Len Brown

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 »

Again? Why are brand new Auckland trains breaking down so much?

by Daniel Woo via Twitter

by Daniel Woo via Twitter

Auckland commuters are once more experiencing problems getting in and out of the city’s main train station during the breakfast rush hour.

Auckland Transport spokesman Mark Hannan said some train services were stopping at Newmarket and passengers were being ferried by bus to the downtown Britomart station.

Multiple services across the rail network were now cancelled or finishing at Newmarket or The Strand. Read more »

If it’s Craig or Brown flush it down

Personally I think both Craig and Brown are finished politically but only Len Brown seems to have accepted that fact as he has stated that he will not be standing again. The two men are an interesting study in how to handle a scandal. Len Brown didn’t even try to deny his affair. He immediately fronted up to Campbell Live and apologised for letting everyone down. In contrast Colin Craig went down the denial route. That is not my poem he claimed. It was inappropriate behaviour not sexual harassment he retorted.

Just one of the bad eggs that need to be exited

While their approach to being caught out was totally different what they have in common is that they both failed to react in the way one would expect.

Read more »

What is going on in the Mayor’s office?

The tipline has been humming for several days about some shenanigans inside the Mayor’s office in Auckland.

It seems that after drink driving incident that caught James Bews-Hair after the Mayor’s office Christmas party was a concerted effort to get rid of him by the Council’s senior executive.

This included the preparation of a proactive media plan to use after the dismissal (prepared by Council media manager Dan Lambert, one time Mayoral spin doctor and ex-mate of Bews-Hair).

In an attempt to discredit Bews-Hair it was the Council that leaked news of Bews-Hair’s accident and its ramifications, including personal details, to the Herald.   Read more »

What does it mean when politicians say rates increases will only be at the rate of inflation?

When the “Super City” was formed in Auckland we were told by the politicians that there would be huge savings to be had as result of amalgamation.

Most of us thought that would mean rates reductions. We were all wrong.

Then the citizens of Auckland elected Len Brown who proceeded to tell us all that average rates increases were at the rate of inflation, or a small percentage above. We foolishly re-elected him in 2013 and he proceeded to ratchet rates up even higher once the 10% legislative cap was removed. The last rates increase was described as an average of 9.9%.

But what does that mean in reality?

A reader emailed me. He is superbly well qualified to perform the necessary calculations, but has requested that his name be withheld.

Cam

The reason for this note is that I was doing the home office expense analysis for my tax return and I thought you might be interested in the Auckland City rates component on our home:   Read more »

More Len Brown waste at Auckland Council

Len Brown has an unhappy knack of wasting large sums of other people’s money in chasing his pet dreams.

He’s done it again costing ratepayers more than $100,000 chasing an award we didn’t win.

Auckland has been pipped at the post by a Colombian city in the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize – a competition Auckland Council spent $103,000 of ratepayers’ money entering.

It is a prize few people have ever heard of and which appears to have no lasting benefits.

Auckland was one of five finalists, along with Medellin, Sydney, Vienna and Toronto. Medellin, Colombia’s second biggest city, won.

Auckland mayor Len Brown, who promoted the expensive entry, is excited because Auckland was recognised by the judging jury for “overcoming its planning challenges faced over the past 20 years, notably through a highly integrated and innovative governance model.”

A letter Mr Brown received overnight from Singapore says his leadership in spearheading the ambitious Auckland Plan is highly remarkable, and that he and his colleagues have shown even the world’s most remote city can radically transform itself and unleash the creativity and cultural potential of its citizens.

Mr Brown says the council “were in to win, and yes we all had our hearts set on gold but this is an absolutely fabulous achievement when you consider the calibre of cities entered. And I can’t help but be inspired and excited by the fact this year’s winning city, Medellin, got a Special Mention in the previous prize round in 2014.”

Auckland was nominated for the award by Prime Minister John Key and others including Ngati Whatua o Orakei kaumatua Joe Hawke and world cities expert Greg Clark and it was the mayor’s pet project from then on.

Read more »