Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Auckland: where only one man votes

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  • Russell Brown,

    Thoughts?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • HORansome,

    Yes, lots, none of them good.

    I've been wondering a lot, recently, about National's inability to spend or invest their so-called 'political capital;' they don't seem to want to do anything that might risk even a bit of the goodwill they seem to have gained since coming into government. Perhaps it's because they're worried that stuff like this might be a better use of a resource that will surely be depleted faster than anyone thinks.

    Tāmaki Makaurau • Since Sep 2008 • 441 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Thoughts?

    We haz them

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19707 posts Report Reply

  • Phil Sargent,

    Are the ATA or CCO able to privatise the assets or services they control?

    Since Nov 2006 • 28 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    It's not just the Nats involved in Auckland's local politics, but a good deal of tension with the Act wing. Mr Banks is not the unanimous candidate..

    Worth noting that Michael Barnett is also the deputy chair of the Auckland Regional Council, has driven the region's economic development planning, and heads up the C&R bloc who moved there when they could see the regional amalgamation happening and after Hubbard turfed them out of power at Auckland City Council (briefly).

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19707 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Are the ATA or CCO able to privatise the assets or services they control?

    ATA can't, but there are specific clauses in the Third Bill to make it so Watercare in particular can privatise anything they like before the next election in 2013. Like the other CCOs, their Directors are all appointed by Mr Hide and chums in the meantime. And their official information obligations are fully removed for a convenient window in 2012 as well.

    You can see why Len Brown is upping the ante in recent statements about the Transport CCO looking to be doing all its business in secret.

    One of my first priorities, if elected, will be to appoint new directors to Auckland Transport, and to rewrite its statement of intent. I would insist on there being a direct report into the Mayor’s office, and a close relationship with the new Council’s transport committee. As Mayor, I will expect to be seeing all reports and all board papers.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19707 posts Report Reply

  • Glenn Pearce,

    That $35 million figure for the IT systems sounds extremely optimistic to me. I'd multiply it by 10.

    I can't find the orginal online but one of the articles below in the hard copy Hearld had a diagram listing all the systems by functional area across the 8 councils and there wasn't much commonality.

    A single system migration to merge the billing/rating systems of 2 councils would be massive on it's own but x 7. Good luck

    Even if they used the same software (which they don't in many cases) they will be configured differently to support the different rules for each council.

    On the upside, the IT community in Auckland is wetting itself in anticipation.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10594418

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10595166

    Examples, Transpower have churned through $9.5 million of $18 million working out it was going to be hard to replace their billing system. Contact budgetting $80 mllion to replace its one.

    I just can't see them doing the Super City for $35mill or anywhere close to it.

    http://computerworld.co.nz/news.nsf/news/lights-flicker-on-electricity-it-projects

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 504 posts Report Reply

  • linger,

    If National has a long-term strategy, well...
    given that Hide is the public face on this, that could (unfairly) limit the political capital that National stands to lose from the inevitable mess resulting from this clusterfuck of a process. As long as Labour struggles to be anything more than irrelevant in opposition, National doesn't actually need Act -- except as a convenient lightning Rod.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1928 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    It seems the Herald is coming alive to the issues now. I hope and trust we can look forward to some solid and serious reporting from other news media organisations too. This is important.

    Well, Russell, the sole daily newspaper in Auckland decided a long time ago that "solid and serious" local body coverage wasn't important at all. Then again, hope and trust can work wonders, so here's hoping my doubt and mistrust turns out to be misplaced. Better late than never, and all that.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Nick Kearney,

    This from mayoral hopeful Len Brown is surely in jest?

    One of my first priorities, if elected, will be to appoint new directors to Auckland Transport, and to rewrite its statement of intent. I would insist on there being a direct report into the Mayor’s office, and a close relationship with the new Council’s transport committee. As Mayor, I will expect to be seeing all reports and all board papers.

    If he appoints new directors he will have 'golden handshake' problems with the old ones - or personal grievances, you take your pick. No director in his/her right mind will agree to be a director if Brown threatens to turf him out upon being elected. That'a not a good statement, but an unsurprising one nevertheless.

    A direct report into the Mayor's office? Good god. Brown should just get on with getting Auckland moving, instead of bothering himself with corporate governance. I mean, the faux outrage against Rodney Hide is nothing when compared to this statement.

    And Brown can calm down. The CCO's are under an obligations to report to Council - about every four months. I'm pretty confident as Mayor he will see the board papers.

    It's called reading.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 73 posts Report Reply

  • Quo Vadis,

    "Mr Banks is not the unanimous candidate". But hang on Sacha, there's nobody opposing him.
    Forget Len Brown for a moment, the only way we avoid another Mad Mayor is if another right wing candidate throws their hat in the ring.
    At the moment all the right white right wing people only have Banks to vote for and they - because they are educated and have money in the bank and like to sleep soundly at night knowing the city's resources are beign diverted into stuff rich white people like - will sweep Banks into power November 1.

    nobby auckland • Since Jun 2009 • 10 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    Better late than never, and all that.

    Just as a year ago, some of us were up in arms around these here parts regarding the fact that Hide has our (Aucklanders ) $28 billion worth of assets at his grubby little greedy hands, and not many reports on that either, and many were waiting....waiting... waiting, (still waiting??) because they believed in a brighter future.
    If it was less the a year ago,it feels like 9 long years!

