Auckland Council

Just get on with it

After six years if shilly-shallying the government is finally making noises about sorting out Auckland and has shown the stick.

If Auckland politicians don’t pass a coherent new plan for the city the government could step in as soon as September, the council’s chief executive says.

Council officials are preparing to receive the electronic equivalent of a “wheelbarrow of printed stuff” detailing Auckland’s new Unitary Plan.

After four years, more than 13,000 submissions and 249 days of hearings, Auckland’s first region-wide planning document will be delivered on July 22.

Councillors then have until August 19 to either accept or reject key planning recommendations, such as more intensified zoning and whether to move the city limit.

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Proof Auckland Council still have too much money to spend

Auckland Council are profligate wastrels.

The Herald editorial explains just how barking mad they can be.

If Auckland Transport has been reading our mail, and doubtless its own, it will know there is outrage over its decision to paint all municipal buses the same colour. Hardly a day goes by that the Herald does not receive at least one letter on the subject. It is not just the colour that concerns the correspondents but what this decision says about the relatively new creation known as AT.

It is one of the non-elected bodies set up under the Super City to run services at a safe arms-length from local politics. The Auckland Council and the Government appoint its board but cannot interfere in the operational decisions the board and its managers are trusted to make in the interests of the service. The board’s decision to paint the buses is a classic illustration of how misguided corporate thinking can be when the body is using public funds.

Auckland bus routes are served by private companies contracted to AT. The private companies have their own livery, well known in the suburbs where they have been based for a long time, much longer than AT has been in existence.

The main fleet, once publicly owned and uniformly yellow, was painted a variety of colours a few years ago, reflecting the destinations. Bright blue went to North Shore, bright green went to Waitakere, myriad colours in a Pacific motif went to Manukau.

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Auckland’s building momentum ramps up in time for 2017 election credit-taking

It looks like there is progress in housing in Auckland, which will pop Labour’s balloon just in time for election year.

Building activity in Auckland has topped an all-time high of $6 billion a year and is on track to meet “ambitious targets”, the Government says.

Building and Housing Minister Nick Smith says the housing accord with Auckland Council set a target of 39,000 new sections created and dwelling consents issued over three years.

“By 31 March 2016, 30,389 had been achieved compared with a target of 30,500 at that date – 99.6 percent of the target,” he said.   Read more »

Will the rail loop business case sustain massive cost blowouts?


The rumour mill is rife that Auckland Transport has new up-to-date costings for design of the CRL…and it’s not good news.

Over time AT has progressed design of the City Rail Link up under Albert St. Some elements are fully designed, tendered and under construction whilst other elements are being worked through from preliminary to developed to detailed design.

And as is consistent with projects they are regularly checking design compared to budget with quantity surveyors.

Well talk is thick with news that the costs are coming in well over the original budget. Potentially now at $5billion.

You read that right. FIVE BILLION.   Read more »

Will Twyford complain about Auckland housing when Phil is in charge?

Simon Collins runs a hit piece on housing for Phil Twyford, but Twyford has no answers.

The evidence continues to build showing the intransigence of Auckland Council.

New homes and sections created under the Auckland Housing Accord have dropped below target as the building industry struggles to find extra labour, materials and equipment.

The latest quarterly report shows that 30,389 new homes have been consented or sections created since the accord between Auckland Council and the Government took effect in October 2013.

That’s 78 per cent of the target of 39,000 new homes and sections due by the end of the three-year accord on September 30.

Only 6605 new homes and sections were consented in the six months to March, just 39 per cent of the target of 17,000 for the full final year of the accord to September.

There is always a seasonal lull during the summer holidays, especially for new sections.

But 5674 new dwelling and sections were consented in the same six months last summer, or 44 per cent of the 13,000 target for the year to last September.

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Simon Bridges has a bright idea for costing National the next election

Simon Bridges has come up with a brilliant way to cost the government the next election…start flying kites about tolls for Auckland.

The Government appears to have softened its stance on road tolls in Auckland, saying that direct charges for road use will be needed to fund the growing city’s infrastructure.

