Auckland Council

Auckland Council spin: There is no IT budget blowout

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And they are right. ¬†There is no “IT budget” blowout.

Auckland Council is denying reports of a budget blow out, over its mammoth IT transformation project.

After much debate behind closed doors, the council has today revealed the latest figures for its New Core project. Read more »

Auckland Council rail loop will probably blow through $6B before it’s done

This is quite serious

An Auckland Council IT project considered key to delivering the promised savings of the “Super City” model faces a budget blowout of up to $100 million.

The “NewCore” programme is designed to consolidate the outdated operating systems of the eight local bodies which merged in 2010 to become the Auckland Council and has an approved budget of $71 million.

The first stage was supposed to go live in May with the project completed by June 2016, but council bosses yesterday confirmed a delay of 12 months.

Chief operating officer Dean Kimpton also confirmed more money was needed but would not comment on specific figures as councillors were discussing a briefing paper behind closed doors today. But sources say the total cost could end up between $140 and $170 million – up to $100 million more than the budget approved two years ago.

That’s $100M more over the top of $70M…¬†so far.

That’s some serious mismanagement. Read more »

Len’s rates rampage continues

Len Brown and those councillors who continue to enable his rapacious grab with rates are fast coming to a point where there will be a rebellion against their continued raids on our pockets.

About 4000 households face rates increases of 40 per cent or more next year under a “cold turkey” proposal causing deep divisions among city councillors.

The budget committee yesterday voted 10-7 to implement big rates rises in one hit next year.

The decision will be felt hardest north of the harbour bridge, where 2122 of the 3738 households facing a 40 per cent-plus rates increase are located.

The big rises are at the extreme end of the latest property valuations and the end to implementing a single rating system for the Super City.

About 126,000 households face rates rises of more than 10 per cent and 25,000 more than 20 per cent. ¬† Read more »

Unpacking the numbers on rail

Auckland Council is desperate to prop up the numbers for its rail tunnel and is resorting to some pretty under handed tactics in an attempt to force people onto its trains and provide the illusion to the people and the Government that the rail growth targets are being achieved, therefore the money should be spent.

Today’s announcement that they will cease all early bird car parking rates is a veiled attempt to force people to use Len’s pet railway.

The trouble with this thinking is that it is seriously flawed with greater chances of it failing to boost rail patronage.

There are good reasons for doubting the effectiveness of such a policy. Firstly the Census 2013 data tells us that the majority of people in Auckland don’t live near to the rail so don’t use it. We will know more in March 2015 when the Dept of Statistics releases the exact data on how people travel to work and from which locations. And that should be a telling picture for the scrutineers.

I have done my own investigation and startlingly I have found that Auckland has in excess of 40 zoned workplace destinations around the region and most of them within the urban limits. The top 10 workplace destinations are:

1. CBD;

2. Mt Wellington, Penrose to Onehunga;

3. East Tamaki, Highbrook, Botany;

4. Albany;

5. Manukau and Wiri;

6. Greenlane – Ellerslie;

7. Newmarket and Epsom;

8. Eden Terrace and Grafton;

9. Ponsonby and Grey Lynn;

10. Takapuna.¬† Read more »

Auckland Council bills ratepayer 5 cents, posts bill with 50 cent stamp and then denies all knowledge

via Facebook

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Auckland Council sending me a printed invoice for a remaining $0.05c owning from a cash payment I made in July 2013 for work I had done on my house. After 12 months wait then paying an exhorbidant amount to get my renovations permit, 16 months later I’m receiving this, the final bill? ¬† Read more »

Len Brown’s next scandal: secretive unitary plan provisions that pander to Maori

3 News reports

Documents released to 3 News have revealed accusations of subterfuge by Auckland Council over a controversial part of its Unitary Plan.

What’s more surprising, the attack comes from within, from councillors who say radical and far-reaching provisions have been sneaked through by officials with little discussion. But the council strongly denies the accusations.

Auckland’s unitary plan has earmarked 3600 sites as possibly having cultural significance.

“Some of them were basically middens, a few shells where somebody had a feed of pipis maybe 200 years ago, and all of a sudden it becomes an archaeological site of value,” says Auckland Councillor Dick Quax.

House owners nearby who want resource consent might now have to pay iwi for a cultural impact assessment.

“It’s part of a precautionary process to make sure we don’t destroy sites without knowing what their cultural values are,” says Auckland Council chief planning officer Roger Blakeley.

