Auckland: A billion here, a billion there; soon you’re talking real money

The Government is expecting Auckland to spend $30 billion on infrastructure over the next ten years — over half of the total local Government infrastructure spend over the same period, and almost as much as central Government will spend.

Of the $30 billion, $8.5 billion will be on roads; $2.8 billion on rail and $2.5 billion on fresh water, storm water and sewage.

The figures are contained in Treasury’s annual National Infrastructure Report which was released on Friday.

Finance Minister Bill English says of the 3823 projects in the 2016-2025 pipeline, 219 belong to central government and are valued at $40.5 billion, 3559 belong to local government and are valued at $51.1 billion, and 45 projects belong to the private sector at a value of $9.2 billion.

This year’s Auckland figures are up over seven per cent on last year.

Hands up those who are expecting 2% rates rises under Phil? Read more »

Five minutes into the job and Phil Goff wants to blow a billion on a stadium

Now Phil Goff wants to build a stadium!

Now Phil Goff wants to build a stadium!

Well, we did warn you. Phil Goff has just picked up from where Len Brown left off. Now he wants to build a stadium…at a cost of more than $1 billion.

What is it with socialists and grand projects?

New Auckland Mayor Phil Goff wants to make an early start on a $1 billion stadium on railway land alongside Vector Arena.

In an interview with NewstalkZB’s Tony Veitch to be aired today, Goff said he does not want to spend an estimated $250 million on upgrading Eden Park over the next 15 years and believes the spiritual home of rugby and cricket could be sold for as much as $300m.

Goff, who has only been in the mayoral job for two weeks, stressed the council did not have up to $1b to invest in a new stadium right now but if the council did not start planning it would miss the boat.    Read more »

Phil, all you have to do is find the cheap land – here are the houses


Apparently, there is a housing crisis everywhere.

In the UK they are looking for solutions to their own housing crisis.

Most first-time buyers can only dream of buying a home for less than £50,000 – but it is possible if you’re prepared to go ‘modular’.

This involves selecting pre-fabricated, low-cost modules of various sizes which are then put together by skilled craftsmen.

The customer can then choose the interior design, giving an end-product which could be an office, hotel, school or house – and that includes starter homes.

The Modulhus, one such starter home, has now been crowned winner of an annual shoestring design competition.   Read more »

Observations of Auckland’s centre-right clusterf*ck election

Nick K stood for office on the North Shore.

He makes some observations of the campaign at No Minister:

Like a lot of people, I watched the clusterf**k unfold last Saturday, but my sentiment was more of amusement rather than disappointment.  And that’s because I saw this coming about 6 months ago, or maybe even longer.  I was involved in the campaign at a candidate level for a local board, and tried to distance myself from Auckland Future as best I could.  Stevie Wonder could have seen what was coming for them.

The political right in local body politics in Auckland exhibit the same attitude and make the same mistakes that Labour does at central politics level at the moment.  Both sets of players talk at voters, rather than to them.  They both believe they are right (as in correct) and soon the dumb voters will wake up and realise it.  But critically, they both utterly fail in their political messaging and strategy.  Both Labour and the centre right in Auckland local body politics believe if they keep doing the same things – the very things that have failed Labour and the centre right in Auckland local body politics since 2010 – eventually they will succeed as the voters will inevitably see sense.

Of course, doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result is the definition of stupidity.   Read more »

Richard Harman on National’s Auckland cock-up

Richard Harman gets right down to tin tacks in assessing National’s Auckland debacle.

The centre-left have now won control of the Auckland and Wellington Councils.

This will be a major morale booster for the Labour Party though Andrew Little was quick to say that it did not necessarily translate into improved chances for the party at the next election.

For National the result is more troubling.

There will now be a debate about why the centre right candidates so comprehensively lost.

In short, how did the centre right blow it.

And there will be a debate (again) about whether, like Labour, the party should become more involved in local body elections.

That may be particularly relevant in Wellington where two centre-right candidates with National Party connections stood for Mayor.

Read more »

Len Brown’s legagy: Sexy Times or Trains?

What will Len Brown’s legacy be?

“It’s been a helluva journey.”

In five words, Len Brown’s deputy Penny Hulse captured his six years as the first mayor of the amalgamated Auckland.

Mr Brown leaves the office with a legacy that will not be fully appreciated until the 2023 opening of the City Rail Link project which he championed.

The 3.4km twin-rail tunnels will cost around $3 billion, and took Mr Brown nearly three years to help convince the government to move from public scorn, in 2010, to Prime Ministerial agreement, in 2012, to co-fund the project.

The tunnels will create a loop under the CBD, boosting the frequency and capacity of the rail network, and are expected to trigger large commercial property developments along its route.   Read more »

And they wonder why we call them troughers…

Fairfax even calls them “pigs at the trough“.

Auckland councillors and local board members spent more than $280,000 in the past year feeding themselves at meetings.

As election day looms some local board members, including Kaipatiki Local Board member John Gillon and Orakei Local Board chairwoman Desley Simpson, say the council needs to put a stop to the lavish spending on food.

In fact, Gillon and Simpson want council’s well paid mayor, councillors and local board members, all 154 of them, to pack lunches like ordinary workers do.

Council figures show that in the 2014-2015 financial year Auckland Council’s committees, including the Governing Body, spent nearly $130,000 catering meetings and events while Auckland’s 21 local boards spent more than $151,000.   Read more »

A stunning 20% return rate in Auckland’s local body elections

Barry du Plessis-Allan writes

So far, early voting in our biggest city, Auckland, is woeful at just under 20 per cent and even in the capital, which was the only city to lift voter numbers three years ago, the enthusiasm at this stage is about the same as Auckland.

Even Prime Minister John Key admitted the other day he hadn’t voted, even though he’d filled out the forms, because he was still looking for a postbox.

That, if nothing else, is a good reason we should have at least trialled online voting this time round, but the Beehive flagged it because they had concerns for the security of the ballot and said it was too early for a trial.

Now this, as much as anything else, is a shout out to the young who have an abysmally poor voting record when it comes to putting their ticks alongside the names for City and Regional Councils, for local wards and health boards.

Do you know how many people are standing for mayor, council and boards in Auckland?  Once you realise there are over 200 positions to fill, and most of them are contested, how on earth does any voter care enough to understand the people involved?    Read more »

After taking $150k of chinky money Phil Goff pokes them in the eyes

Phil Goff was happy to take $150k of chinky money, now he is hoping, planning and wishing for a ban on foreign investors.

Foreign property investors should only be allowed to build new houses, not buy existing homes and “push up the prices as a speculator”, says Auckland mayoral candidate Phil Goff.

Speaking during a debate on current affairs programme The Hui this morning, Goff said he would support moves similar to Vancouver’s 15 per cent tax on foreign property buyers.

The Canadian city began imposing the tax on overseas buyers in August and some commentators believe it is already having an impact on its booming property market.

“What I would do is push Government to stop foreign investment in existing houses,” Goff said on the Hui this morning.    Read more »

One of these things is not like the others

Phil Goff continues to campaign as an independent candidate.

Unfortunately, the reality is that his claims of independence are a lie.

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