Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The Auckland Council as leaky building

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  • Andre Alessi,

    "People don't care about local government, except when they do."

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 864 posts Report Reply

  • Robbie Siataga,

    "the dog ate my homework and i need to go to the toilet "

    Since Feb 2010 • 259 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Rob O'Neill now has an editorial comment piece on his lead story.

    Not an easy story to report by the looks of it:

    We’ve been chasing the ICT end of the Supercity story for a while and have found the decision-making processes to be opaque. At first our calls to the Auckland Transition Agency were routinely forwarded to the Department of Internal Affairs. That’s just rubbing our noses in it.

    Messages were left and no response was ever received.

    Then we tried an Official Information Request. We asked for the roadmap for the new Auckland Council’s IT infrastructure and were told no such document existed. On the face of it, that in itself is curious.

    Nevertheless, that request did at least produce a face to face meeting with ATA, but all off the record.

    Then we heard Mike Foley, who leads the business process and systems workstream of the ATA, had canvassed the Auckland councils and authorities about their existing infrastructure and what would be ready for Day One, November 1, 2010, of the new Auckland Council. That led to a new round of Official Information requests seeking out the councils’ responses to that memo.

    Pardon my language, but what the fuck is the ATA doing decreeing that it will only speak off the record to journalists? In a way, I find this more outrageous than any of the rest of it.

    Who the hell do these people think they are?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    Who the hell do these people think they are?

    un-elected and unaccountable?

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2108 posts Report Reply

  • Robbie Siataga,

    Who the hell do these people think they are?

    ...people who dont trust journos to report the facts without spinning it left/right to suit their overlords leanings/ mayoral candidate





    i'll grab my coat...;)

    Since Feb 2010 • 259 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    Can you tell what his point is?

    S'pretty incoherent alright. But I think he wants us all to go back to sleep, because he can't see what all the fuss is about, and there's nothing to worry about.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Can you tell what his point is?

    Since we are all agreed that we want 'good' results, it's okay to dispense with democracy, to some extent.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Since we are all agreed that we want 'good' results, it's okay to dispense with democracy, to some extent.

    By jove, that might just be it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • James Liddell,

    ...I just don't think the amalgamation would be happening this quickly (i.e. this term) without it. When we're talking about who began this "in the first place", it's nice to remember

    Graeme, the Royal Commission recommended the amalgamation take place over 4 years (i.e. for the 2013 elections) if I recall correctly, not the 18 months that Key's government decided. You can't blame the previous government, who established the Commission, for the rushed timeframe of amalgamation that this government has put in place.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2007 • 102 posts Report Reply

  • Tristan,

    You know I really cannot get my head around the politics of this... Both John Key and Rodney Hide are from Auckland. They should have a better read on this situation...

    Even the Cit Rats are complaining about the lack of accountabllity and they are all National/Act members

    Oh and everyone who turned up to day 1 of politics 101 knows how important it is to 'win Auckland'

    On thier present form National will be luck to win east coast bays and Rodney in Epsom is look shakey. Oh and Nikky Kay can forget about extending the lease on her electroate office.

    I'm all for spending politcal capital but I think they are spending to much and I don't see how they can get someone that back on their present course.

    Can someone explain how National plan to benefit from this politically?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 221 posts Report Reply

  • Roger,

    Who the hell do these people think they are?

    The face of the future!

    Can someone explain how National plan to benefit from this politically?

    Um... no

    Hamilton • Since Jun 2007 • 179 posts Report Reply

  • Julie Fairey,

    I guess part of the complacency of Key and Hide must come from the fact that the Govt's polling, particularly National's, is pretty much holding up. They must be having quiet corridor conversations along the lines of "I can't believe we still haven't taken a hit from this, it's like there's something in the water up there in Auckland, hang on, that's a good idea, how about we put something in the water once it's controlled from Wellington?"

    (That's an attempt at light humour there about putting something in the water btw, I'm not quite that paranoid. Yet.)

    There is a great disconnect going on, and why should Key et al change their approach or policy on any of this stuff until the polls show they need to?

