Is this a precursor to the Mayoral battle next year?

Both Phil Goff and Maurice Williamson have had a crack at Simon Bridges in the Transport Select Committee in what could be the precursor to next year’s mayoral battle.

And from the headlines you’d have to say Williamson won…because he is the headlines and Goff is a few lines further down the articles.

Transport Minster Simon Bridges has faced a grilling over Auckland’s transport woes – and has been forced to defend the Government’s performance on a major project to one of the Government’s own MPs.

During Parliament’s Transport Select Committee meeting, Pakuranga MP Maurice Williamson heavily criticised Government handling of the Auckland Manukau Transport Initiative (Ameti), after Auckland Transport announced it was axing a major part of the project without NZTA’s knowledge.

“Earlier this year, a body called Auckland Transport… made an announcement, a public announcement, which was like a nuclear explosion in my electorate in the east,” Williamson said.

“That a massive project called Ameti, which had a massive thing called the Reeves Rd flyover, was now being canned and the voters in my electorate went up like a Roman candle.”

In February, Auckland Transport announced it would defer the $170 million flyover to next decade, to fund other public transport improvements.

The flyover was to reduce traffic on Pakuranga Rd by about 40 per cent during peak travel hours.

Williamson said that since then, he and other MPs had held meetings with Auckland Transport chair Lester Levy, in which they were told they were not initially briefed on the announcement because Levy “couldn’t brief every man and his dog on decisions they were taking”.

“What I also found was this dysfunctional dislocation between Auckland Transport and NZTA, and given (NZTA Chief Executive Geoff Dangerfield) is on the board of Auckland Transport, how the hell [is it that] one body didn’t know the other was making such an announcement where Ameti and the Reeves Rd Flyover were part of the National Party’s second priority for the last election…”

Read more »

Nick Smith was wrong, Iwi are going to court

Nick Smith’s ongoing omnishambles trundles forward and as predicted here Iwi are going to court.

Housing Minister Nick Smith says it is “disappointing” iwi are taking legal action on the issue of ‘first right of refusal’ and he would prefer the matter is settled out of court.

Ngati Whatua and Waikato-Tainui yesterday challenged the Government’s interpretation of ‘right of first refusal’ in light of Budget moves to free up surplus land in Auckland for private housing developments.

“It’s a little bit disappointing, it certainly wasn’t raised when I met with the 13 iwi [yesterday],” Mr Smith said on Newstalk ZB this morning.  Read more »

Yep, Nick Smith really should give Daryl Kerrigan a call

Someone really does need to tell Nick Smith he’s dreamin’.

Housing Minister Nick Smith has just had a hui with Auckland’s 13 iwi who claim first right of refusal on up to 500 hectares of public land earmarked for housing.

“I emphasized to them that the Government is absolutely committed – both in spirit and in word – to ensure that their Treaty obligations are respected,” Mr Smith says.

Iwi took exception to treatment by the Crown over plans to develop huge tracts of land.

They say they would normally be given first rights but a clause allows the Government to sell public land for social purposes.

Mr Smith is reassigning education and transport land to state housing land.

Read more »

Omnishambles Smith tried to convince Ngati Whatua first right of refusal doesn’t apply – good luck with that

Nick Smith really is like Malcolm Tucker’s coffee machine.

Omnishambles Smith has tried to convince Ngati Whatua first right of refusal doesn’t apply.

Housing Minister Nick Smith is hopeful a dispute with Auckland iwi over the government’s plan to sell-off land for housing developments can be resolved without court action.

Ngati Whatua has sought legal advice after learning the government had no intention of dealing with it first over the sale of 500 hectares of public land in Auckland.

The Maori Party says a right of first refusal is a standard provision in Treaty of Waitangi settlements.    Read more »

Trespassing green taliban eco-terrorist gets slap on hand with wet bus ticket from dud judge

It is actions like this by the judiciary that embolden ratbags like Michael Tavares to commit their eco-terrorism in the first place.

They know dud judges will go soft on them.

Meanwhile property owners are yet again the victims here, attacked by jealous neighbours masquerading as concerned citizens and lying about the age of the trees concerned.

Kauri tree occupier Michael Tavares says he can’t promise he will take a break from environmental activism, but he can promise he won’t be trespassing to climb any more trees in the next year.

The environmental activist was today convicted of trespassing, having pleaded guilty to the charge stemming from his 81-hour protest in March.

