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What Now Phil Goff?

Written By: - Date published: 1:19 pm, August 17th, 2020 - 36 comments
Categories: auckland supercity, local government, phil goff, supercity, uncategorized - Tags:

The Chief Executive of Watercare Raveen Jaduram has resigned. 

The NZ Herald points to criticism of his $775,000 salary, and the drought. 

Salary seemed to be the sticking point, oddly enough. Not whether expanding Watercare’s reach into managing the Waikato catchment but failing to prepare for Auckland’s growth in time was a colossal mismanagement.

It’s odd because Goff now has a much bigger opportunity with his CCO review than merging Regional Facilities and ATEED, and bringing the Regional Land Transport Strategy in-house away from Auckland Transport. 

As noted by Greater Auckland, CCO Boards are a big part of the set of 40 decision-makers who will determine how Auckland decreases its carbon footprint.

Mayor Goff has a similar opportunity to that presented by the government in such a time of crisis: use the instruments that you have to enable really positive change.

The CCO review was useful since it was a decade ago that National-Act reforms had replaced the 7 fiefdoms of local authorities with 7 fiefdoms of commercial businesses, deliberately destroying any capacity for policy coherence across Auckland.

If the CCO review is the extent of Goff’s structural reforms, they are pretty timid. The best he can do as any legacy is prepare some form of handover in comprehensive leadership changes.

But there are multiple crises besetting Auckland and its governance:

          It has got no money and is going to need to be bailed out – and will go through yet another wave of redundancies;

          Its water and transport capacity is just running out;

          The reforms of 2010 haven’t altered Auckland for the better;

          Auckland population and physical growth continue to massively expand and outgrow; and 

          Central-Local Government coordination about Auckland to deal with any of it is sporadic and limited (eg APEC, AC36)

It would be better for the Mayor to ask the harder question: what’s the best collective use we can put all of Auckland’s public assets, both to get us out of the Covid-19 calamity, and also to improve Aucklanders’ future? Some kind of vertical alignment to the Government’s own well being measures and successive budgets would be appropriate.

Surely we are in such a place that the wider, harder question should be asked and answered.

So when Professor Paul Spoonley this week says that in 2030 there may be nearly 2 million  Aucklanders, and we will dependent on migration and foreign skills, and when David Skilling hammers home the point he’s been making for two decades that we remain a “low wage, low investment, low productivity” country, the conclusion is this:

Auckland is a set of short and medium-term problems that need more than the resignation of one CCO Chief and the merger of the two least consequential CCOs.

Mayor Goff, What Is Your Plan For Auckland?

36 comments on “What Now Phil Goff? ”

  1. Gabby 1

    Gfoffloffl will invite the government to 'come to the party'. That's his thing.

    • greywarshark 1.1

      All the high-flying execs over our erstwhile government agencies can fly, fly, fly away home whether in NZ, or elsewhere on the planet. And let some ordinary slightly scruffy guy or femme in there. provided they have suitable training, no generic stuff thank you, and they don't bring with them some off-the-shelf program that has been used, overseas prob the USA for short, is slightly dented, but we can have it at a discount seeing we are so credulous.

      Has Goff the backbone, or does he have prophylactic rods he inserts every day before he puts on the suit and puts on the style that the Mayor of a Supershitty puts on when performing for his peers, as ordinary ratepayers don’t seem to get much of a deal from him.

  2. Paul 2

    I don't know but it seems that every so called expert in New Zealand is from overseas. On amazing levels of remuneration, bugger things up and then leave only to be replaced by another short term visitor from overseas. It would be good to find a Kiwi that could do this job for what would probably be half the cost.

    We play game when watching the news – what country is that spokesperson from?

    • Andre 2.1

      Jaduram may be orginally from Fiji, but his tertiary education and professional development and career is pretty much all kiwi, apart from a few years in Oz.


      • Ad 2.1.1

        Plus, up close he is a really nice guy to deal with.

        Personally I think it was the failure of the RMA and of Waikato Regional Council to attend to the Watercare Waikato Second Plant application that did him in. Not his salary or competence.

        • Andre

          Well, his salary was a serious problem. Not a problem that necessarily reflects on Jaduram personally, but something is seriously wrong when that's the going rate to head a monopoly organisation with quasi-governmental powers and zero commercial risk.

          Or to look at it another way, the failure to overcome the obstacles of the RMA and the Waikato Regional Council (absolutely stupidly ridiculous obstacles to be sure) is more than sufficient evidence he wasn't in possession of god-like abilities an order of magnitude beyond mere competent human that his enormous salary implied.

          • Ad

            As the NZHerald article noted, his salary was a lot less God-like than that of his predecessor Mark Ford. And I would have thought that if the salarywas that big a deal, it would have been the Chair of Watercare who should have resigned since they are responsible for hiring him and for the contract that Board has with him.

            Goff can keep knifing through the lot of them until he has nothing but functionary toadies who jump at precisely the measure he wants. Which means the CCO Boards can't function and bring to bear the expertise in fields that Goff doesn't have.