    To take a nationwide example - there is quite a level of pissedoffedness out there about the GST increase. But it's like people don't get that National and Act are in power now. There seems to be no blame sticking to them for this, or for other unpopular changes like the night school cuts.

    Plus I suspect their focus group work is also telling them not to divert. This may partly be because they are asking the wrong questions. For example on National Stds the polling the govt was doing was around asking people if parents should get better reporting about their kids. It's a motherhood and apple pie question and of course it got a positive response. But it actually wasn't a question about National Standards itself, and so now other polling is coming out showing concerns about the policy.

    Anyway I don't really want to get into a debate about natioanl standards (in fact I can't). Just an example that I'm aware of, I'm sure there are others.

    Puketapapa Mt Roskill, AK… • Since Dec 2007 • 234 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    You can't blame the previous government, who established the Commission, for the rushed timeframe of amalgamation that this government has put in place.

    I'm not blaming the previous Government for anything. I'm stating they were the ones who started this process. And observing that if they hadn't started the process, it wouldn't be so advanced now. This is basically a truism.

    On thier present form National will be luck to win east coast bays and Rodney in Epsom is look shakey.

    I suspect National would be quite pleased to continue with their present form: 20+ points ahead of Labour, and consistently over 50% in the polls.

    Can someone explain how National plan to benefit from this politically?

    Are you suggesting that National is doing this because they think it's the right thing to do, rather than playing it for political gain =)

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3207 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    Can someone explain how National plan to benefit from this politically?

    I think what we are seeing here is some fruits of Key's amateur approach to politics and corporate approach to governace. Like all good CEO's, Key wants his senior leadership team to get on with it and just present him with the results. His amateurish approach to politics means he has allowed the deeply unpopular 3.4% Mussolini of Epsom to impose a corporate fascist's wet dream on Auckland. Over laying all this is a certain sneering right wing hauteur of Rodney's crony kleptocrats for the ability of the mere hoi polloi in a democracy to grasp or care about their legalised thieving.

    Politically it is growing into a slow burning catastrophe for National. the elite criticism now is bad enough, but the constant drip-drip-drip of stories in which local politicians and ratepayers eagerly shunt any blame for any issue onto faceless, unlected and unaccountable CCO's, which will (not) respond to criticism with the nuanced contempt so honed to perfection by Auckland's ratbag business oligarchy will badly damage National's white middle class base in Auckland.

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

  • Tristan,

    Ah those blasted polls...

    Do we have any polls recently on Auckland voters? wouldn't mind seeing if there is a difference...

    The cynic suggests to me that National are pushing CCO's because they know most of thier friends will be running them.

    I just wonder if John is getting his neighbour to run Aucklands water at the expense of his own job.

    At the moment there is alot of 'talk' by the government and not alot of 'do'

    I suspect the polls will change when they turn the first sod on a national park mine, allow the first japanese whailing boat to fish in our waters, cancel the first national radio evening programme, send out the first super city rates bill or the GST at the till reads 15 percent.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 221 posts Report Reply

  • Sam F,

    By jove, that might just be it.

    Brilliant in its simplicity, isn't it?

    For example, on the issue of solving traffic congestion, Aucklanders might differ considerably on the means to reach the desired end. Is it rapid transit investment, or bus fare subsidies? Perhaps congestion charging? Or more and wider motorways run through suitably unphotogenic suburbs? Such a Gordian knot, so inconveniently tangled up with the genuine concerns and lives of actual human beings.

    If only the powers that be could find it in their hearts to indulge voters with the freedom to elect people to tell appointed CCOs to do a 'good job', we could remove the unwelcome intrusion of political debate into the proper business of unelected boards, and the natural order of things would be restored.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1609 posts Report Reply

  • Christopher Dempsey,

    It seems to me that the best thing Labour could do now would be to come out and say "we will re-nationalise (localise?) every Auckland asset that is privatised in the current process at 10c on the dollar"

    Don't hold your breath. Labour won't. Can't. Doesn't have spine. Doesn't understand that if one has spine, usually the other side backs down.

