Auckland Council

ATEED now funding tickets to exclusive golf tournaments

Len Brown’s council and subsidiaries are out of control, but none more so than ATEED which is facing several scandals at once.

Their plans to create mini embassies around the world has met with strong opposition but now it seems they are adding corporate welfare for rich golfers to their ambit.

The Taxpayers’ Union can reveal that Auckland Council’s economic development agency, ATEED, has gifted $50,000 of ratepayer money to the Remuera Golf Club for the Holden PGANZ Championship. Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says:

“Auckland Council claims to have no money, but finds $50,000 spare to give a hand-out to Auckland’s richest golf club. They might label it ‘economic development’ but how is this a priority over roads, rail and housing?”

The Taxpayers’ Union was alerted to the funding through a Council social media competition offering ratepayers ten tickets to the event.

“The ten tickets are probably all ratepayers are ever going to see of the $50,000,” says Mr Williams.

In responding to questions put by the Taxpayers’ Union, ATEED, the Council’s economic development agency, has indicated that a project sharing agreement is in place whereby the Council receive 50% of any profits over and above $150,000 generated by the event.

“Officials are trying to have it both ways by claiming that the grant is not a hand-out to sport, rather an ‘investment’. When it flops, they’ll no doubt then call it a tourism expense.”

“If anyone really thinks this is a genuine investment that will make a good return to ratepayers, we’ve got a bridge to sell you.”

The documentation released by ATEED to the Taxpayers’ Union is available at taxpayers.org.nz

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Graeme Wheeler should sick to monetary policy

Graeme Wheeler should sick to monetary policy because he clearly knows nothing about property and how cities are built.

I don’t want to repeat like a broken record the things I have said before on this site, but suffice to say Wheeler’s view that NIMBY’s are to blame is just dumb.

Building height restrictions and NIMBY attitudes in inner Auckland are standing in the way of an adequate supply-side response to Auckland’s housing shortage, Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler suggested today.

Appearing before Parliament’s finance and expenditure select committee he reiterated the bank’s estimate that the backlog of unsatisfied demand in the city is between 15,000 and 20,000 houses.

While dwelling permits issuance had risen to an annual rate of around 7500 — “a huge improvement” — that was still well short of the 10,000 a year over the next 30 years the Auckland Council had estimated the city needed, let alone eating into the backlog, he said.

“Some very good work has been done on opening up new areas but a major challenge there is getting the houses built quickly enough and a lot of those areas are in the periphery of Auckland where people may decide the transport costs make it less attractive for them or the infrastructure needs might be considerable,” he said.

“I think work needs to be done in inner Auckland in addressing the height restrictions and the not-in-my-back-yard syndrome that’s there.”

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Auckland Council thinks a dump is cultural heritage

In the latest of Council clangers, Auckland Council has declared an old dump to be culturally significant.

Yes, you read that right. A dump.

Auckland Council have been playing fast and loose with the cultural heritage provisions in the Unitary Plan and campaign group Democracy Action have caught them out big time.

Last week Democracy Action exposed a site showing that the Council have placed a cultural marker smack bang in the middle of the old Greenmount dump in East Tamaki.

unnamed-1 Read more »

Auckland Council win on compact city

​Auckland Council wins on compact city direction from Hearings Panel

It looks more and more like Auckland is screwed and destined to continue to be one of the most expensive cities in the world.

Yesterday the Independent Hearings Panel has issued it’s direction on the issues of growth and the Rural Urban Boundary (RUB) – deciding to side with Auckland Council.

While this does not set in stone the Regional Policy Statement it does clearly signal to all concerned that the panel is going to run with Auckland Council on the compact city aspirations.   Read more »

About Unitary Plan tricks

A general view of newly-built houses at Dadun village of Lingshui ethnic Li autonomous county

Auckland Council is trying to stiff the Independent Hearings Panel on the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan.

Now that evidence is mounting against the compact city Auckland Council officers have been busy thinking up a strategy to gazump the property world and residents by circumnavigating the issues.

The problem for Council is that it is now finding itself against the entire community. Everyone is in agreement over the evidence and what outcomes should occur. Council – threatened by the chance it will lose – thinks everyone else is in looney land. Hardly a surprise because Auckland Council always thinks it is right. Supreme arrogance.

Word on the street is that new head of legal at Auckland Council – Catherine Anderson – has started working to wrestle decision making for big issues off the Independent Hearings Panel by regulating those matters outside of the Unitary Plan and the Resource Management Act and under the cover of the Local Government Act.

Firstly that’s a significant act that undermines all good faith.    Read more »

Show us the report Len

Where is the central wharves strategy report?

Auckland Council has for some time been secretly planning to open up the central wharves of Captain Cook and Bledisloe. It is for example – about to embark on a significant spending spree to pedestrianise Quay Street and reduce vehicle traffic down to two lanes.