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Quo Vadis,

    Don't forget, this is likely to be Rodney's swan-song given his party's tiny margin at the last elections.
    It's his only chance to pay back his BRT and EMA backers for their support at the last election. So yes of course he's got his hand up Mark Ford's jacket.
    Have you met Ford? Underwhelming but autocratic sums him up nicely.

    nobby auckland • Since Jun 2009 • 10 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    It's not just the Nats involved in Auckland's local politics, but a good deal of tension with the Act wing. Mr Banks is not the unanimous candidate..

    Sacha: I do love the smell of burning straw, but is there a point in there somewhere? Just quietly, I've been credibly informed that Len Brown is far from the "unanimous candidate" of Auckland's local body left, but that's neither here nor there.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Roberts,

    My understanding is that Brown won't be able to appoint more than two of the directors, anyhow.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 93 posts Report Reply

  • slarty,

    at a cost of about $35 million, for (I'm told) very modest gains in efficiency

    I tend to use a simple formula since joining the public sector.

    Look at the estimate. This is akin to merging 8 utility firms with multiple billing systems, and 1.4million customers. I would estimate a lean private sector organisation would be able to do that for $50-70 million.

    Now triple it at the local budget level - say $200 million, particularly if the worst of the large consultancies are involved (BTW, an interesting survey crossed my desk the other day if anyone has an interest...)

    Then add another $5million for the Commission of enquiry, and $50 million for the recovery exercise. Where they do what they should have in the first place: employ a good project manager off the street and get on with it).

    So I reckon $265 million. Anyone fancy a sweep?

    Since Nov 2006 • 290 posts Report Reply

  • Nick Kearney,

    Irrespective Martin, we'd still have elected politicians appointing directors. It's just that, if it's Brown, it's the "better" elected politician, or one on the "proper" side at least.

    That's what this is really about - the Labour/Left crowd are shut out for a few years and don't like it.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 73 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Just as a year ago, some of us were up in arms around these here parts regarding the fact that Hide has our (Aucklanders ) $28 billion worth of assets at his grubby little greedy hands, and not many reports on that either,

    Sofie: I've lived up here for two rounds of local body elections, and the quantity and quality of the coverage in The Herald has declined -- and anything not involving a Banks/Hubbard. cat fight? Forget about it. I'll put it this way: When you come away feeling better informed about local body elections in London or New York than in your own backyard, there's something seriously wrong.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    So Craig, Are we up for Parliament TV today, even if only for the cat fights? :)

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    I have an idea for the Herald, - perhaps they can run stories on the SuperCity under banner headlines of "DEMOCRACY UNDER ATTACK".


    Or have they already cried wolf on that one?

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2214 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    A direct report into the Mayor's office? Good god. Brown should just get on with getting Auckland moving, instead of bothering himself with corporate governance. I mean, the faux outrage against Rodney Hide is nothing when compared to this statement.

    The new structure has been designed - by Hide and others - so that the Mayor's staffed office is an important part of the governance arrangements. At the same time as they design CCO relationships to de-power the new Council.

    You really think there'd be a stink about CCOs doing business in secret with unelected Directors and little linkage with the Council if that's not what is proposed in the Third Bill?

    We should also note for the record that Nick is a major player for ACT in local government circles.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19707 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Irrespective Martin, we'd still have elected politicians appointing directors. It's just that, if it's Brown, it's the "better" elected politician, or one on the "proper" side at least.

    That's what this is really about - the Labour/Left crowd are shut out for a few years and don't like it.

    Bollocks. There's a massive difference in important Auckland agency boards being appointed by a mayor who has campaigned on his approach and achieved (at least) a plurality of votes from Aucklanders -- and boards being appointed by the leader of a tiny political party who has put none of this before the electorate.

    Or to boil it down: a hell of a lot more Aucklanders will vote for Len Brown than voted Act, whether he wins or loses.

    The way important decisions about our city have been put beyond the reach of any body we can elect is unacceptable.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    You really think there'd be a stink about CCOs doing business in secret with unelected Directors and little linkage with the Council if that's not what is proposed in the Thirds Bill?

    It's right there in the name: "Hide".

    Between him and Simon Power and Mr Key, they appear to be vying for some sort of James Bond villain cabal.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    If he appoints new directors he will have 'golden handshake' problems with the old ones - or personal grievances, you take your pick. No director in his/her right mind will agree to be a director if Brown threatens to turf him out upon being elected. That'a not a good statement, but an unsurprising one nevertheless.

    Fuck them.

    If they get themselves appointed to these CCO's as the result of a right wing palace coup orchestrated by the 3.5% Mussolini and then get kicked out by an equally hard nosed left wing respose then it serves them right. No a cent to even help with the dry cleaning when their sorry fat cat asses land in the gutter.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2214 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    we'd still have elected politicians appointing directors. It's just that, if it's Brown, it's the "better" elected politician, or one on the "proper" side at least.

    That's what this is really about - the Labour/Left crowd are shut out for a few years and don't like it.

    Huge difference between a Minister appointing Directors and a democratically-elected Council to whom the CCO's are supposedly reporting doing so. Whoever wins the local election should have that power, not hand-picked toadies and Welli power-brokers.

    snap, Russell

    And forcing Auckland local electors to use FPP in 2013 as well as 2010 is hardly a level playing field when we know that voting system favours the right. That decision shuts us all out, and its a sign of desperation.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19707 posts Report Reply

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