Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Rousing Auckland

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  • giovanni tiso,

    At the cost of repeating myself: they're not questions, it's a petition. And dishonestly run, as you note. Has The Standard written all over it, now that you mention it.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    But of course, in the interests of transparency and accountability, they haven't disclosed that.

    I wish they would, because it's getting a bit daft.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Does that mean The Aucklander also has some people in common or other links with The Standard?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    I wish they would, because it's getting a bit daft.

    Especially when you're running posts like this. Mr Pot, let me introduce you to my good friend Ms. Kettle -- you have so much in common.

    Does that mean The Aucklander also has some people in common or other links with The Standard?

    It means that The Aucklander is perfectly entitled to go into campaigning mode, but if it's claiming to speak with "concerned individuals and groups" we have the right to know who they are. Especially when you're claiming to be supporters of transparency and accountability.

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

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Still, I do have to thank The Standard for pulling off a minor miracle: Making my preternaturally laid back partner red-in-the-face angry after reading this -- apparently The Standard doesn't believe in, or care about, practical realities and are quite happy to trash people who do if there's a cheap political point to be scored.

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

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Still, I do have to thank The Standard for pulling off a minor miracle: Making my preternaturally laid back partner red-in-the-face angry after reading this -- apparently The Standard doesn't believe in, or care about, practical realities and are quite happy to trash people who do if there's a cheap political point to be scored.

    I can't buy into the uproar about buying our trains overseas, when we buy just about everything else overseas.

    I can see a valid argument for "producing this in NZ will have other benefits which should be taken into consideration as part of the tender". But if the government is going to do that it should be done across the board, not just because a bunch of people have suddenly found trains are really expensive and people like them.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    I can see a valid argument for "producing this in NZ will have other benefits which should be taken into consideration as part of the tender"

    Sure, but there's no valid argument for KiwiRail putting in a tender for work it can't delivered on time and to spec. Jim Quinn doesn't have the luxury of magical thinking or political posturing. And I'd respectfully suggest that if those trains were delayed while Claire Curran and Trevor Mallard's constituents were brought up to speed, they wouldn't want to be spending any time campaigning north of the Bombays.

    Auckland train users are running rather short of patience with the legacy of decades of under-investment by successive governments, and I don't blame them one little bit.

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

  • Paul Brislen,

    Paul, I don't think that warning is sufficiently strident, but I also don't know how to make it more so. Maybe some mistakes just have to be made.
    And, really, you haven't lived on the 'net (I was going to say tubes, but thought that might be a bit too rough) if you haven't seen it at least once.

    I figure there's probably a whole internet generation of users who have no idea what we're talking about as they weren't even connected Back in The Day (pre lolcatz).

    I hope it stays that way... but they'll have googled it and will now be pulling their own eyes out.

    Still, can't say we didn't warn them.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 200 posts Report Reply

  • Glenn Pearce,

    Personally The Aucklander lost all credibility with me when it suggested that the 130+ year old Ponsonby Rugby Club would be forced to change it's name under the Super City to "Maungawhau-Hauraki RFC".

    http://www.theaucklander.co.nz/local/news/exposed-how-new-city-bodies-will-control-your-life/3911869/

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 504 posts Report Reply

  • Yamis,

    Can anybody help me out here.

    Who was the first person or persons to suggest Auckland become a 'Super City' in terms of councils?

    I realise that there have been complaints about Aucklands inability to sort out transport issues and get consensus between councils on that issue and others but where did the idea for this super city as it has manifested come from?

    I've heard some dodgy behind the scenes ess aych eye tee about how it's unfolding lately and can see this stuff being hurled left right and centre for years to come if the worst case scenario comes true.

    At least Banksy is behind in the polls though. That's a start.

    Since Nov 2006 • 903 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Who was the first person or persons to suggest Auckland become a 'Super City' in terms of councils?

    I'm going to have to go do some research, but I vaguely recall the idea was bouncing around during the last round of local body amalgamations in 1989.

    At least Banksy is behind in the polls though. That's a start.

    Well, if Len Brown has two brain cells to rub together he won't be booking the moving van, ordering new cards and laying in the organic champers quite yet. :)

    What's really depressing me is that both Brown and Banks are not exactly pumping out the substantive policy, and they're going to be cheerfully enabled by media that gave up serious local body reporting many years ago.

    I'm going to be part of a panel discussion after the 11 am news on Chris Laidlaw's National Radio show tomorrow on "the future of Auckland" with Simon Wilson (senior writer at Metro, former editor of Cuisine and Consumer Magazines) and Roseanne Liang (multi-award-winning filmmaker). Should be interesting...

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

  • Steve Barnes,

    What's really depressing me is that both Brown and Banks are not exactly pumping out the substantive policy

    What's the point? It's not like they will actually be able to implement any of it, all that sort of stuff will be decided in Wellington by unelected bureaucrats and enacted by trained monkeys in Auckland. We get to keep the Mayor as a pet.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    What's the point?

    Not least because I'm bored to sobs with every damn election being reduced to whether or not you believe John Banks is the baby-raping whore of Satan. I'd also note that it is NOT unelected cardy-wearers in Wellington who are going to be setting your rates and deciding how to spend them, so I'd infinitely prefer that the Council not be turned into a Miss Lovely Legs competition.

    Or we can, as usual, treat the whole exercise as a joke and spend the next three years pissing and whinging when the punchline is not at all amusing.

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

  • Sacha,

    I agree with Craig. The election is being turned into a beauty contest when - despite the corporatisation - there is still a lot at stake and the party bloc level is most relevant regardless of whoever the Mayor happens to be.