    It's not that such a statement is politically tricky. It's not tricky at all. It's a pretty clear statement and pretty achievable. It's just that they fear the robber barons.

    And, now an exercise for the class.

    This is John Roughan's Herald column on the Super City and CCOs.

    Can you tell what his point is?

    He has one? Other than something to do with "see how intelligent I am!"? Roughan is merely the sober version of Lhaws.

    Who the hell do these people think they are?

    Masters of the (Right) Universe. Didn't you know that? They are in fact clones of Leona Helmsley. "We don't worry about democracy. Only little people worry about it."

    Parnell / Tamaki-Auckland… • Since Sep 2008 • 659 posts Report Reply

  • cad,

    I think what we are seeing here is some fruits of Key's amateur approach to politics and corporate approach to governace. Like all good CEO's, Key wants his senior leadership team to get on with it and just present him with the results.

    Exactly, but what seems to be missing is the link that public should have with this CEO John Key and the so-smiley rugby-loving BBQ-cooking best-looking-politician John Key that polls so well. Everyone is complaining about National's policies (which should come as no surprise, really) but they are still in love with Key. Maybe there needs to be some kind of billboard campaign explaining that there is only the one John Key...

    Eden • Since Feb 2010 • 4 posts Report Reply

  • Andre Alessi,

    Maybe there needs to be some kind of billboard campaign explaining that there is only the one John Key...

    Won't do any good unless/until he spontaneously grows a vagina. Then they'll say "Well, it's not really his fault, it's just that time of the month..."

    Devonport, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 864 posts Report Reply

  • James Liddell,

    I'm not blaming the previous Government for anything. I'm stating they were the ones who started this process. And observing that if they hadn't started the process, it wouldn't be so advanced now. This is basically a truism.

    My apologies, I must've read more into your comment than was intended :)

    And you're right, it is a truism, but only because every process has to have a beginning somewhere. It also wouldn't be so "advanced" if the government had taken more than the month it did to carefully consider its response to the RC report, nor if it had heeded the Commission's advice that amalgamating over 18 months just wasn't going to work well.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2007 • 102 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    I suspect the polls will change when they turn the first sod on a national park mine,

    Maybe so but until then it is a secret as to where that sod may be.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Julie Fairey,

    Is this going to be a secret like the secret plan to end whaling? You know, the one that turned out to be let's stop illegal whaling by making whaling legal.

    Puketapapa Mt Roskill, AK… • Since Dec 2007 • 234 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I guess part of the complacency of Key and Hide must come from the fact that the Govt's polling, particularly National's, is pretty much holding up.

    Oh, quite. And for all that anyone whose job it is to pay attention to the Super City shambles is screaming blue murder, I don't really see much sign of that translating into any broad-based discontent with the government's actions.

    The Auckland Council elections, if anything, will focus people's minds. If Len Brown's Auckland-wide polling delivers, he'll have a mandate to raise hell in the job. But even Banks or A. N. Other will have to confront a situation where they're structurally prevented from actually governing the city.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22830 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    I'm not blaming the previous Government for anything. I'm stating they were the ones who started this process. And observing that if they hadn't started the process, it wouldn't be so advanced now. This is basically a truism.

    A bit of a long bow, though, no? I mean the gripe here is with the suspension of democracy, not with the idea of amalgamating the councils itself. And while I'm not necessarily ultra-confident that Labour would have acted very differently, well, they're not in charge are they?

    All that said, spare a thought for our European friends. Compared to how the European Commission works, the Auckland Super City is direct democracy in the public square.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    I guess part of the complacency of Key and Hide must come from the fact that the Govt's polling, particularly National's, is pretty much holding up.

    It also may be because once they have looted Aucklands assets and sold them to their mates at a knock down price they can rely on as much advertising as it takes to win and bugger the actual policies.
    It all smacks of the last time that lot got hold of the Treasury, just look at the list of asset sales to Sept 1999 Plenty of dosh went to their mates back then.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

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