Bernard Orsman

The collapse of the Herald, predicted in 2009 and slowly grinding on

After reading of poor Tim’s travels, I found this article by Michael Bassett from 2009 on the demise of the Herald.    

It’s not the fact he openly outlines the failures, hints at Bernard Orsman interviewing his keyboard or making stuff up, he goes on to lay the blame at Tim Murphy’s feet for not acting to change either Orsman’s style or just moving him on.  

Roll on 5 years, yawn, same story, same mistakes and poorly researched articles or just plain made up on the fly.

Maybe this article should be compulsory reading for the executive team and board, along with their latest KPI indicators and their total and advertising revenue, circulation and overhead costs, that would be an interesting exercise to benchmark over the last 10 years.

In case you hadn’t noticed it, the New Zealand Herald, the paper that used to claim to be the country’s premier paper of record, has abandoned this aspiration and seems intent on becoming a mere British-style tabloid. Its journalists are down to a skeleton of reporters; the sub editing (those who fit the headlines to the story below) seems to have fallen into the hands of deliberate troublemakers; and the editor, Tim Murphy, appears not to be in charge of what appears in his paper. 

You might think these are rather strong comments. They are. They describe a state of affairs that is poisoning too many relationships around Auckland, and causing the time of competent people to be wasted on countering deliberate falsehoods that appear in the Herald. Several key people in Auckland local government now refuse to talk to Bernard Orsman, the Herald’s so-called Auckland City Reporter, because he twists words given to him, fabricates stories, and seems determined not to report the news, but to try to create it. 

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Len Brown has bigger problems to worry about than a sugar ban

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Len Brown seems to be so desperate to talk about anything else aside from the Council’s black budget that he’s now thinking about banning sugary drinks.

I’ve posted about Auckland Council’s perilous state of its finances, as has Len Brown’s former favourite journalist Bernard Orsman who talked about ‘how city budget hit crunch point’.

With Len not keen on talking to Bernard, his PR team have instead raced out to find diversions to take Aucklanders’ attention off his inability to deliver his promised pet projects.  If it wasn’t Waterfront Auckland’s clumsy attempt at spending millions on Queens Wharf, it was wheeling out Rod Oram to encourage Len to keep on spending up bigRead more »

Does Len Brown have the stones to rein in Waterfront Auckland?

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This morning Len Brown’s former favourite journalist Bernard Orsman is running a story about how Auckland Council’s CCO Waterfront Auckland is suddenly running their Queens Wharf idea up the flag-pole.

Now considering Bernard’s Monday story about how the city budget has hit a crunch point, the times are tough message obviously hasn’t filtered down to the bloated office of the Waterfront Auckland CCO.

What better way for Len Brown’s team of spin doctors to draw attention away from the city’s financial mess under their Mayor, than to get people talking about Queens Wharf instead.

But there’s a slight problem with this.

Waterfront Auckland’s John Dalzell isn’t too forthcoming about how much will all of this will cost Auckland ratepayers?  Read more »

Bernard Orsman slams Auckland Council and Mayor Brown

Bernard Orsman slams Auckland Council and Mayor Len Brown for bringing the city to its knees financially saying that the Council is ‘living beyond it’s means’.

For Orsman this is a rather brutal column.

Brown failed to front for it as well.

Auckland Mayor Len Brown hailed his first 10-year budget in 2012 as the foundation block to transform Auckland once and for all.

There was $8.2 billion for 11 new or refurbished libraries, new swimming pools, sports parks, much-needed water and stormwater projects and other core spending.

Transport was to get $9.3 billion to build a world-class transport system, including $500 million for new electric trains and a long awaited start on Ameti in the southeast.

Two years later, this foundation has barely progressed and the council faces stark choices as its finances reach crisis point. Promised libraries and swimming pools may never get built.

Inorganic rubbish collections could be scrapped; cultural festivals and events scrapped.    Read more »

Len Brown’s contribution to affordable homes…increased connection charges for water

Council services just keep on rising under Len Brown’s ‘leadership’. The latest rise is for water charges up another 2.4% under this spendthrift mayor.

It will now cost $12,075 to connect the water up to a new home! Auckland City’s contribution to ‘affordable homes’.

Bernard Orsman reports:

Auckland households will pay 2.4 per cent more for water and wastewater charges from July.

Watercare Services has announced the price of water will increase from $1.343 to $1.375 per 1000 litres of water, and wastewater charges will rise from $2.281 per 1000 litres to $2.336.

The fixed charge will rise 2.6 per cent from $190 per year to $195.

[…]     Read more »

Len Brown’s reckless ideas expenditure plan

Len Brown wants to cut $2.8b from capital expenditure to find the funds to build his train set.

What that means is that he wants to rob the capital expenditure kitty.

The result is quite simple – roads, storm water, sewer, parks, libraries and other important infrastructure will have their budgets slashed.

Bernard Orsman reports:

Planning is under way to slash $2.8 billion of new spending at Auckland Council to control soaring debt and rates while pushing ahead with the $2.86 billion City Rail Link.

