Auckland Council is in meltdown. The pressure is now coming on from all quarters and there has virtually been nobody in support of Len Brown or Auckland Council for some time. The mainstream media is now calling the Auckland Council a disaster and lead commentators are saying that the amalgamation is now looming as a national economic crisis in the making.
The spending at Council is recklessly out of control and ratepayers are viewed as a bottomless pit. Increasing staff numbers, grandiose plans for tunnels and ballooning debt are just the beginning of the troubles. Now with excessive rate rises it is becoming hard to see how this is going to get better. Last week the Auditor General Lyn Provost reported that Auckland Council’s consent charges are vastly more expensive than any other Council and consents take much longer to process. It’s a total mess.
Then there is the Housing Accord in tatters. Auckland Council is abandoning greenfield Special Housing Areas to protect its compact city dreams but foolishly has said that the costs of sprawl are too much of a burden on ratepayers so it intends to focus on brownfield developments (intensification in the city) as a preference. They say that is cheaper. The problem with that is it is a bold-faced lie.
Most of Auckland’s existing infrastructure – the pipes in particular – were only ever built to service the capacity of the houses that are there now. It is widely known that capacity in the existing pipes around in Auckland is therefore limited. So the pipes are going to have to be upgraded if you cater for growth, although most are due for replacement anyway.
And here is the catch. The cost of putting in the new replacement pipes with larger capacity to cater for intensification – won’t be paid for by property developers. The reason why is that growth is only a small percentage of the pipe capacity and by law the developers can only be charged by Council for the portion of the pipe that relates to growth. You see the LGA sets out how a Council can apportion the costs equitably and it clearly directs that existing users bear the cost of maintenance and replacement of the existing pipes. The developers only pay for the cost to expand pipes to cater for the growth % of use that will add to the pipe system That cost is very small. Read more »