    The level of media analysis has been woeful - and especially in the Herald's case, conveniently too late to make any difference. Rod Oram's stories like this one about CCOs stand out in their understanding of the politics and the implications and will make interesting re-reading in a couple of years.

    Imagine, for example, the chaos on a particular stretch of waterfront: The waterfront CCO might want more green housing; the economic development CCO more boat-building; the major facilities CCO a sports stadium; the property CCO quick profits from council land sales; the transport CCO more land for the next harbour crossing; Watercare more networked stormwater and sewage treatment for new developments rather than local processing wanted by the waterfront agency to tout its sustainability credentials; and the investment CCO refusing to give up more port land to make this happen.

    Meanwhile, the council is trying to devise a spatial plan to lift Auckland's growth and sustainability to a whole new level. But it lacks the resources, powers or skills to do that because they largely reside in the CCOs. And it lacks power to pull the CCOs together in the common cause of Auckland's progress.

    The government could stop this disaster happening by drastically amending its third Auckland governance bill to give the council: much stronger powers and resources to set strategy; real control over the CCOs; and flexibility to change CCOs by making them publicly owned companies rather than locking in their functions by making some of them statutory entities (such as Auckland Transport) or trusts.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    @Craig:

    I'm going to be part of a panel discussion after the 11 am news on Chris Laidlaw's National Radio show tomorrow on "the future of Auckland" with Simon Wilson (senior writer at Metro, former editor of Cuisine and Consumer Magazines) and Roseanne Liang (multi-award-winning filmmaker). Should be interesting...

    Indeed!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    I agree with Craig. The election is being turned into a beauty contest when - despite the corporatisation - there is still a lot at stake and the party bloc level is most relevant regardless of whoever the Mayor happens to be.

    I'd also note that Banks and Brown are, formally or not, going to be headlining tickets -- and I'd certainly like to know what they're about. Because God knows there will a snowball party at Lucifer's place before I vote to have an incontinent clown like Andy Williams representing me.

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

  • Brickley Paiste,

    I can't believe dumping on The Aucklander got so few comments. That upstart community has had it coming for years. Good on ya, Russ.

    Now, on to the Western Leader. Those fuckers got it coming. Still.

    Don't even get me going on the Auckland City Harbour News. They're rotten to the core.

    Since Mar 2009 • 164 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    The Auckland Transition Agency is setting the fees chargeable for the new Council's services, with interesting implications.

    These councils work on the principle of cost recovery. For example, an applicant should pay for all the council work that goes into a building consent rather than be subsidised by ratepayers.

    But the principle varies between councils, albeit only within narrow bounds and on some issues. Some seek to recover only direct costs, others a share of council investment in the likes of computer systems. All ensure applicants for small projects, say, a home extension, are subsidised in part by large projects such as a subdivision.

    Similarly, a council can decide it should transfer to ratepayers some costs it considers in the public good. For example, pensioners might pay lower dog registration fees.

    Exactly where a council draws the line is a matter of politics, in the best sense of the word. Councillors, responsive to their communities, decide.

    But there's no room for such constructive politics in the ATA. Ford says the politics are set by Wellington. The ATA is solely a massive project executing those directives.

    The ATA has also shunned professional advice. Although it has pulled in a lot of information from experts in these intricate regulatory processes from within existing councils, it has kept them out of the decision-making, a number of them say. The ATA has refused to say how it is making its decisions on fees and it has refused to show them the financial modelling.

    But one person familiar with the modelling says that operating costs for regulatory fees was $102 million across the eight councils in the latest financial year. Of that, fees covered $89m while ratepayers picked up the balance.

    Under the modelling for new, lower uniform fees, the Auckland Council will collect $80m from fees. And some of the fee changes are large such as reducing the hourly billing rate for final building inspections from an average of $157 to $110, implying a 30% increase in staff productivity.

    But the ATA has no accurate forecast of the operating costs. Given the trends in plant and staff costs, productivity and RMA penalties it is highly likely costs will rise, not fall, for the foreseeable future.

    Thus Hide's directive on lower fees will merely transfer more of the financial burden of regulation from users to ratepayers.

    He must be hoping that nobody will notice until after the next general election.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    But the ATA has no accurate forecast of the operating costs. Given the trends in plant and staff costs, productivity and RMA penalties it is highly likely costs will rise, not fall, for the foreseeable future.

    Thus Hide's directive on lower fees will merely transfer more of the financial burden of regulation from users to ratepayers.

    Good grief. Can this get to be any more of a shambles? Sadly, it probably can.

    Either way will land the new mayor and councillors in hot water. Voters will blame them for increased rates and/or fees. Wellington will blame them for messing up the new structure inspired by Hide and delivered by the ATA.

    And this isn't an accident. On discovering the real horror of the numbers, Hide et al have been working hard to hide costs until after the new council is elected and can handily be blamed for them.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    And this isn't an accident

    I'll say. It's all part of a pattern of deliberate transfer of benefit from citizens to developers, corporates and wealthier ratepayers, and it has been going on since the Royal Commission reported back, including related appointments and legislation.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    If the process was in any way open, we might have cause to be less cynical

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    I'd also note that Banks and Brown are, formally or not, going to be headlining tickets -- and I'd certainly like to know what they're about.

    Here is a take from Matt McCarten

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

  • Steve Barnes,

    Who said privatising prisons was a bad idea?

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Listen to the relaxed and erudite Mr Craig Ranapia as part of the supercity discussion on RNZ this morning, alongside Chinese New Zealander and film-maker Roseanne Liang, incoming Metro editor Simon Wilson and Auckland University demographer Ward Friesen

    (streaming, 49 mins)

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Pick the live radio virgin in that picture. :)

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

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