No sentence will be imposed upon Tavares unless he appears before the courts in the next 12 months, said his lawyer Vernon Tava outside Waitakere District Court this morning.

“If he does anything like this … in the next 12 months he can be called back and sentenced.   Read more »

Nick Smith can be relied on…to deliver an omnishambles

Nick Smith has struck again.

If John Key ever needs a job screwed up he can always rely on Nick Smith. Yet Smith remains in cabinet.

Nick Smith is smart, but he thinks he is smarter than his advisors so he ends up missing shit. And that shit ends up splattered all over the face of his boss.

The government’s plan to build housing on 500 hectares of Auckland land has hit another hitch: some of it isn’t actually owned by the Crown.

Last month Housing Minister Nick Smith earmarked under-utilised public land for a housing development which would provide about 600 new homes to address the overheated market.

But New Zealand Transport Authority confirmed to Radio New Zealand that one of the sites in central Manukau that the government had hoped to build on actually belongs to Auckland Council.

“These things aren’t necessarily straight-forward,” Prime Minister John Key told reporters on Thursday.   Read more »

New Zealand’s Silliest Local Government Spending, Ctd


Thanks for all the great entries and thanks to all the Local Government muppets who keep serving up the fantastic examples of monumental stupidity that make the voters hate councillors even more.

If you are running a city with a close to 10% rates rise and an angry voting population you probably should be making cuts to dumb social spending. Typically for Auckland they want to spend more on dumb social spending, starting a “Rainbow Panel” so Auckland can be more gay friendly.

Councillor Cathy Casey will be the liaison councillor for the panel. She says the initiative is overdue.

“It’s important this part of the community feels engaged and well represented. We want to make sure we have a very colourful Rainbow panel.”    Read more »

After vast amounts of expensive public consultation on alternative funding tools, this is what Len Brown got from the Crown

After vast amounts of expensive public consultation on alternative funding tools, like motorway tolls, this is what Len Brown got from the Crown

Letter From Hon Simon Bridges and Hon Bill English to Len Brown

Read more »

Why are West Auckland kids so feral as to need extra policing on bus rides?

Ferals abound and not just on the West Coast.

School bus monitors may be appointed to a West Auckland route on which students complained of being trapped for 10 kilometres by a driver who refused to stop to let them off.

The two schools with students driven through the Waitakere Ranges on a Ritchies Transport double-decker bus two weeks ago – one of whom was injured jumping off – will also have to consider appointing representatives able to be contacted after-hours in the event of any more problems on company routes.

That follows a meeting today at which the Ministry of Education says it was agreed Green Bay High School and Glen Eden Intermediate should consider appointing senior students as bus monitors.

Representatives of both schools and the ministry met the bus company after a police investigation found no evidence that the driver, who was standing-in for the route’s regular operator, had broken the law.

Senior ministry official Jerome Sheppard said the meeting was to discuss what lessons could be learned by last month’s incident, in which several students among about 60 on the double-decker jumped off the moving vehicle after it had reached the far side of Huia.  Read more »


Whaleoil idea of the week – Housing affordability

In the search for the magic bullet to solve housing affordability woes – in Auckland particularly – there has been much debate about the causes and subsequently the solutions.

The National Government is tinkering, but to be honest – isn’t really doing much. ​But before anyone gets their knickers in a twist I qualify a defence ​- there isn’t a lot that the Government can do to stop the runaway freight train, ​because​ whenever it makes a policy decision it is inevitable that a barrage of opposition and politicking interferes with the process and diminishes the outcome. Short of becoming an errant dictatorship their hands are mostly tied.

For example – the Special Housing Areas​ and Housing Accord​​ ​is a rational​ solution for relieving pressure. But with Auckland Council ​now ​suspending consent​ processing​ for SHA’s in greenfield areas that initiative is now on the rocks​.​

Releasing Crown land​ in Auckland​ has ​al​ready hit it’s first hurdle with legal action threatened by local iwi​ – Ngati Whatua – who believe they have first right of refusal to acquire any land sold. ​

I am sure you see what I mean.

Most of the talk is hysteria from the MSM, which is fanning the flames on this housing issue; and a lot of the hysteria around rampant house values has been heavily focussed on foreign buyers and immigrants in xenophobic rash of finger pointing. It is claimed that foreigners are speculating.   Read more »