Auckland Council brass and Len Brown are trying desperately to distance themselves from the Ports expansion

Auckland Council brass and Len Brown are trying desperately to distance themselves from the Ports expansion with PR spun porkies.

Today the Council is saying ‘heads might roll’ and that ‘it didn’t know anything about the wharf expansion’ which they claim should have been communicated to Council by POAL.

Heads could roll over Ports of Auckland expansion plans, according to a senior Auckland Council source.

Auckland Council has started to flex its muscles on plans by the ports company to build two massive wharf extensions nearly 100m into the Waitemata Harbour.

Council chief executive Stephen Town has written a letter to the council body overseeing Ports of Auckland asking it to “encourage” port bosses to halt the extensions until a wide-ranging port study is done.

Mr Town and councillors have also delivered a firm message to the port company to become more engaged with the community.

“It is my view that Ports of Auckland Ltd (POAL) has not engaged sufficiently with key stakeholders, or the public at large, in relation to the proposed wharf extensions,” Mr Town said in his letter to Auckland Council Investments Ltd (ACIL).

Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse told a council meeting yesterday the letter contained an “iron fist in a velvet glove”. If all else failed there was a “thermonuclear” option.

A senior council officer indicated the “thermonuclear” option could see heads roll.

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Daniel Hannan on poverty and why Nelson Mandela was wrong

Daniel Hannan is a thinker, and an eloquent speaker.

He has challenged Nelson Mandela’s thinking on poverty and explains why Mandela was wrong.

“Like slavery and apartheid,” Nelson Mandela told 20,000 people in Trafalgar Square ten years ago, “poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings.”

They were inspiring words, and the crowd duly went wild. But the old man was talking utter, unadulterated bilge. Poverty is not “man-made”: it is the primordial condition of all living organisms, including humans. It is wealth that is “man-made”.

As usual Hannan is straight into it without hesitation.

Perhaps 100,000 years ago, our distant fathers hit on the idea that, instead of having to do everything themselves, they could specialise and exchange. If Ug is particularly deft at making flint weapons, let him stay behind and concentrate on what he’s good at while the rest of the tribe hunts and brings him a share of the meat. While we’re about it, Og from the neighbouring clan has a rare gift for making fishhooks: why not trade some of them for Ug’s flints?

From that simple discovery came, in due course, wheels and printing presses and spinning jennies and skyscrapers and antibiotics and the Internet. The greater the number of people drawn into a commercial nexus, the more each individual can concentrate on improving his or her particular métier. The hours which we need to work in order to support ourselves fall, giving us more free time – both to employ in leisure pursuits and to come up with yet more ingenious inventions. People became longer-lived, more literate, more comfortable, better-fed, taller, more numerate and more numerous. They also, incidentally, become more peaceable: far from being ruthless or selfish, capitalism joins men and women together in a cats-cradle of mutual dependency. That, in a nutshell is the history of homo sapiens.

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I can’t believe Andrew Little still has not spoken to Winston Peters

Unbelievably, since Andrew Little has become Leader of the Opposition, he has barely spoken to Winston Peters and even more unbelievably he hasn’t het met him since Steve Joyce’s Northland debacle.

Claire Trevett highlights the bizarre situation.

The member of Parliament-elect for Northland, Winston Raymond Peters, returned to the House this week, a Phoenix rising, a man transformed.

Strangely, the result has quite gone to Labour’s head. It is acting as if it won the byelection. For the past two days, Labour MPs have strutted in and asked a number of Northland-related questions in Parliament.

Leader Andrew Little and other Labour MPs dedicated their general debate speeches to rubbing National’s nose in the dog poos that was its campaign. Little has also talked about working more with Peters to build a united, strong Opposition. Labour seems to think sending its voters Peters’ way has bought it coalition insurance, a strong comrade-in-arms.

Little best invest in a long spoon before he starts attempting to spoon Peters.

Labour voters did help Peters but at least 9000 of his 15,400 votes did not come from Labour.

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NZ Super Fund suspends Milford Asset Management

The NZ Super Fund has announced they have suspended Milford Asset Management:

The Guardians of New Zealand Superannuation, the manager of the New Zealand Superannuation Fund, has suspended the Fund’s mandate with Milford Asset Management until a Financial Markets Authority (FMA) investigation into Milford is completed.

In the interim, the funds will be managed internally.   Read more »

Mental Health Break

Police drop deeply unpopular “no tolerance” stance for Easter

Police are vowing to focus on preventing “risk-taking” behaviour from motorists on the roads this Easter.

The official Easter holiday road toll period starts at 4pm today, and runs until 6am on Tuesday, April 7.

Last year’s Easter road toll was five, from a reported 95 injury crashes.

Three people were killed on the roads in 2013. The only fatality-free Easter ever recorded was in 2012.

Police said they were urging all road users to play their part in making the long weekend safe for all.

Road policing national operations manager Inspector Peter McKennie said police would be focused on preventing the “risk-taking” behaviour that was responsible for killing and injuring people on the roads. Read more »

Map of the Day

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Ritchies Coaches hiring the wrong kind of people?

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An “urgent investigation” has been called by Auckland Transport into an incident in which a bus driver was caught reading a newspaper while driving.

The video captured by a passenger on a Ritchies Coaches bus in Albany shows the driver with the newspaper spread out across the wheel.

He can be seen casually turning the pages of the paper while the bus is visibly moving.

An Auckland Transport spokesperson says the matter has been raised with the bus operator and an investigation into the incident has been called. Read more »

Another one Winston should champion: Easter trading law reform

As Easter rolls around for another year, there are again calls for the Government to review the laws which stop many shops from opening over the long weekend.

Retail NZ says many New Zealanders want to be able to go shopping over Easter weekend, but shops can’t open thanks to “outdated” rules.

“In 2015, when people can shop 24/7 over the internet, the regulations really don’t make sense, and it’s time they were reviewed,” chief executive Mark Johnston said.

“Not only is the current law outdated, but it’s filled with exemptions that render it meaningless. A corner dairy can open, but not a supermarket.

“You can go shopping in Queenstown or Taupo, but not Wanaka or Rotorua. A shop can be filled with workers packing internet orders, but it can’t open the front door to the public.”

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Why Horizon Research Polls are poos

The latest Horizon Poll is out and it is on the Auckland Mayoralty.

According to them Phil Goff is a shoe in, if he has the courage to stand.

Former Labour leader and cabinet minister Phil Goff is a clear front runner in results of a poll on who would receive most current and potential support if they were to run for the Auckland Mayoralty in 2016.

A Horizon Research poll of Auckland Council area residents conducted between 19 and 26 March 2015 finds Mr Goff, the MP for Mt Roskill, has 20% support of all respondents if he were to become a Mayoral candidate.

Former Mayor John Banks has 8% support.

Current Mayor Len Brown has 5%.

The Chief Executive of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce, Michael Barnett, has 5% support and former National cabinet minister and current MP for Pakuranga Maurice Williamson has 6% support.

Current councillor Cameron Brewer has 5% support and Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse 4%.

Mr Goff also has least voters saying they would “definitely not” vote for him (24%) while 56% of all respondents say they would definitely not vote for Mr Brown.

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