Auckland Council replace fool with train conductor

If you thought for a while that Auckland Council has been run by drunken monkeys you’d be right.

The head monkey for planning has been Dr Roger Blakely who is principle architect for the Unitary Plan.

Auckland Council has now announced that it has appointed KiwiRail’s first chief executive, Jim Quinn, to the new council role of chief of strategy, replacing chief planning officer Dr Roger Blakely.

Council chief executive Stephen Town said simply of Dr Blakeley’s departure, that he had completed his fixed term, which began with the creation of the super-city council in November 2010.

Mr Quinn led the integration of New Zealand’s rail assets in KiwiRail’s first 5 years through to February 2014 and created the plan to turn the business around.

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More pork pies being sold by Mayor

The Mayor continues to tell porkies about what he knew regarding the Ports wharves and reclamation fiasco.

Only on Sunday the POAL CEO called Len Brown out for being a liar – stating that Len knew the whole time.

Now Lenny’s digging his hole deeper.

Auckland Mayor Len Brown has conceded the first he knew about two wharf extensions at the Ports of Auckland was from the Herald.

Mr Brown had previously indicated he knew about the finger wharves at Bledisloe Wharf before the Herald broke the story on February 11. ¬† Read more »

Despite warnings from Auditor General Auckland Council commits millions in loans for Len’s train set

Despite warnings from the Auditor General about staying works before having the means to pay for the rest of the Rail Tunnel РAuckland Council is about to start works down the bottom of town.

Big traffic and public transport challenges face downtown Auckland from construction starting in less than a year for the $2.5 billion underground railway to Mt Eden.

Auckland Transport disclosed yesterday that it hopes to start digging trenches across lower Queen St in January, meaning rerouting buses such as the Northern Express fleet.

That is expected to require the relocation of 16 bus stops.

The council body also expects to close the main entrance to Britomart Station, through the old Central Post Office, for about three years from March.

Temporary ticketing machines and gates will be installed at the eastern end of the station to cope with peak crowds of about 4000 passengers an hour.

Albert St, one of the main bus feeder routes into downtown Auckland, faces some disruption from October as a stormwater main is moved to make way for a pair of “cut and cover” rail tunnels to be dug from Britomart as far as Wyndham St in a package of early works likely to cost about $250 million. ¬†¬† Read more »

Photo Of The Day

Flora MacKenzie

Flora MacKenzie

Famous Flora’s Massage Parlour

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Len Brown says one thing, Ports boss says he’s lyin’, I think we know who to believe

Len Brown went on Q+A yesterday and was in spin overdrive, just a few minutes later the Ports of Auckland boss calls him out as a liar.

Auckland Mayor Len Brown has stepped up a war of words with Ports of Auckland, accusing port bosses of keeping the council in the dark about two huge wharf extensions.

Speaking on Television New Zealand’s Q+A programme yesterday, Mr Brown said the port company had acted outside its statement of intent by not holding discussions with the council about planned spending on the port’s footprint.

Mr Brown, who has previously argued the council was powerless to stop the wharf extensions and direct the port company how to run its business, gave the strongest hint yet that he now opposes port expansion.

“I’m with most Aucklanders. I know that there’s absolutely a limit that we have to draw around the port in terms of how far the port can go into the harbour,” he said yesterday.

Port chief executive Tony Gibson, who appeared on the same programme, said Mr Brown’s claims about not holding discussions were not true.

He said the wharf extensions were a “non-notifiable issue” and the real issue was around reclamation.

The port company has said it plans to reclaim 3ha of seabed between the wharf extensions over time.

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Auckland Council brass and Len Brown are trying desperately to distance themselves from the Ports expansion

Auckland Council brass and Len Brown are trying desperately to distance themselves from the Ports expansion with PR spun porkies.

Today the Council is saying ‘heads might roll’ and that ‘it didn’t know anything about the wharf expansion’ which they claim should have been communicated to Council by POAL.

Heads could roll over Ports of Auckland expansion plans, according to a senior Auckland Council source.

Auckland Council has started to flex its muscles on plans by the ports company to build two massive wharf extensions nearly 100m into the Waitemata Harbour.

Council chief executive Stephen Town has written a letter to the council body overseeing Ports of Auckland asking it to “encourage” port bosses to halt the extensions until a wide-ranging port study is done.

Mr Town and councillors have also delivered a firm message to the port company to become more engaged with the community.

“It is my view that Ports of Auckland Ltd (POAL) has not engaged sufficiently with key stakeholders, or the public at large, in relation to the proposed wharf extensions,” Mr Town said in his letter to Auckland Council Investments Ltd (ACIL).

Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse told a council meeting yesterday the letter contained an “iron fist in a velvet glove”. If all else failed there was a “thermonuclear” option.

A senior council officer indicated the “thermonuclear” option could see heads roll.

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Len Brown hedging his bets over Port

Nobody believes Len Brown for a second that he and his Council have been powerless to stop the ports from obtaining a Resource Consent to extend wharves.

Auckland mayor Len Brown said he is hoping discussions with the Ports of Auckland will result in the port “cooling their heels” on the construction of two massive wharf extensions, due to begin next month.

Mr Brown told TV3’s The Nation today that a study on the economic, environmental and social impact of the port on wider Auckland has begun.

He has told the council and the port that he wants discussions around the study between the council and Port of Auckland to be held in the coming days and weeks ahead of the start date on the extensions. ¬† Read more »

Bad to worse for Auckland Council and Len Brown over Ports

It just goes from bad to worse for Auckland Council and Len Brown.

Refusing to listen to public concerns and accept that POAL expansion is unwanted the Council is digging a deeper hole for itself as legal action mounts.

Urban Auckland, a society set up to protect the city’s built environment and waterfront, has taken the first legal steps to stop Ports of Auckland beginning construction on two massive wharf extensions next month.

The group said it had notified Ports of Auckland and Auckland Council late yesterday that it proposes to issue legal proceedings against them in the High Court because it considers the resource consents for the wharf extensions were granted unlawfully.

Legal action will be taken as Judicial Review proceedings at the High Court where the decision making process will be¬†questioned. ¬† ¬† Read more »

And another one leaves Len’s ethnic panel

The wheels really are falling off Len Brown’s Ethnic Advisory Panel.

Things haven’t gone well since he stopped shagging members of the panel.

A disability advocate recognised in the New Years Honours list has quit an Auckland Council panel, saying it’s no longer independent.

Huhana Hickey is the third member of the council’s community advisory panels to step down over concerns they are ineffectual.

Feroz Ali, chair of the Ethnic Peoples Advisory Panel, resigned last week saying the panel lacked legitimacy and was a waster of ratepayers’ money.

Panel member Kafeba Mundele then also stepped down. ¬† ¬† Read more »

Herald editorial slams Len Brown over Ports of Auckland

If you ever wanted to justify to yourself that Len Brown and his staff are telling porkies and that they are out of touch with reality then today’s Herald editorial sums it up.

Firstly Len’s story has changed. His reasons why the Council can’t change the activity status of a port extension is quite different to the story his PR peeps pitched a few weeks ago.

Mayor Len Brown has placed great emphasis on his hands being tied over the Ports of Auckland’s expansion plans because of rules inherited from the old Auckland Regional Council. These, he insists, meant the Auckland Council could neither decline resource consent nor dictate the proposal be publicly notified. That is disputed by former ARC chairman Mike Lee who says the council had the power to demand a public hearing in “special circumstances”. Either way, many Aucklanders have become extremely angry over Mr Brown’s intimation there is nothing he can now do. ¬† Read more »