Auckland Council

Auckland Council finally gets one right, but probably by accident

Simon Collins has run dry of faux poor people to pimp.  But he’s getting stuck into Auckland Council for voting against a living wage initiative.

Auckland Council staff have told a local board that it cannot pay the “living wage” to its swimming pool attendants because it would set a precedent for other council workers.

The Albert-Eden Local Board resolved in February and again last week that a new contractor at the Mt Albert Aquatic Centre should be required to pay all staff at least the living wage, defined by unions and community groups as $19.25 an hour.

But Auckland Council chief executive Stephen Town has overruled the board and told its chairman, Peter Haynes, that the living wage would be “inconsistent with the governing body’s policy position”.

“I acknowledge that we are dealing with one contract for a local facility but the implications of requiring a living wage, even in one contract, will have ramifications beyond your local board’s area of responsibility and would have untenable consequences for me as the employer of council staff,” he said.

It’s really funny how Auckland Council’s financial management is driven by the need for more money for trains as opposed to a ideological opposition to a living wage.   Read more »

Auckland Council have suspended greenfield consent processing

Auckland Council has suspended all greenfield Special Housing Area (SHA) consent processing.

In a secret confidential meeting on April 16th the Auckland Development Committee (ADC) suspended any further processing of new greenfield SHA applications until the release and adoption of the FULSS (Future Urban Land Supply Strategy).

The Future Urban Land Supply Strategy is a universally unpopular control choke that Auckland Council has proposed as part of the Unitary Plan. So dumb and loathed was the idea that even the Independent Hearings Panel – chaired by Environment Court Judge David Kirkpatrick – released a decision slating the idea, raising it as unlawful and recommending that Council drop it ASAP.

But we all know that Auckland Council listens to nobody and does their own thing. So it is hardly a surprise that they have thumbed their nose at the Panel and the wider community.   Read more »

What will be Len Brown’s legacy?

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Len Brown has a problem….his legacy.

Right now he looks to be washed up with nothing but problems besetting his moribund and frankly defunct mayoralty.

He should have quit when he was busted with his rooting. But the stubborn old goat still thought the public loved him, after all he’ just been re-elected.

Unfortunately they didn’t and still don’t.

But what will his legacy be?    Read more »

Alex Swney should put an ‘i’ in his name

Alex Swney is a piece of work.

He should really put an ‘i’ in the middle of his surname.

Auckland businessman Alex Swney has admitted a new charge, taking his total amount obtained through fraud to more than $4 million.

The 57-year-old former Heart of the City boss appeared in Auckland District Court this afternoon on a new representative charge laid by the Serious Fraud Office today.

Court documents show he dishonestly used false invoices to obtain $2,527,005 from the company between February 2004 and October 2014.

The charge carries a maximum prison term of seven years.

Swney is set to be sentenced on IRD-laid charges next week and a judge previously told him jail was the inevitable outcome.

His lawyer Murray Gibson acknowledged that in court today and asked that his client be sentenced on both matters on the same date.

In January, the former mayoral candidate pleaded guilty to four representative charges covering 12 years of offending and $1,757,147 of unpaid taxes.

Read more »

Ports flips the bird at Len and the luvvies

The Ports of Auckland has flipped the bird at Mayor Len Brown and the luvvies supporting halting work, they have moved in the cranes and construction equipment and got underway on their legally mandated and approved extension work.

Ports of Auckland chairman Graeme Hawkins has announced the company is proceeding with two massive wharf extensions into the Waitemata Harbour.

The decision to continue work comes despite public protests and a political call by Auckland Council to halt work until a wide-ranging port study is done.

The port company has resource consent for the work and there are no legal barriers to prevent it.

Following a board meeting today Mr Hawkins said there had been a hold up with some gear but work was proceeding on the extensions to Bledisloe Wharf. Read more »

Are Auckland Council desperate?

Growth targets for the rail are miles off track even with Council artificially pumping the growth by redirecting buses to terminate at rail stations.

So what are Council up too?

Finally the NZ Herald gets it that only 12% of Auckland people work in the CBD and possibly the expenditure is wrong given that small value and the few thousand people who use a train.

Only about 12 per cent of Aucklanders worked in the CBD yet the small area was where most of the money was being sunk, particularly with the $2.5 billion City Rail Link.

“Instead of cutting funding to community projects, town centres, library hours and parks maintenance, I’d rather see the knife wielded at the CCOs and the CBD, that’s where there’s still plenty of fat to be found,” he said.   Read more »

Does anyone else think that Brian Gaynor banging on about transparency is a sick joke?

Brian Gaynor still has column in the NZ Herald, despite his company being under investigation for manipulating markets, and despite the Guardians of the Superfund pulling their warrant, for want of a better term.