The Wharves are the next step. Personally I don’t have a problem with opening the wharves up into the public realm. But I do have a problem with the way Council goes about it. Simply put – they are not transparent, and when put to the test – they tell lies about it.

Regional Planner Penny Perrit is on the record as saying a non complying activity status for reclamation of the port was indefensible. But it turns out they have plenty of advice to the contrary.

I have it on good authority that Council went about concocting a story around the activity status to make it easy for the port to go through reclamation.

Why? Because Council wants the central wharves and Ports of Auckland will only release the wharves if the activities upon them are relocated elsewhere in the area. A bargaining chip it became.   Read more »

Len Brown’s council shuffling deck chairs to make ends meet

While Len Brown is enthusiastically supporting spending more than $500,000 per annum on troughers in Ateed living overseas…and looking at expanding that, his council is reducing the public services that rates are supposed to cover.

Library hours are being reduced in a bid to save $1.1 million. Perhaps if he recalled our ‘city ambassadors’ he could find a large chunk of those savings?

Most libraries will have reduced opening hours, while some others will be extended, in a bid to save $1.1 million in Auckland Council’s proposed budget.

The core service is not spared in the 10-year budget, which also targets a 7 per cent cutback in park maintenance. The city’s 55 libraries will remain open on Saturdays, but Whangaparaoa, Mahurangi East and Birkenhead or Northcote will be closed on Sundays.

Warkworth, Ranui and Otahuhu will, however, extend their opening hours to include Sundays.

The Botany library has the biggest reduction, losing 12 hours to end up with 56, followed by Waitakere library and research centre, which loses 10 hours.

Even the hours at the central city library are being cut by five, doors opening on weekdays at 10am instead of 9am.

Other cutbacks of an hour or half-hour are minimal and several libraries will be open for longer. Warkworth will gain an extra six hours and Wellsford an extra three.

For libraries open Monday to Saturday, it is planned for a “neighbouring” library to be open on a Sunday to keep a seven-day service within reasonable reach of the community.    Read more »

Another Auckland Council trougher living life on the large overseas

Auckland Council is out of control.

Over the weekend it was revealed that one trougher from ATEED is living life on the large at ratepayers expense in London.

Len Brown professed no knowledge of the arrangements but backed it.

Now we know why…he probably did know, and also knew of another trougher living life on the large, this time in San Francisco…and there are plans for another in China.

Aucklanders have their own woman in San Francisco to go with their own man in London.

Pam Ford, of Auckland Council’s economic development arm, has been based in San Francisco since March last year.

On Saturday, the Herald revealed that Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (Ateed) had created a contract in London for one of its senior executives, Grant Jenkins, at a cost to ratepayers of more than $230,000.

His English-born wife was homesick and had been longing to return home for several years, according to a former council staffer.   Read more »

Auckland Council’s dodgy survey delivering as expected

The Auckland Council’s farcical and illegal survey is now in full PR spin mode as the boffins try to tell the story that Aucklander’s want tolls.

Motorway tolls are gaining far more support from Aucklanders than lifting rates and fuel taxes to fill a $12 billion transport funding gap over 30 years.

A snapshot Auckland Council has given the Herald of public feedback received in consultations over its 10-year budget also shows more than twice as much support for a $10.3 billion enhanced transport programme than for a stripped-down $6.9 billion version it warns will be the Super City’s lot if it cannot raise extra money.

The consultations began on January 23 and remain open for submissions until March 16.

Tolls have been backed by 51 per cent of 3418 responses received so far to a council mailout, and 17 per cent have indicated part support.

With a population of over 1.5 million to receive just 3418 responses is laughable. It is only 0.22% of a percent. Len Brown will no doubt claim this as an endorsement.   Read more »

Len Brown backs his Auckland ‘embassy’ staffer

Len Brown is a fool, firstly he comes up with a lamer excuse than John Key and Jami-lee Ross and pretends he didn’t know about his own council spending hundreds of thousands of dollars for a staff member in London.

Now just 12 hours later he is telling an incredulous Bernard Orsman that he is fine with it all.

Auckland’s Mayor, Len Brown, today came out in support of the city council having its very own man in London, at a cost to ratepayers of more than $230,000.

Auckland Council’s economic development arm has created a special contract in London for one of its senior executives, Grant Jenkins, who has moved his family to England.

His English-born wife, Kate, was homesick and had been longing to return home for several years, according to a former council staffer.

The Jenkins have set up home with their two children outside London in the village of Bourne End in Buckinghamshire.

As well as paying about $196,000 for a 12-month contract, ratepayers are picking up Mr Jenkins’ work expenses and office costs at New Zealand Tourism’s headquarters in New Zealand House near Trafalgar Square.

Ratepayers have paid an administration fee of about $15,000 for his contract and contributed $19,841 to the family’s relocation costs.

Last night, a spokeswoman for the mayor said Mr Brown had been unaware of Mr Jenkins’ job in London.

However, Mr Brown came out in support of the contract after being briefed today by officials at Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (Ateed).   Read more »