            And what you have then is a city that's ideas-broke and cash-broke and lowering its sights to mere manageriality.

            Which is where we appear to be going.

            • Andre

              Well, yes, Ford's even more bloated salary was an even bigger problem. As far as I could tell, it was unredeemed by any particular personal qualities to match the self-regard which led him to take on a bunch of other roles he failed to shine in.

              As far as the board of Watercare and its role in fostering executive excess goes, a brief look at the line-up only has a couple that look like they have anything more to offer than mutual back-scratching and ass-covering. So yeah, some departures there would likely be a good thing too.

            • Gabby

              Well that's possibly preferable to a bunch of ccos that aren't cc and do pretty much what they want.

          • Patricia 2

            I think it is quite unfortunate that Jaduram has resigned. He has only been in the role for a couple of years and had been making well considered changes that will ensure better quality outcomes for customers and Watercare staff.

            His predecessor was on a very high salary and this became the benchmark. Up to those choosing the new CEO to sort that out before employing a new person in the role.

            I feel the constant pick pick pick by the media was hard to endure ; just the same as they behave now towards our Prime Minister and Ashley Bloomfield.

            • Andre

              Well, in 2014 when Jaduram was appointed it was on a base of $510K, down from Ford's $860k. And it seemed to be only a part-time job to Ford given the other side hustles he seemed happy to take on at the same time. So that was a step towards bringing executive pay down from orbit. It's just that they porked it back up at an awesome rate.

            • Clive Macann

              " He has only been in the role for a couple of years " ?? I question what you call "a couple".

        • Stuart Munro

          You might find Waikato people less than unanimous in supporting that view. The drought placed a lot of demand on a finite supply, and the Waikato was under restrictions quite early.

          Perhaps it should not surprise anyone that a city (or assemblage of partial cities) incapable of orderly planning for scheduled sewage infrastructure replacement also has a delinquent approach to water supply.

          • Ad

            There's little actual evidence about what Waikato District people think in that respect other than uninformed offhands from a few no-name local politcians – but they are the same ones that signed Watercare up to take over their reticulation system several years ago.

            And we don't have organised opinion about what Waikato people think about Watercare's second treatment plant because that's what the RMA hearings would have done. RMA hearings which the Waikato politicians prevented.

          • Andre

            Thing is, any increased Auckland water take has negligible opportunity to have any effect on anyone or anything else.

            The river level at the intake goes up and down significantly with the tides. It's only a short distance upstream from where brackish salty water reaches with the tides. (hmm, wonder how much sea level rise can happen before saltwater starts affecting when water can be taken?)

            In terms of affecting any estuary ecosystems, the reduction in flow due to Auckland's intake is less than 1% – it will be effectively undetectable amid the tidal signal. Let alone that it's a tiny portion of just the flow increase that happened in the 80s when the Tongariro power scheme came online and sent a lot more water down the Waikato that used to flow out the Rangitikei and Whangaehu and Whanganui rivers.

            • RedLogix

              Good comment Andre. Having actually written software to control water supply intake from several rivers in order to accurately meet RMA conditions, I'm utterly baffled at why a second plant intake from the Waikato is of any concern whatsoever. As you say the proposed take is a tiny fraction of the actual flow, indeed lower than the likely error signal in measuring the river flow.

              Why this should have been held up in an RMA process defies common sense, and begs for a bit of daylight on exactly what was doing what and why.

            • Stuart Munro

              Sure it's the obvious short term solution, and the folk I've talked to don't begrudge Auckland a refill given that a drought this summer would otherwise prove very bad indeed. But there are other drought hit areas that would like some water too. They'd like to see planning to the point that invocation of emergency takes from the Waikato doesn't become Auckland's default position.

              • Andre

                If those other folk that want some Waikato water are thinking agriculture, keep in mind water volumes for agriculture tend to be enormous compared to domestic, commercial, and most industrial users. And if it's towns further up the Waikato, then effectively Auckland is just asking to take some of their recycled domestic, commercial, and industrial wastewater after it's gone through their treatment stations.

                • Stuart Munro

                  I believe BoP was one area – but I'm not party to details. It's just a concern to prevent the kind of ahistorical looting of the commons recently performed by bottlers on a number of aquifers. People don't do that – but corporate entities are not so scrupulous.

                  • Andre

                    Very little if any of the Waikato's catchment is in the Bay of Plenty, so whatever happens to Waikato water where it meets the sea has no effect in the Bay of Plenty, except for any regulatory or legal precendent.

                    In terms of bottlers looting the commons in the form of aquifers, the volume bottlers take is tiny compared to other users. I agree bottlers should be paying a substantial royalty, but that's because the value of the water is tied up in New Zealand's clean green image. Which is part of the commons we all contribute to maintaining (or not, as the case may be), so bottlers should be kicking back part of the value they're profiting from. The actual volume bottlers take has negligible effect on other users, so it doesn't seem to me to be a valid basis for objection.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      The bottlers have unfortunately succeeded in establishing a de facto precedent with respect to the transferability of water rights. This has flow on effects.

