Auckland

Phil Goff as good as announces he is running for Auckland Mayor

Phil Goff is still not officially saying he is running for Auckland’s mayoralty, but he sure is talking a great deal about it all.

Auckland mayoral prospect Phil Goff says he would run the city differently from the current “presidential” style of leadership.

In a local television interview the Mt Roskill Labour MP has reiterated that he’s seriously considering standing for mayor, but claims he still hasn’t made the final decision.

The longtime Auckland politician has clearly been putting in the legwork,however, meeting with a wide range of interest groups in the city including youth environment movement Generation Zero and Transport Blog commentators.

Phil’s only problem stopping him from formally announcing his bid is his missus. It is understood from my Labour sources that she wants nothing of it, and was hoping that after 34 years as a Labour MP he was finally going to retire. The word is she isn’t at all happy about latest developments.    Read more »

The delusions of Simon Wilson

Simon Wilson, the sacked editor of Metro, has written a column on their website defending Len Brown and the Terrible Ten.

In his column he blatantly misleads with some of his claims.

It is his attempt to lay blame on the government rather than on the idiot mayor.

The rates rises have three main drivers. One is the rising cost of services. The council is indeed responsible for managing that.

The second is the targeted transport levy. This was not the council’s choice. It wanted a user pays approach, with motorway tolls and/or some other kind of levy on those who use the roads. But that requires a law change and the government said no.

So the council had a choice: either scrap its plans for addressing the transport crisis, or load the cost onto rates.

Was scrapping the plans even a real option? Council officers warned of dire consequences for the city’s economic health if the council voted down the budget. And we already know that transport infrastructure will soon fail if funding for public transport, especially rapid transit, is not boosted.

Councillors who voted against the budget have not proposed useful alternatives, but have instead succumbed to narrow political opportunism and/or their own fears of a voter backlash.

Read more »

Auckland Council keeping the size of Bob Harvey’s trough a secret

pigs-in-mud-port-sandwich-pangi-vanuatu+1152_12838571749-tpfil02aw-12259

The Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance says that the size of Bob Harvey’s new council trough should be made public, instead of the secret it is now.

The Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance is calling out Auckland Council for its secretive approach to ratepayer money after it shot down the Alliance’s enquiries regarding the remuneration of Sir Bob Harvey in his new role as ‘Champion for Auckland – overseas investment’. After Friday’s announcement the Ratepayers’ Alliance asked whether and how much Sir Bob was to be paid for the role. A spokesperson for the Mayor’s office emailed back that evening with “Bob’s pay is personal information which Auckland Council won’t be releasing.”   Read more »

The arrogance of Len Brown is astonishing

Lame duck Mayor Len Brown threw a party to celebrate his pillaging of ratepayers’ pockets and his shameless breaking of his election promises.

Auckland Mayor Len Brown and council staff held a ratepayer-funded party hours after passing a new budget that includes a 9.9 per cent average rates rise for households.

Senior staff have defended the function as a way of thanking staff but critics say the decision was misguided when thousands of Aucklanders were smarting from big rates increases.

After passing his budget by one vote – and avoiding plunging the city into a financial crisis – Mr Brown left the Auckland Town Hall on Thursday night to join chief executive Stephen Town and 50 or so other staff for drinks in the Herald Theatre at the Aotea Centre.

Last night, the mayor’s chief press secretary, Glyn Jones, said Mr Brown briefly attended a function to thank staff for their work at the completion of the council meeting.

Mr Jones said he, Mr Brown and a senior adviser, Theresa Stratton, attended from the mayoral office.

Last night, a council spokeswoman said the council finance team hosted a function for around 50 staff from 4pm to 6pm at the Herald Theatre. Read more »

Lame duck mayor lets another ex-mayor in the trough

Len Brown just can’t stop rewarding other troughers.

The whole charade of his appointment just shows how easily Len Brown and his council lie about things.

A week after Auckland Council hosed down Sir Bob Harvey’s claim he was the new ambassador for the Super City, mayor Len Brown has welcomed the former Waitakere mayor’s appointment to the role.

Last Friday Sir Bob announced on breakfast television that he’d been appointed to a council role, which would involve overseas investment.

But within minutes of the announcement, a mayoral spokesman said there had only been “discussions” about him taking on the new job.

