was really no events as it was ' made for TV'. Im sure for political junkies and government officials it took all of their waking thoughts for months!

            Everyone else . Its a non event in their lives.

            • Ad

              As I explained, it's not just about APEC.

              To your comment that "It's a non event in their lives"; that's true of most things in politics. This post isn't about most people. Its about a relationship between local and central government.

          • alwyn

            Was I living in Auckland? No, and I never have. It is rather like Adelaide or Perth. It has enough people to have the problems of a city, such as sprawl, but not enough people to actually be able to support many city like things.

            I twice turned down work in Auckland because I didn't want to have to live there.

            I lived in Melbourne for about 6 years. I was lucky enough to see Open Tennis Championships won by Becker, Courier and Sampras. I saw one Melbourne Cup, the final of the World One-day Cricket Cup and an AFL Grand Final. I also saw a Formula 1 race. About the only thing that would compare in New Zealand would have been the Rugby World Cup final in 2011.

            There are also great art galleries in Mebourne, such as the venues of the NGV. There is nothing to compare with those in New Zealand are there?

            That doesn't mean the Melbourne is great of course. It is still, on a world scale, a fairly small city. For a great city you have to look at a place on the scale of Paris. I have spent close to two years of my life there and it never palls. To see Paris, or New York or London, and then to hear people laud Auckland as being a "world class" city is simply a joke.


            However I suppose that is why having Clinton there for a couple of days would have seemed wonderful. You are, of course, welcome to have the Donald visit you if, God forbid, he gets in again. Screammmmm!

            • Ad

              Not having lived in Auckland would explain statements ilk this:

              "I don't even remember where all the meetings were held."

              For the rest of your ramblings, your insecurity complex about New Zealand is just wretched.

              • alwyn

                There, there. I'm sure you are right and people who don't live in Auckland and who don't worship the creed of the Jafa are all dreadfully inferior creatures.

                Or not.

                On the other hand I have, out of curiosity, looked up when the leaders meeting was in 1999 and where I was at the time. It was, apparently on 13 September 1999. It is hardly surprising I didn't remember as after checking my old diaries I found I was in the middle of a 10 week stint working in New York. That place really is a city, as you may be lucky enough to discover if you ever get the chance to visit.

                It really is worth going there. Delusions about the majesty of the metropolis of Auckland are soon put in their place. The Big Apple still isn't as good as Paris though.

                • Ad

                  I'm not focused on Melbourne, New York or Paris as you are.

                  I'm focused on improving the place in which a third of us live.

                  Come up in 2021 and have a look.

                  You may even be surprised.

        • lprent

          APEC 1999 was pretty chaotic – mostly if you were in the central city or on the route to the airport. Which was fine for me as I seldom go into the central city or the airport if I have a choice. Up around Ponsonby / K Rd where I lived and still do. APEC was mostly just something in the news.

          But I’d admit that there was quite a lot of complaining by the fools less fortunate amongst us who seem to like the congestion and cramped transport conditions of the herded animal.

          Personally I found the power outage the previous year to be way more of an issue.

    • Ad 3.2


      Americas Cup 36

      World Softball Champs

      Kapa Haka Nationals

      Women's Cricket World Cup

      There's about $20b of works going in to prepare.

      • Dukeofurl 3.2.1

        $20 bill ? What sort of arithmetic comes up with that figure . CRL the most expensive part was approved long before all those items were even thought of , and its on the high side of $5 bill and wont even be half way when APEC is over. Normal council capital spending is a bit more than $1 bill per year and a lot of that is Watercare and local roads. Is the Central Interceptor 'preparing' too?

        Those events at a rough guess may be $250 mill of capital spending 'as preparation' ( maybe another $150 mill for operations), a factor of 10 less than your estimate

        • Ad

          The preparation is for a new future operational platform for Auckland, not just one year. All infrastructure investment is multigenerational. Also, the amount of change we are seeing in Auckland now is just going to increase.

          • Dukeofurl

            Future Operational Platform…means what …you dont even know so use a bureaucratic buzzword taken from IT to hide that.

            [When you cannot put up a decent reply, it is never a good idea to start attacking a commenter who also happens to be the author of the OP. If you doubt somebody’s facts, knowledge, or experience all you need to do is ask, politely, if possible. If you disagree with somebody’s opinion, you are free to say so and why. Please don’t make up shit to suit yourself – Incognito]

            • Dukeofurl

              What does $20 bill number pulled out of the hat even mean.

              I looked up the value of all building consents for a year ( to end of Oct 2018) bothe commercial and residential.

              For the whole of NZ its $21 bill, Auckland only value is hard to estimate but lets say its lions share $9 bill for 1 year.

              Over 10 years we could be looking at $100 bill of construction.

            • Incognito

              See my Moderation note @ 5:04 PM.

            • Dukeofurl

              Sorry . I didnt mean for it to be a personal thing , it was the phrase itself that concerned me. My follow on comment expands on my opinion here

  4. Ed1 4

    I'm still not clear why it is thought that the Government / Auckland relationship is more tense than it was previously. Now there seem to be positive discussions relating to priorities; while central and local government may well have different priorities, there seem to be genuine discussions as distinct from central government just deciding and imposing. There will always be budget constraints, but Auckland are not being pressured to sell assets unless they want to, and government has assisted with a petrol tax asked for by Auckland. Yes there is a lot happening, and that does not mean that the relationship has been diminished. Am I missing something?

    • Ad 4.1

      It's a fair question.

      It's always tense because it should be; competing needs across the country make it feel like special pleading from Auckland.

      And the quick answer is because there's a lot more at stake.

      Firstly, as noted in the post, co-investing between Auckland and central government happens rarely outside of the RLTP. They are big risks each one.

      Secondly these big, risky co-investments have very high international media scrutiny. You can imagine what would occur in the media if the America's Cup bases weren't ready. Like an Olympics, you can't shift the date of the event. You can't be not-ready.

      Third, things are going wrong, on a scale that's not easy to recover from.

      I agree that Auckland is not being pressured to sell assets. I think the last time that occurred was when Shipley forced the ARC to do so. But the recent northern ports study is giving a pretty strong signal that Mayor Goff will have to prepare to sell its port operation at some point. Not immediately, but it's on the horizon.

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