Len Brown

Lessons for Auckland from Sao Paulo

S√£o Paulo is in trouble this week as it looks likely to be dangerously close to running out of water to supply its residents.

It’s the 12th biggest city in the world and a place smart growth advocate’s like to tout from time to time of our intensive cities can work.

Except it has a big problem.

The city of Sao Paulo is home to 20 million Brazilians, making it the 12th largest mega-city on a planet dominated by shortsighted humans. Shockingly, it has only 60 days of water supply remaining. The city “has about two months of guaranteed water supply remaining as it taps into the second of three emergency reserves,” reports Reuters. [1]

Technical reserves have already been released, and as the city enters the heavy water use holiday season, its 20 million residents are riding on a fast-track collision course with severe water rationing and devastating disruptions.

But this isn’t a story about Sao Paulo; it’s a report that dares to point out that human societies are incredibly shortsighted and nearly incapable of sustainably populating planet Earth. In numerous regions around the world — including California, India, Oklahoma, Brazil, China and many more — human populations are rapidly out-growing the capacity of their local water systems. Even though keeping populations alive requires food… and growing food requires water… almost no nation or government in the world seems to be able to limit water consumption of local populations to levels which are sustainable in the long term.

Read more »



Schooling Auckland Council on transport

Bryan Leyland gives Len brown and his train spotter friends a real good tickle up on public transport.

The railway tunnel will serve only a very small fraction of Auckland’s population and at a huge cost. Mayor Len Brown is determined to commit Auckland to building a hugely expensive railway tunnel even though no comprehensive independent and objective economic analysis has been made on the merits of the tunnel and whether or not letting the city spread and developing satellite centres would be better.

Auckland Council has neglected its obligation to investigate and evaluate all options. Given the enormous amount of expenditure involved, this amounts to a serious dereliction of duty.

Overseas research on 44 urban rail systems revealed that the average cost overrun was 45 per cent and the number of passengers was half the predicted number. Have the economics of the Auckland tunnel been tested against 45 per cent higher costs and half the passengers? If not, why not?

The railway tunnel will serve only a very small fraction of Auckland’s population and at a huge cost. Right now, ratepayers subsidise 80 per cent of the cost of every train fare. If the tunnel costs blow out by 50 per cent it will need to recover at least $450 million in fares every year for capital repayment and operating expenses. If, as hoped, there are 20 million rail trips every year, they will need to recover $22.50 per rail trip. Most of this will be imposed on the ratepayers.

No one living on the North Shore will benefit from the rail loop but they will paying for it.

No one living in East Auckland will benefit from the rail loop but they will be paying for it. ¬† Read more »

Wellington doesn’t want amalgamation – the Len Effect no doubt

The whole country can see what a total stuff up Auckland amalgamation is.  Everything that was promised has not come to pass, especially cost savings.   What has come to pass is that previous councils would not work together so things that would benefit the region were very hard to achieve.

Now Aucklanders are enjoying a mayor and a council hell bent of using its new powers to commit the region to a rail network that is going to cater for only 15% of the population, yet causing rates increases that will be hundred of percent in excess of inflation on a yearly basis for the foreseeable future.

Wellingtonians don’t want a bar of it.

Submissions close [today] for people to have their say on whether to make Wellington a super city.

The local government commission is recommending nine councils that would be governed by one body. But many don’t feel they’ve been given enough information on it. Read more »

Political Doppelgangers

Elizabeth McCombs 1933

Elizabeth McCombs 1933

Helen Clark

Helen Clark

Seriously folks I’m starting to think that time travel exists. It’s either that or she is a vampire.

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Lianne Dalziel comes good

Lianne Dalziel kept herself out of the Labour party for years in the eighties because she opposed asset sales.

Now she is running one of the biggest asset sales programs ever seen in New Zealand, flogging off the silverware in Christchurch to fund the rebuild.

“We are committing to go back into the capital programme and have a really good look at it again,” Mayor Lianne Dalziel said. “Every councillor is committed to making savings within the capital programme and committed to finding savings within the organisation.

“We are not going to be selling anything that doesn’t need to be sold,” she assured. ¬† Read more »

Here’s an idea for Len: Mayor memorabilia


There is possibly only one major in the world with less shame than Len Brown.

Anyone interested in buying a piece of Rob Ford history has the chance to do so.

The notorious former Toronto mayor and now city councillor is auctioning off some of the memorabilia he has collected over the years, including what appears to be the football tie he wore when he admitted to smoking crack cocaine. In the eBay description, Ford said the tie is the “only one of these in existence” and features logos from NFL teams past and present.

By Wednesday evening the tie had been bid up to about $US400.

Ford’s term was plagued by scandals involving drinking, crack cocaine use and erratic behaviour. Read more »


Auckland Council thinks a dump is cultural heritage

In the latest of Council clangers, Auckland Council has declared an old dump to be culturally significant.

Yes, you read that right. A dump.

Auckland Council have been playing fast and loose with the cultural heritage provisions in the Unitary Plan and campaign group Democracy Action have caught them out big time.

Last week Democracy Action exposed a site showing that the Council have placed a cultural marker smack bang in the middle of the old Greenmount dump in East Tamaki.

unnamed-1 Read more »

Auckland Council win on compact city

‚ÄčAuckland Council wins on compact city direction from Hearings Panel

It looks more and more like Auckland is screwed and destined to continue to be one of the most expensive cities in the world.

Yesterday the Independent Hearings Panel has issued it’s direction on the issues of growth and the Rural Urban Boundary (RUB) – deciding to side with Auckland Council.

While¬†this does not set in stone the Regional Policy Statement it does clearly signal to all concerned that the panel is going to run with Auckland Council on the compact city aspirations. ¬† Read more »

Len take note, this is how a proper mayor acts

Len Brown thinks the mayoral office is a vehicle to get his jollies.

Other mayors take their responsibilities seriously.

Len Brown should take note of the actions of the Mayor of Jerusalem.

The Mayor of Jerusalem and his security guard wrestled a man with a knife to the ground after an ultra-Orthodox Jew was stabbed at a busy intersection.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat instructed his bodyguards to apprehend a Palestinian man who had just stabbed the ultra-Orthodox Jew in the stomach.

Mr Barkat said he and his staff were travelling in a car when he noticed the “terrorist” with a knife.

He and his bodyguard leaped from their car to stop the attacker.¬† Read more »