The fiscal shake-up will come at a cost to core council services, such as new libraries, swimming pools and playing fields, which face being pushed back or canned altogether.

An early start to electrification of rail to Pukekohe now appears highly unlikely and bus and ferry improvements could take a back seat to the rail link.

The Herald has obtained a copy of a confidential briefing by council officers to councillors, which outlines four scenarios for next year’s 10-year budget review.

The first two are based on updating the first 10-year budget and the second two are based on locking in rates at 3.5 per cent and 2.5 per cent over the next decade by cutting capital spending by $2 billion and $2.8 billion   respectively.

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Rodney Hide on Len’s dodgy gym

Yay! more council money on toys for me

Yay! more council money on toys for me

Rodney Hide explains why Len Brown’s personal council provided gym is dodgy, and calls on the gutless councillors to do something about it.

A council worker caught “borrowing” council gear for several years for his personal use would be sacked. I would also expect he would be charged. It’s called theft.

He would have a good excuse if his manager gave permission. But the problem then is legal authority. The gear doesn’t belong to his manager. It’s not hers to loan.

And so we have the disturbing case of Mayor Len Brown’s personal gym.

The Herald reports that within a month of Brown’s swearing-in as Auckland’s first Super-City Mayor, his chief of staff was on the scrounge for fitness gear.

I would expect his chief of staff to be advising Brown to buy his own gear. That’s what paid political advisers do: they stop politicians doing stupid things.

But no, Phil Wilson emails the council’s sport and recreation manager Ian Maxwell seeking used equipment from a council facility or a council supplier who could loan or sponsor it.

At least Wilson recognised the problem: “The sensitivity, though, is that we don’t want to be seen to be spending any public money on him.” But note that it’s not the spending that’s the problem: it’s the spending being seen. The concern is to keep it secret.

I would expect Maxwell to email Wilson back explaining he would love to help but that he can’t.

Instead Maxwell replies that he’s on to it.

Wilson emails, “the almighty will be very pleased“.

And so the council’s leisure services “loan” the mayor a new treadmill worth $3000 and a gym system costing $2198.   Read more »

Helicopter Hater Update: Vern’s Vendetta

Readers will know all about arts luvvie and Labour Party activist Vern Walsh.  He is to troughing what Jesse Owens is to athletics, Mohammed Ali is to boxing, Sir Don Bradman is to cricket, and Babe Ruth is to baseball.  A man with his snout so deeply in the trough, he’s made it all the way to Spain.

Vern is the chairman of the Auckland Council’s dodgy funding board that has cut funding to the Auckland rescue helicopter service by over $1,000,000 or 70% to give to Dame Rosanne Meo’s philharmonia.

He’s the guy who admitted to Sean Plunket that the board doesn’t have any criteria about what to fund and not.  They just make it up as they go along.  And they are careful not to have any register of what free arts tickets they get or their other troughing.

But Vern’s not content with just cutting the helicopter funding he controls.  Now he’s trying to stop anyone else from funding the rescue helicopter either.

My deep-cover spies in the Mayor’s Office report that Vern has been making a nuisance of himself, hanging around the Ngati Whatua Room, ever since his councillors made him realise Aucklanders wouldn’t stand for their rescue helicopter being cut to fund more $85,000 arts junkets.

When the mayor managed to fit him in on Wednesday, Vern tried to tell him it would be illegal for the council to fund the rescue helicopter service.  Not even Brown fell for that.

So it looks like Vern skulked off for a leak to the Horrid.   Read more »

It isn’t going away Len, poll says naff off Noddy

Len Brown thinks that his problems have gone away and that in his mind most Aucklanders want him to carry on in the job.

The NZ Herald/Digipoll busts that little misconception this morning.

Bernard Orsman delivers the bad news to Len Brown.

Len Brown will find it tough to be re-elected Mayor of Auckland, according to a new Herald-DigiPoll survey.

Only 22.7 per cent of the people questioned in this month’s poll said they would vote for Mr Brown in the 2016 elections; 57.7 per cent said they would not. The other 20 per cent said they did not know or did not vote in local body elections.

The poll suggests women and the elderly were particularly upset by revelations about his extramarital affair and undeclared hotel stays.  Read more »

He will apologise over a garden but not his poor behaviour?

Bernard Orsman is back to running soft pieces for ratbag mayor Len Brown.

Today’s effort is about an apology to the Mayor of Fukuoka over the bulldozing of a memorial garden at the Auckland Zoo.

Mayor Len Brown is to apologise to the Mayor of Fukuoka and the local Japanese community for the demolition of a Japanese garden at Auckland Zoo – a gift from sister city Fukuoka 25 years ago.

Mr Brown faced a small but rowdy protest at the first council meeting of the year, but it was a diplomatic issue that got him off to a bad start with official business in 2014.

The mayor refused speaking rights to the Friends of the Fukuoka Friendship Garden, whose pleas to retain the Japanese garden at the zoo he rejected last year.

Mr Brown tried to push the group off to a committee to speak, but they turned up in large numbers, including prominent members of the Japanese community, leading to a backdown by the mayor.  Read more »