Len Brown

And we wonder why Auckland Council has no money

It looks like Murray McCully has been advising the Auckland Council CEO how to get around financial scrutiny of the council.

Word has it that McCully specifically orders his MFat officials to put all their spending through in amounts that are under the threshold for scrutiny by Bill English.

In Auckland Council they have made that easier by increasing the CEO’s authorised spending limit to $20 million.

Auckland Council’s being accused of getting too big for its boots, after a massive increase to the spending powers of its CEO.

Stephen Town’s delegated authority has been almost tripled, allowing him to spend up to $20 million in one go without councillor approval.  Read more »

Auckland Council is beating the developers

Auckland Council is winning. It’s now some two months since the Council secretly voted to suspend Special Housing Areas in greenfield areas.

The Council has always preferred its compact city plan. The troughing Councillors all want it and the hungry planners want it even more. They hate the idea of people owning a house and want everyone stacked into same same communist styled apartment buildings, riding trains and doing precisely what they are told.

And so what has the Government done about this? Nothing.

Developers are now sitting on vast land holdings they can’t develop. In good faith they have gone out, borrowing tens of millions to buy land because they were led to believe the Special Housing Areas were going to make consenting easier, faster and with less hassle from Auckland Council.

Except that hasn’t happened. The Council has cut off the supply and left the greenfield developers stranded. Withholding infrastructure, Auckland Council is wielding an iron fist over greenfield expansion.

And in the meantime, the Council is also thumbing its nose at the directions advice of the Independent Hearings Panel on the Unitary Plan.

In short Council is doing what it wants. Screw everyone else.   Read more »

Bridges flips bird to Brown

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Len Brown exaggerates yet again the ‘need for the tunnel in down town Auckland with stories of crowded train platforms at Britomart.

Hints of wailing and gnashing of teeth and people unable to get home.

Britomart users may soon have to jostle their way through crowded platforms to get on to backed-up rush-hour trains, Auckland Mayor Len Brown warns, highlighting the “critical” need for the City Rail Link.

In the 12 months to April, rail use in Auckland increased 22 per cent, but Transport Minister Simon Bridges said there was still a way to go before usage reached the threshold at which the Government would consider helping fund the $2.5 billion project before 2020.

Mr Brown said the Britomart Transport Centre would face serious congestion problems by 2018 if the “stunning acceleration” of rail use continued – meaning a gridlocked city rail system and increasingly crowded platforms for passengers.

“At this rate, Auckland will meet the Government’s patronage threshold for financial support for the CRL early in 2017, three years earlier than projected. Growth has been accelerating since late 2013,” Mr Brown said.

Read more »

Waste of time, money and effort

Another example of money wasting is exposed at Auckland Council.

At a time when every cent counts as the city frowns under the pressure of growth – the clowns at Auckland Council have entered the city into a childish competition that could win it a medal.

Even my good friend John Key has joined in the folly.

Auckland is vying for the “Olympics” of world city prizes at a cost of up to $130,000 for ratepayers.

Prime Minister John Key is among those who have nominated Auckland for next year’s Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize, which comes with a cash prize of $285,000, a gold medallion and a certificate.

Auckland is one of about 40 city nominees, which will get whittled down to a shortlist of three-to-five cities in late July.

New York, Bilbao in Spain and the Chinese city of Suzhou have won the biennial international award that began in 2010 and honours outstanding achievements leading to the creation of liveable, vibrant and sustainable cities.   Read more »

John Key said what?

Hard to believe I know, but the supposed bastion of conservatism in New Zealand and the greatest ever Prime Minister has announced he is “joined at the hip” with none other than Len Brown.

“Key also repeated his claim that the Auckland housing market was not in crisis, and said he and mayor Len Brown were “joined at the hip” in working to tackle supply issues.”

On top of that he is backing down on changes to the Resource Management Act.

The Prime Minister has signalled key parts of the RMA reform which would address housing shortages will not go ahead, but repeated his claim there is no crisis in Auckland.

John Key made the admission while delivering his post-Budget speech, which was marred by a violent protest outside the Auckland venue earlier in the afternoon.

The Government has been leaning on its support partners to to give greater weight to economic development, including housing, in sections six and seven of the Resource Management Act.

But Key conceded it was now “very unlikely” that would happen.   Read more »

What happens if you type someone’s name into Google Maps?