The Government and Auckland Council today released their second report on the Auckland Transport Alignment Project, which will decide how the city’s transport system will be developed over the next 30 years and how it will be funded.

Transport Minister Simon Bridges said the joint project had found that achieving a “step change” in Auckland’s transport system would require “a range of interventions”.

“[The report] concludes that while ongoing investment in new road and public transport projects will clearly be needed, greater use of technology and in the longer term, road pricing – or directly charging for road use, will also be part of the toolkit.”

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Penny Hulse blaming everyone but the Council


Auckland Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse has come out to blame everyone else for not delivering houses in Auckland.

No, it’s not Auckland Council’s fault. No. No. No. (Squeeze eyes shut and throw tantrum.)

Whilst her comment is typical of the Council, it is also out of touch – and off-the-planet wrong. She really doesn’t know what she is talking about – and she shows it.

The Property Industry is filled with people who are quick to smell a buck and seize the opportunity to make hay. If the industry isn’t producing more it’s because it can’t. There are things in the way of it.

Penny says that there is plenty of infrastructure-enabled land. That’s a cheap parlour trick because what she means is zoned land within the city: land zoned for apartments and terrace housing, in accordance with their dumb compact city.

The problem with zoned land is that most of it has improvements on it: buildings and houses. Businesses occupy those buildings and they have tenure and don’t want to move. Many businesses own their own buildings.

People live in their homes and don’t want to move. They quite like it. They have made more than a few bucks owning the home and are not commercially minded to sell for a buck to a developer. Besides, where do they go?

And where do all those businesses move too?   Read more »

Mayoral hopeful Vic Crone wants to increase water rates on some property investors

Obviously there are no donations coming in from developers…so under the bus they go from Vic Crone, who is now starting to sound very much like a tax-and-spend socialist.

Auckland mayoral candidate Vic Crone has come up with a novel way of cracking down on land-banking developers.

She wants to use water meters to find empty houses. Homes or properties where no water is being used would be slapped with hefty rates bills.

She obviously has no idea what a land banker is…I would bet there are no water meters on land that is just sitting idle at the moment. This is just yet another dopey statement from an idiot of a candidate.

The council says land-bankers are sabotaging attempts to speed up the construction of new homes.

The council is lying; they are the ones sabotaging attempts at greenfield development . Read more »

Someone seems to have a name recognition problem


You know you are in trouble when no one, not even the media, knows who you are…and call you someone else, confusing you with a bloke.

The wheels are coming off Vic Crone’s campaign too.

Former fixer Joe Davis has been given the arse-card due to extremely poor deliverables and a lack of communication. Policy analysts who were working with the Crone camp before Christmas have quietly disappeared fearing reputational damage. Money has dried up or not arrived, with the initial $50,000 in donations disappearing for no apparent gain. Sean Topham, the former Young Nats president, has decamped to the US to help Hillary Clinton’s campaign. That leaving Josh Beddell, who is a nice guy but is so wet that he is never going to set anything on fire – let alone the world.  Read more »

Brewer on Auckland Council’s trust rating

Cameron Brewer has issued a press release regarding Auckland Council’s plummeting trust rating.

Auckland Council’s release today of its Citizen Insights Monitor showing just 15% of Aucklanders surveyed are satisfied with the council’s performance while only 17% trust the council is disappointing but not unexpected,” says Auckland Councillor for Orakei, Cameron Brewer.

“Firstly, hats off to the Chief Executive and his leadership team for doing this work and the subsequent authoring of the inaugural Auckland Council Performance Plan 2017 – 2019. The really negative numbers among these baseline survey results are not a reflection on staff. Nonetheless they have now tasked themselves with ensuring reputation repair!

“Sadly, it’s the lack of trust, political effectiveness and accountability and attitude towards ratepayers’ money that is dragging down Auckland Council’s reputation. While the categories of regional leadership & growth, social responsibility and communications, and fairness and ethics get a pass mark, accountability and effectiveness fail.”

Among the worse sub-categories within the failed category are ‘trustworthy’, ‘makes wise spending decisions’, ‘acts with integrity and honesty’, ‘good value for ratepayers’ money’, and ‘spends without waste or cost over-runs’.   Read more »