Today the council announced Sir Bob, who has stepped down as chairman of the council-controlled organisation Waterfront Auckland, was named ‘Champion for Auckland – overseas investment’ by the council.   Read more »

No surprises here as Ngati Whatua go to court

The brownmail starts. Ngati Whatua are going to court.

I wonder when the taniwha is going to turn up?

Auckland iwi Ngati Whatua has confirmed it will seek a judicial review of Government’s plan to sell off Crown land to private developers.

The iwi said this afternoon it had filed a statement of claim in the High Court in Auckland to seek a ruling on its right of first refusal on surplus land in Auckland.

“Ngati Whatua is working closely with the government to get more houses built,” iwi spokesman Ngarimu Blair said in a statement.   Read more »

Pressure builds on the abstainers, two more cave

Pressure is building on the abstainers with two of them caving to pressure.

Two more Auckland councillors have come forward today to say they will vote on tomorrow’s final budget vote.

This follows reports that Mayor Len Brown does not appear to have a majority and is relying on four or five councillors to change their mind or abstain to pass the budget tomorrow.

Councillor Cathy Casey said she had never considered abstaining from the vote, saying in 20-plus years as a councillor she had never sat on the fence on anything.

She did not say if she would support or oppose the budget.

Ms Casey did not respond to earlier questions by the New Zealand Herald on her position.

Councillor Wayne Walker today said he would never be abstaining on the vote.

“It had been suggested to me.

But I have never abstained. I will make my decision on the day,” he said.

On Sunday, Mr Walker told the Herald “abstaining was a possibility”, saying in many respects he would like to vote against it.

Read more »

Auckland Zoo – We’d like some back-handers with our coffee beans thank you

zootender1

Tranparency International constantly tells us we are at the top or equal with other countries as the least corrupt.

Maybe it is because our public organisations put their corruption openly into tender documents…it isn’t corruption if it is in the open.

The Auckland Zoo is running a tender at the moment for the supply of coffee beans to the Zoo.

Contained within the tender documents is this requirement:

zoo-tender Read more »

And they think that is going to save them? [UPDATED]

Some Auckland councillors think that abstaining from a vote means they didn’t make one and can’t be blamed for the consequences.

That’s so dumb its incomprehensible.

It’s like saying the dog ate one’s homework.

Not voting – abstaining – is still supporting the Mayor. It just comes with a bit of posturing. The result will still be a win for the Mayor’s budget.

And being scared by Stephen Town into believing that there will be dire financial consequences?

That’s even dumber.

Several Auckland councillors are expected to abstain from a budget vote this week to avoid plunging the Super City into a financial crisis.

Mayor Len Brown looks set to pass his new 10-year, $60 billion budget with less than half the votes of his council at Thursday’s governing body meeting.

He will get there after councillors were told the consequences of not passing the budget by chief executive Stephen Town and chief finance officer Sue Tindall over lunch last Thursday.

Councillors attending the lunch said the consequences were dire.   Read more »

Len Brown continues to be sneaky and furtive

Bloody Hell! Nailed again

What money?

Len Brown is continuing on his sneaky and furtive ways, with his secret donation to a dodgy trust staying secret in part because his people refused to cough up documents.

Clearly transparency and honesty aren’t part of Len brown’s vocabulary.

A police investigation into $750,000 of anonymous donations to Auckland mayor Len Brown’s election campaign has found no evidence of wrongdoing, but were refused access to key documents.

The 16-month probe found no evidence Brown’s team had broken any laws, but they were unable to review a copy of the trust deed for the New Auckland Council Trust, meaning Brown’s secret backers will remain anonymous.

Enquiry head Detective Inspector Chris Cahill did not wish to comment further.

But in an open letter to the complainant, obtained by the Sunday Star-Times, Cahill expressed his frustrations.

“The parties concerned have at this stage elected not to provide us with a copy of any Trust Deed which may have clarified some of the issues… That is their legal right and police must accept this and as such we are not in a position to advance the questions you raise around the New Auckland Council Trust,” Cahill said.

Despite the fact police were unable to identify the trustees or any other people associated with it, the investigation shone a light into the secretive world of election finance campaigns.

It said Brown provided information to police which said he would step away as soon as supporters indicated they would be willing to donate to his campaign warchest.

“To that extent I have no idea as to whether the person followed up the inquiry with a specific offer of financial support,” the mayor told police.

So Len Brown gets to keep his donors and donations secret. That is a disgrace.

He has to be the sneakiest and most furtive mayor in New Zealand’s history.

 

– Fairfax