The Herald seems to think his columns are just fine, and NZME. thinks his continued pushing of Kiwisaver ads on NewstalkZB is fine to.

Today’s column though is just taking the piss. He is banging on about transparency.

One of the major issues raised by the Ports of Auckland wharf expansion controversy is whether Auckland ratepayers have greater transparency and more influence over the company than they did when it was listed on the NZX.

Similar transparency and influence issues can be raised regarding Air New Zealand, Genesis Energy, Meridian Energy and Mighty River Power, all NZX listed and more than 50 per cent owned by the Crown.

Read more »

An update on the “$1.5M state house” that nobody will live in

The controversial $1.5 million “lighthouse” sculpture on Queens Wharf is being made more in keeping with its state house roots.

After two years of artistic problems and delays, Auckland Council has finally released the first public images of the sculpture, based on a modest Mt Eden state house.

Artist Michael Parekowhai has abandoned plans for a Venetian crystal chandelier weighing 4.5 tonnes and depicting a glowing garden of native flowers, birds and insects at a cost of $705,000. It will be replaced with 10 small chandeliers in a Matariki constellation, or Pleiades star cluster, referencing the Maori New Year, most of which will be made in New Zealand.

Last night, council chief operation officer Dean Kimpton said the budget remained $1.5 million, but there was no longer any cost to ratepayers.

The project will be funded from a $1 million gift from Barfoot & Thompson, interest of about $100,000, a $100,000 donation believed to come from arts patron Dame Jenny Gibbs and an anonymous donation.

Previously, the council agreed to underwrite the $500,000 shortfall after Barfoot & Thompson made a $1 million donation in March 2013 marking its 90 years in business.

It’s good to know that the Auckland Council are no longer pouring $500,000 of rate payers money into this project, but what nobody seems to realise is that there is still a huge operational cost that has already been incurred, and will continue to be incurred that the rate payer is still paying for.  Read more »

Taxpayers’ Union take on Maori mafiaoso tax

The Taxpayers’ Union doing what the John Key’s National Party should have done a long time ago and is taking on Auckland Council’s r̶i̶d̶i̶c̶u̶l̶o̶u̶s̶  corrupt ‘Cultural Impact Assessment’ provisions.

This morning the Union joined forces with other not for profits and launched a report titled “The Taniwha Tax”. Below is the summary they sent to supporters:

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[T]he Taxapayers’ Union launched what is our hardest hitting research yet.We were joined in Auckland by pro-deomcracy group Democracy Action, the Auckland Property Investors’ Association, and our sister organisation the Ratepayers’ Alliance, to launch The Taniwha Tax: A briefing paper on Auckland Council’s new Mana Whenua rules.The Paper covers the new Mana Whenua provisions in the Auckland Unitary Plan that have enacted a cultural or ‘Taniwha Tax’, enforceable immediately.Our briefing paper exposes:   Read more »

Ratepayers Alliance to take on the Auckland Council

A new ratepayer group, the Auckland Ratepayers Alliance, has been established to hold Len Brown’s council to account.

Rate hikes, proposed new taxes and a culture of wasteful spending has led a group of concerned citizens to form the Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance which begins operations from today.

Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance spokesperson, Jo Holmes, says, “Our purpose is to hold Auckland Council to account. With 130 spin-doctors the Council is very good at sidelining the concerns of neighbourhood ratepayer groups. By combining forces, this new group will shine the light on those wasting ratepayers’ money.”

“Aucklanders who are sick and tired of the Council wasting ratepayer money are invited to join us.”

It sounds as though the Ratepayers Alliance is keen to unite the neighbourhood groups throughout Auckland and gear them up ready to take on the council rather than having their voices lost in the suburbs.

This could be quite a headache for Len Brown or any other “independent” Labour Party mayor that might be at the reins.

Auckland Board Member of the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union, Gabrielle O’Brien, says, “Traditionally it’s been the business and property groups that have stuck up for fiscal responsibility within Auckland’s local government. Unfortunately most Auckland business groups are now heavily reliant on ratepayer money and find it difficult to bite the Council hand that feeds them.”

All modern socialists know that the best way to get business on side is by throwing around freebies and funding. Auckland Council has basically taken over the EMA, Business NZ and Property Council by charging it back to taxpayers or ratepayers.

“With rates digging deeper and deeper into the pockets of Aucklanders, residents need an organisation that gives a collective strength to their voice. The Taxpayers’ Union has assisted in establishing the Ratepayers’ Alliance to ensure that Auckland has a dedicated organisation holding the Mayor, his Council, and officials to account.”

A ratepayer group that won’t be swayed by local government handouts?

Auckland Council will be in crisis mode.

All power to them, I think I’ll become a member.