John Roughan: City should pay for its own errors – In a country of four million people there is not much need for more than one government but you’d think Auckland could be doing more for itself. The surrender of its train set this week was pathetic. The takeover became logical… [NZ Herald Politics]
John Roughan has a very fine article in today’s Herald where he explores the ineptitude of local goverance and in particular the ARC and North Shore City. His article focus is on public transport and silly notion that rail will work in Auckland.
…..the Auckland Regional Council, hasn’t the gumption to charge its voters for the full cost of its decisions.
It has direct rating power but dares not demand more than half the cost of its desired electrification of a slow, narrow-gauge railway. For the balance it went to Wellington and got the previous Government to give it a tax on petrol sold in the region.
National rightly thinks regional sales taxes are wacko, and doubtless takes the same view of Auckland’s public transport plan. In fact, no government has really believed Auckland is suited to a rail-based system. Labour bought into the scheme only to prevent the regional council paying a ridiculous price to Tranz Rail for the Auckland tracks.
That was the beginning of a renationalisation of the entire network more by accident than design. In the end, the Government tried to charge the full cost of maintaining the tracks and a private operator couldn’t make the trains pay.
It has been a lesson in the costs to the whole economy of incompetence at lower levels of public administration.
Exactly….we as taxpayer now own a liability, you can hardly call it an asset, that a commercial operatoer couldn’t turn a dollar from.
The Government’s decision to take over the capital cost, financed from a national petrol tax, took the city’s transport planners by surprise and this week they didn’t know whether to worry.
Regional chairman Mike Lee thought the takeover made sense and the mayor of North Shore issued an odd statement of gratitude to the taxpayers of Gore.
Next day the Auckland councils were concerned that the Government hadn’t mentioned paying also for station improvements, transferable tickets and other interminable details. North Shore’s panjandrum announced that he had sent Transport Minister Steven Joyce a “please explain”.
I love the use of the word panjandrum to describe the increasingly batty and lunatic North Shore Mayor, Andrew Williams. For those who don’t know the wrd i took the libety of looking it up.There are various meanings of the made up word. There is a play called Panjandrum, but this isn’t where Roughan wanted the meaning placed I am sure. The word itself was invented by Samuel Foote.
When he found himself out of work in November 1754, Foote rented the Haymarket theatre and began to stage mock lectures. Satirizing Charles Macklin‘s newly opened school of oratory, these lectures created a sort of theatrical war, especially when Macklin began to appear at the lectures himself. At one particular lecture, Foote extemporized a piece of nonsense prose to test Macklin’s assertion that he could memorise any text at a single reading.
So she went into the garden to cut a cabbage-leaf to make an apple-pie; and at the same time a great she-bear, coming up the street, pops its head into the shop. “What! No soap?” So he died, and she very imprudently married the barber; and there were present the Picninnies, and the Joblillies, and the Garyalies, and the grand Panjandrum himself, with the little round button at top, and they all fell to playing the game of catch-as-catch-can till the gunpowder ran out at the heels of their boots.
This introduced the nonsense term “Grand Panjandrum” into the English language and the name was adopted for the Panjandrum, an experimental World War II-era explosive device.
I think Roughan was using the nonsense self description term but I prefer the explosive device myself. Anyway I digress. John Roughan believes that Auckland is a city of a million is big enough to pay for its own mistakes, and it is healthy for the national economy that it should, and I agree with him. His final comment on the royal commission finding due any day now are especially fine.
I hope the royal commission has designed an Auckland government for a purpose somewhat larger than a united lobby in Wellington. The country needs its metropolitan centre to live up to its size, make bold, realistic, responsible decisions, convince its citizens to pay for them and become master of its own destiny.
Given this hope for the outcome then out of the existing heads of the 8 various local bodies due for amalgamation there is only one candidate who meets requirements to lead this fine city and that is John Banks.