The real problem is that there is no public visibility of where these sites are. ¬†Your house could be right on top of one now, and thanks to the Auckland unitary plan, you now have to consult all iwi before you can dig your goldfish pond. ¬†And no, I’m not kidding. ¬† Read more »

Len Brown breaks yet another promise, ratchets rates ever higher

Len Brown has become the lying Mayor.

Another of his election promises has gone by the wayside as his council keeps on increasing rates rather than reining in spending.

Auckland Council’s budget committee has voted 16-7 for a proposal to increase rates by 3.5 per cent for each year of a new 10-year budget.

The proposal got the backing of Mayor Len Brown, who promised voters to hold rates at 2.5 per cent this term.

This is on top of the massive rates rises of the last 3 years, some way more than 10% but capped under now expired legislation. Remember too that this is average rates rises of 3.5%, there will be some with even higher rates rises.

These are the tax, spend and hope councillors.

For a 3.5 per cent increase: Len Brown, Penny Webster, Arthur Anae, Cathy Casey, Bill Cashmore, Ross Clow, Linda Cooper, Chris Darby, Alf Filipaina, Penny Hulse, Mike Lee, Calum Penrose, John Walker, Wayne Walker and Maori Statutory Board members David Taipari and John Tamihere.

Read more »

Why are we spending millions on cycling in Auckland?

Like a scene from the Muppet Show

Like a scene from the Muppet Show

At the moment there is a very vocal push for cycling friendly policies from Auckland Council and for some astonishing new projects that will pour millions into cycleways and the bizarre proposal to clip a cycleway onto the Harbour bridge.

As you will see, the bike spotting freaks as Cycle Action Auckland and Transportblog are talking out of their arsewhen they try and say cycling is an important commuter mode in Auckland.

avtually cycling has barely the sort of numbers that warrant $15m on the duplication of a cycle path to Westhaven or the $6m on the unwanted cycle path through Northcote Point (already labelled a ‘safe for cycling’ route by CAA) and certainly not the massive financial risk underwriting Skypath will be to the rate payer – based on Skypath’s untested and rather fanciful patronage figures.

Below is an excerpt from the AT board papers (Mar-14).¬†¬† It maybe an interesting exercise to calculate the CAGR of ‚ÄėBicycle‚Äô against other active modes like ‚ÄėWalked or Jogged‚Äô.

You will see that when the claimed increases in active modes is cited, essentially that is walking/running, NOT cycling.¬† Read more »

Time to say goodbye to local government?

It is fast becoming time raise the prospect that Local Government is an outdated form of bureaucracy and should be dissolved in favour of simple asset management organisations that deal with infrastructure.

Local Government was fine 80 years ago and perhaps it is sufficient to argue that it was fine in the 80’s when typewritten letters were still in use. But as technology has advanced so have the manners in which we behave. Business is now able to remotely operate in all parts of the world with a single head office creating huge efficiencies and savings in cost.

For a country of four million people and five major cities the question has to be asked as to why we have 30 odd local government jurisdictions. All of which are repeating the same processes and tasks albeit rather poorly.

The amalgamation of Auckland has raised the spectre that perhaps Local Government is simply too inefficient and consumed with inward navel gazing whilst dreaming wistfully of utopian paradises. Auckland Council is a dysfunctional and toxic environment that is bloated, heavily in debt and unable to perform its functions and duties.

Rather than labour through the pain of birthing even more of these monstrosities perhaps its time to suggest that we don’t need Local Government at all.

Rather what we need is simple municipal organisations that are responsible for and manage infrastructure. In Auckland Watercare Services is an excellent example of the structure implied. Its responsibility is to manage water and sewerage infrastructure. Pretty easy. Auckland Transport – whilst somewhat confused about what it does, can easily deal with roads and trains and buses.

And one to manage parks.¬† Read more »

Len’s going for your wallet even when you’re dead

grave-robbers

Granny had¬†better pick out a burial plot in the backyard because¬†Len’s going for your wallet even when you’re dead.

The cost of burials in Auckland cemeteries could increase by thousands of dollars under proposed changes to the Auckland Council’s budget.

Burial fees would rise throughout Auckland with some cemeteries increasing the cost of a child plot by $2000 increase, under the plan.

Waiheke and Great Barrier islands are particularly hard hit.

A single depth plot interment at Waiheke Island’s Onetangi Cemetery could increase from $176 to $1350.

On Great Barrier Island’s Tryphena Cemetery grave digging would go from being free to costing $1350. Burials on the island have, in effect, been subsidised in the past, the draft budget says. ¬†¬† Read more »