                      You may recall that National were very keen to assert that no-one owns water to avoid the possibility of Treaty based compensation or environmental restrictions. But at the same time they wanted to roll over old and discontinued rights for very different uses, and sell properties with water rights constituting a significant fraction of their value.

                      Cloud Ocean got one such right in Christchurch, but that right had been granted when the local aquifer was not under stress, and substantial extraction represented no significant issue. That is no longer true, but Cloud Ocean evaded the legal consent processes they would have needed under today's conditions, rolling over a consent granted in perhaps the 1950s.

                      It's a complex issue, and the stakes are very high for affected communities – not least of which is Auckland.

  3. Tiger Mountain 3

    How shall I put this…if neo liberal managerialism and penetration of public infrastructure by private capital has got us this far–perhaps it is time for a plan that does not involve more of that.

    End the CCOs power effectively now, deal with the technicalities of that at next election, restore all Council entities and operations to full public ownership, slash the $100,000 plus salaries (more workers less weasels), Auckland Council to become a housing/apartment provider in partnership with Govt., fare free public transport, extend free Wifi in public zones.

    That should get some citizens attention.

    • Dean Reynolds 3.1

      Agree 100 % TM. No Local Authority should be structured along 'free market' corporate lines, the way Key & Hyde destructured the Super City.

      Some more ideas for reform: 1) Scrap all the CCO Boards, they serve no purpose except to add an unecessary layer of cost, 2) All CCO chief exect's to be appointed by the Auckland City Councillors, 3) Auckland City Councillors to be appointed to appropriate council sub committees to oversee each CCO, with the CCOs' chief executives reporting directly to the appropriate sub committee chair, 4) The Mayor's role is then to co-ordinate the CCOs' roles so that Auckland City operates as an intergrated, joined up entity.

      • Tiger Mountain 3.1.1

        Good ideas all.

        After twenty years of local Government Reform initiated by the Douglas/Lange Govt., and ten years of Supercity with its blurred public/private accountability, people can become captured by the prevailing system. Auck. residents, and Council workers seem to be regarded by the Council movers & shakers as little more than ungrateful wretches.

      • Just do away with all the CCOs and have them as departments of Council!

        That's a lot of money saved – I'll take 10%

  4. Raveen Jaduram, being a decent sort of bloke all caught up among the bullshit and spin, came to realise the whole neo-liberal agenda he got caught up in was ACTUALLY as obscene as the perceptions.

    Well done Raveen!. Being as the obscenity is as it is, and with all the learnings you've attained) you can probably now concentrate on your 'fundamentals', and do something constructive philanthropically (in this space, going forward)

    Alternatively, not. Rest on your laurels and baubles, remit remit remit and show us ya marbles.

    I'd be happy to lobby for a spot on Auntie Beeb's "who do you think you are?" if you'd like. My reckons's are that it'd be w winner!, but I could be suffering form 'mis-thinkings'.

    Btw, when you resigned – did you have anybotty in mind lining them up as a replacement?

  5. R.P Mcmurphy 5

    and I want to know his position on desecrating and defiling Robbies Park.

  6. Draco T Bastard 6

    Mayor Goff, What Is Your Plan For Auckland?

    He doesn't have one. Central planning doesn't work, don't you know?

    • Tiger Mountain 6.1

      When it comes down to it Phil is an unreconstructed “TINA” kind of guy–there is no alternative.

      The handful of deep, wise, centrist thinkers at the Standard no doubt find my simplistic comments irritating, but really what has the penetration of private capital into previously public infrastructure really achieved apart from admin bloat and planning outcomes resembling a busted mirror?

      Hundreds on substantial salaries at the Supercity, while lower ranked workers and contractors had to fight for a Living Wage! Time for councils to slash the contracting out and have dedicated teams again.

      • Draco T Bastard 6.1.1

        really what has the penetration of private capital into previously public infrastructure really achieved apart from admin bloat and planning outcomes resembling a busted mirror?

        Its made it all far more profitable for the bludging shareholders – exactly as planned.

        • RedBaronCV

          Agree. Time for a rethink and split too – so that region wide activities are managed on a regional basis and the rest by empowered local boards.

          Also why are we even thinking of letting Auckland grow to 2 million. It's too large now compared to the rest of NZ – jobs need to be chased out to the secondary cities – covid has shown how disruptive it is – to have to shut down such a large region.

          • Draco T Bastard

            Also why are we even thinking of letting Auckland grow to 2 million.

            True. It wouldn't be so bad if it was growing up rather than out then it wouldn't quite be so environmentally damaging.

            But it really is too big and if we let it get any bigger the water and other environmental issues are just going to get worse.

    • tc 6.2

      Has he ever restructured anything ? Always struck me as having made a nice life out of the beltway by being steady as she goes. Now doing it closer to home

  7. PsyclingLeft.Always 7

    Climate Change. Sustainability. Forward Thinking. There needs to be an ABSOLUTE Requirement that the Understanding and Implementation of these for NZ's Future are high prerequisite requirement for people in such positions.

    And yea re Goff…neolib…..

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