Len Brown

Guess who gets to take home the money for building Len Brown’s rail loop?

Australian-listed Downer EDI has won one of the first construction contracts for Auckland’s $2.5 billion City Rail Link.

Downer has joined forces with French specialist geotechnical and civil engineering company Soletanche Bachy to build part of the CRL.

The city rail link will have twin 3.4km tunnels up to 42 metres below the inner-city’s streets to create an underground line linking Britomart with the existing western line near Mt Eden.

Boring machines will be used to create the tunnels and new train stations will be built at Aotea Sq and Karangahape Rd.

It is estimated it will take five-and-a-half years to build the CRL, which has been divided into four work packages – a decision AT made after consulting with international rail constructors and experts.

I understand that we don’t necessarily have the experts lying around locally, but New Zealand companies can hire them. Why are we pushing all that money into overseas balance sheets?  Read more »

Len’s crazy rail loop set to cost billions more

 

congressional-train-wreck

Sometimes I can smell a dead rat from another universe.

Only last week I mentioned that the rumour mill was rich with talk that the CRL is now massively over budget and could be as high as $5 billion.

Then, following that, John Key also mentioned the same.

It has to be said that the rumours must be thick and strong when the PrimeMinister is saying the same.

Now a group of Auckland Councillors have stuck the knife in to ferret out information.

And, at the same time, AT have come out in defensive mode with talk that admits it but doesn’t. They’re scared and yet they know the truth is going to get out there.

Auckland councillors want the Auditor-General to investigate the -City Rail Link’s billion-dollar costs with the Government and Auckland Transport admitting the original $2.5 billion estimate is almost certain to change.   Read more »

Hide mocks National for just one more little tax

The Government now wants to charge us to drive during peak times. Our fault, apparently.

We are not spreading our road use through the day and the new charge is designed to make us do that.

Minister of Transport Simon Bridges says building more roads won’t solve the problem. That’s because we would just fill them up.

It’s hard, though – they are such a good way to get about.

The new rationing policy is called Variable Network Pricing (VNP). Its purpose is to price some of us off the road. Those who use the roads must pay for each kilometre driven.

Those priced off will have to stay at home, drive off-peak or use some other form of transport.

The VNP will need to be high to make it work. Read more »

Hookers with the pox are trusted more than Auckland Council

I can’t believe they needed a survey to find out that there are disgustingly low levels of trust in Auckland Council.

Aucklanders have low levels of trust and satisfaction in Auckland Council, a survey has found.

According to the council’s Citizens Insight Monitor, only 17 percent of 3015 respondents trusted the council to make the right decision and only 15 percent said they were satisfied with its performance.

View a summary of the survey – June 2016 (PDF, 747KB)

The survey showed views worsened the further out from the city centre a respondent lived.   Read more »

Size of Auckland Ratepayer Alliance shows depth of feelings against Auckland Council

Us New Zealanders aren’t easily moved off the couch.  It has to get to a point where we are really, really pissed off.   Here’s a sign that has happened.

The Ratepayers’ Alliance is now the most popular political group in Auckland, with more than 16,000 Aucklanders having signed up, as of today. The Alliance, which launched last year, has seen a membership surge since its recent leaflet campaign to 72,000 housholds in the North Shore and Albany Wards. The campaign exposed the additional waste charges for residents, and those Councillors responsible for voting in Len Brown’s 9.9% rates increases.

The group’s spokesperson, Jo Holmes, says:

“With membership passing the 16,000, the Ratepayers’ Alliance is now larger than the nationwide membership of the Labour Party and the National Party’s membership base here in Auckland. We have been overwhelmed with people who want yard signs, to deliver pamphlets and generally spread the word.” Read more »

Auckland Council hopes to save their jobs by signing off on 2.4% rates rise

The Auckland Councillors have voted in yet another rates increase.

They are hoping that with this smaller increase that people will forget their massive increases over the last six years.

Aucklanders will pay an average 2.4 percent more in rates next year.

Auckland Council’s annual plan means household rates will rise by 2.6 percent and business rates by 1.7 percent.

Much of today’s council debate centred on a management proposal to cash-up as much as two-thirds of a $330 million investment fund over the next two years, if needed.

Auckland Mayor Len Brown describes this year’s record low rate rise as a “steady as she goes” effort.   Read more »

After spending everything Auckland Council finds coins down the back of the sofa and wants to spend that too

So Auckland Council has shoved up rates at excessive levels for years, borrowed heavily – and now is close to having a credit downgrade.

I used to think that the only muppets who could make such a financial balls-up are gamblers, boozers and meth addicts who spend all their paycheck and don’t look after their families.

But no – it appears Auckland Council are also drunken out of control spenders.

The Auckland Council is looking at using a “rainy day” fund to reduce the risk of a credit-rating downgrade and higher rates.

The council is set increase rates by 2.4 per cent this year, but its $7.5 billion debt is placing pressure on further rates rises.

Credit rating agencies have warned the council of a rating downgrade if its debt-to-revenue ratio approaches 270 per cent.    Read more »

Not just useless but absent as well

Len Brown has been a disaster for Auckland, but not only is he dead set useless, but he is mostly absent as well.

Mayor Len Brown had the worst attendance at Auckland Council’s most important meetings last year.

The Herald on Sunday has analysed attendance records for all 21 elected councillors across the four committees that made the biggest decisions – the Auckland Development Committee, the Finance and Performance Committee, and the Regional Strategy and Policy Committee – collectively known as “Committees of the Whole”.

Council’s primary decision-making arm, the Governing Body, which also expects all councillors to attend, was also included.    Read more »

This is the best the Nats could find to stand for Auckland mayor

Victoria Crone Vic Auckland Mayor

Vic Crone and Louise Upston

When Nikkie Kaye and Paul Goldsmith recruited Michelle Boag to find them a candidate to stand for Auckland Mayor they drew up a list.

There were reportedly 20 names on the list. As they worked their way through the list potential candidate after potential candidate said no…until they got to number 11…Vic Crone.

It didn’t seem to matter to Nikki Kaye or to Michelle Boag that Crone was helping Labour develop policy for the Future of Work Commission and is still on their advisory board for that. I also didn’t matter that she was extremely cosy with Len Brown as well.   Read more »

Is anyone in control at Auckland Council?

As more and more time goes by ratepayers find out just how bad our council is and how profligate they are with ratepayers cash.

The cost of cladding repairs at Auckland Council’s Albert St headquarters has blown out from $4 million to an estimated $31m, according to a confidential report.

The huge bill for essential repairs to heavy granite slabs on the 31-storey building will be discussed by councillors behind closed doors on Tuesday.

Ratepayers have already paid $128.5m to buy and fit out the 25-year-old building, described as robust and structurally sound with good bones when it was bought in 2012.

About $4m was set aside for stonework issues picked up during due diligence. A report by the engineering firm GHD in November found there was no definitive evidence of imminent collapse, but clearly cause for concern and a high potential risk of a stone panel falling from height.   Read more »