People think Maps are for places.   Not so.  This is what happens when you ask Google Maps about me

erwer

This one is rather telling… although it’s good to see it’s not a a certain other lawyer’s home:   Read more »

Not the sort of support you’d really want

Len Brown has stated he supports John Banks…and understands what he went through.

Auckland Mayor Len Brown has come out in support of his former political rival John Banks, saying he understands what he’s been through.

Former ACT MP and Auckland Mayor John Banks’ three-year court battle over allegations of knowingly filing a false electoral return ended on Tuesday with an aquittal ordered by the Court of Appeal.

Banks has likened the case against him to a “jihad”.

Brown, who found himself at the centre of a media maelstrom in 2013 when it emerged he had an extramarital affair, would not be drawn on suggestions Banks could again stand for the Auckland mayoralty.

But he expressed sympathy with what Banks had endured.    Read more »

Len’s signed his own political death warrant

lenbrown

Bad financial management is one thing.   Lying another.  Cheating on your long suffering wife is also not flash, and having sex on council property with council staff another poor decision.

None of that was enough to get the rate payers of Auckland upset.

But now Len and his Council have made the biggest mistake of all – hit his remaining supporters directly in the pocket.   Read more »

National’s new tax on housing the equivalent of a dry root

John Key has announced he is going to tinker at the edges of housing by implementing a new tax on capital gains on housing.

Back bench MPs were hastily briefed last night with a once over lightly account of the policy.

Audrey Young writes about it in the NZ Herald.

The capital gains of people selling residential property within two years of buying it will now be taxed, Prime Minister John Key announced this morning as part of the Budget package.

The exemptions to this new bright-line test will be if the property sold is the seller’s main home, if it is part of a deceased estate or inherited, and or if it is transferred as part of a relationship settlement.

The tax will be on the seller’s normal income tax rate.

The move, to take effect from October 1, is expected to address Auckland house inflation which has seen property values increase by 18 per cent in a year and 60 per cent since 2008.

At present, capital gains are taxed if IRD believes it was the intention of the seller to make a capital gain on a property.

That rule will remain in addition to the bright-line test so that if somebody flicked on a property after two years and one day, they would almost certainly have to pay tax on the gain.

The Government will also introduce rules that could make the over-heated Auckland housing market less attractive to non-resident speculators.

Read more »

Understanding Auckland’s problem and the blame lies with green policies

Peter King inserted a lengthy explanation of the contradictory nature of left wing politics in trying to explain their opposition to the flag debate.

I didn’t include that in the previous post because it was tl;dr and not really related.

But it is worth exploring for understanding why house prices are rising and land supply is artificially constricted by an intransigent council.

The left quite often seems incapable of seeing the contradictions of its own policy positions. More often than not it adopts policies because they seem trendy rather than because they are helpful. This is where the effect of Green policy is at its most subversive.
The problem is that most left wing politicians fall into the Green target demographic. They are wealthy urban dwellers from well-off middle class homes. Huge numbers of labour followers are school teachers now into their late fifties who were hippies in the 70s. Greens do not target farmers or farm workers, or the urban poor for the simple reason they know instinctively that Green agricultural and industrial policies are often ill-thought out nonsense. Green voters are well-off urbanites whose incomes typically come from taxpayers or providing business services so abstracted from industry as to be on a different planet. The Green delusion is built on that inter-generational arrogance that parents are all thick and there are better ways of doing things. That and large amounts of hypocrisy (and don’t imagine we haven’t all been there). It is an ideal which suits idealists and those who rebel against their parents but rarely has any deep thought put into it.

[…]

For example the Greens hate cars. They pretend they don’t but really they do. They even hate electric cars. Cars are seen as the enemies of this idyl and the world would be so much better if everyone used bicycles and trains instead. Of course bicycles and trains work really well if you live in the city centre and your city was built around dray deliveries. But most cities these days are built around cars.
Cars carry babies, groceries, children, dogs, and other stuff without physical effort over long distances very quickly. They have liberated women like no other tool (it is no coincidence that the world’s most patriachal nations won’t let women drive). Cars expand the options of a worker seeking work. Cars provide freedom and they are massively popular demonstrated by the fact the global automotive industry is still growing.
The Greens hatred of cars means they propose “smart cities” which are built around (guess what) trains and bicycles. But to make that work they need to concentrate cities into apartments and rail networks. So “sprawl” is a dirty word and “smart cities” are “sustainable” and make up a million and one tedious arguments to justify that outcome.

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