Len Brown

Once again Len’s council tells us we should shut up, they know best

You know Auckland Council thinks it can do things better than anyone else when it diversifies away from its core responsibilities to indulge in a particular activity that is best conducted by private enterprise. the supremacy and arrogance of the Council has been a bad smell for some time but is about to get stinkier.

It’s urban compact city plans are not happening and its frustrated and desperate to make it happen.

And its usually at times like this that stupid decisions are made.

Len Brown has now announced that Auckland Council will form an Urban development agency to improve the city’s ability to address some of its’ pressing urban development needs. In short – it is going to jump right on into the very high risk game of property development.

Auckland Council’s Governing Body today agreed to support the establishment of an urban development agency to improve the city’s ability to address some of its pressing urban development needs.

The new entity, called Development Auckland, will have a key role in helping deliver the council priority of quality urban living and will have the mandate to deal with the challenge of Auckland’s rapid growth through regeneration and investment.  The agency will have the capability to deliver public and private development and infrastructure, including housing, across the region.

The new entity is a result of the realignment of Auckland Council’s council-controlled organisations (CCOs).

Mayor Len Brown said: “Meeting Auckland’s development needs over the next 10 to 20 years requires a transformational shift in the council’s approach to urban development and regeneration

“Central government, the council, the private sector and the not-for-profit sector will be able to work together in a way that does not burden ratepayers further with the costs of growth, but rather sees them realise the benefits of it.

“The CCO review has provided Auckland Council with an opportunity to address this.”    Read more »

Hosking’s good hard sledge of Len Brown

Mike Hosking delivered one long hard sledge against the little ratbag masquerading as Auckland’s mayor.

In a way I have no one to blame but myself.

I, much to my surprise, have found myself increasingly agitated about the running of this great city. Increasingly I feel it is being run by idiots. Idiots and financial illiterates.

I have had little, if any, interest in local body politics before. I didn’t vote last time. I don’t think I voted the time before. In fact if I were putting it all on the record it’s entirely possible I have never voted.

So you have every right to bag me now for complaining.

Actually I am not complaining, more raising the alarm. More asking the question: Am I the only one who thinks things around Auckland Council are getting hopelessly out of control? By way of some defence, I didn’t vote in my local area because there was only one person standing.

And when it came to Mayor there was the incumbent and the New York restaurateur. Who seemed like a decent bloke but had no profile, and as much as I might have liked to vote for someone other than Len, I would never vote against someone. Voting against someone is a recipe for trouble. You might not like what’s in office, but that doesn’t mean just anything else is the answer.

People who don’t vote, then complain usually give me the shits…but I’ll spare Mike some latitude.

Anyway, having got my excuses out of the way, I am bordering on ropable over what’s unfolding around the council table. First of all shall we deal with the broken promises?

Len Brown promised a rate rise of no more than 2.5 per cent yet voted for a 3.5 per cent increase.

Len Brown promised rate rises within the range of inflation.

The council promised a maximum rates cap of 10 per cent. They then rejected that.

Hundreds of thousands of households will be getting bills with increases of in excess of 10 per cent, some as high as 40 per cent. How in God’s name is this allowed to happen?

Read more »

Oh well done Len. Well done. 2.5%, then 3.5%, and now up to 40% and more

Auckland Council are determined to get everyone paying exactly what the formula says they should pay, no matter how much this will increase rates.  Check this out.

The cap which has protected some Auckland homeowners from up to 40 per cent rates rises has been voted down…

Auckland Council’s Governing Body today argued its way through its 10-year budget, known as the Long-term Plan 2015-25.

Among a series of major decisions it has removed the rates cap, refused a referendum on its controversial plans to pay for expensive transport projects and made changes to how it charges property developers.

The vote to scrap the rates cap was tight – 11 votes to 10.

Since the eight old Auckland councils amalgamated into the super city, the new council has been trying to align the rates it charges.

It has meant some homeowners have had decreases in their rates, but others have faced steep increases.

In an effort to give some relief to the pain of those homeowners in line for big increases, the council operated a policy called “rates transition” – capping the extent of rates rises each year to a maximum of 10 per cent.

But today the cap went  – all ratepayers who own similar value properties will pay the same rates no matter where in Auckland they live. And no matter how big the rates rise.

It has been reported that some will now face a massive household rates increases of 40 per cent or more next year.

This is after Len promised 2.5% rises.

And then he said, sorry, but, erm… 3.5%, ok?

And now this.     Read more »

Of course they are opposed to a referendum

Auckland Council and Len brown are running at a hundred miles an hour away from giving citizens of Auckland a say on how they want to tax us for using roads we have already paid for.

Auckland Council staff are opposing a public referendum on whether to charge motorway tolls or raise fuel taxes and rates to fill a multibillion-dollar transport funding gap as allegedly too costly and confusing.

An Auckland-wide referendum on ways of raising an extra $300 million a year would cost $1.5 million and the timetable for running it ahead of long-term budget decisions needed by early May would be very tight, says a staff report to councillors.

The report, which councillors will consider on Thursday, also says a referendum would not replace the council’s obligation to consult on transport funding options before setting its 10-year budget.

Running two processes asking about the same issue was likely to be “confusing for Aucklanders.”

It says a consultation document for the budget will be delivered to each household for feedback in any case, and recommends a “statistically reliable and independent” survey if councillors want greater clarity about public opinion after that.

Auckland Mayor Len Brown opposed the idea of a referendum last month, when an advisory group presented the council with options of either a motorway toll averaging $2 or higher fuel taxes and rates, saying he expected tens of thousands of people to make their views clear in submissions to the long-term budget.    Read more »

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Something doesn’t smell right with Len Brown’s dodgy trust arrangements

via 3news.co.nz

via 3news.co.nz

If we have learn’t anything about Len Brown it is that no matter how murky and dodgy things look, you can guarantee that the reality will be much worse.

At last a half decent bit of journalism by the MSM with the SST uncovering the Police investigation into Len’s secret fundraising Trust. But if they had dug any deeper they would have found that there is at least another entire layer of stench to this.

I have it from an impeccable source that in their investigation the Police have only investigated two of Brown’s people – Conor Roberts and James Bews-Hair.   Read more »

Police looking into Greg Presland’s money laundering rort for Len Brown

Greg Presland.  You may recall he was a ‘close adviser and friend’ to David Cunliffe.  You may also recall he writes as Mickey Savage on The Standard.  You may also recall he put together David Cunliffe’s dodgy secret trust.

Seems the paragons of virtue, Brown and Presland have come to the attention of the police.

Police are investigating an entity that funded Auckland mayor Len Brown’s 2010 and 2013 election campaigns.

More then $750,000 in backing for Brown’s two successful campaigns was paid by a trust that kept donors’ identities secret. Since February police have been investigating whether the trust breached the Local Electoral Act.

The Sunday Star-Times has confirmation from Brown’s former campaign team that Greg Presland was involved in the donor trust. He was also the main trustee of the trust that paid almost $20,000 in anonymous donations to former Labour leader David Cunliffe during Labour’s 2013 leadership contest.

Cunliffe has since said using that trust was an error of judgment, and keeping donors’ names secret didn’t fully represent “the values I would like to bring to this leadership”. Cunliffe eventually named three donors and returned donations to two others who did not want to be named.

Brown sees no need to do the same with the “New Auckland Council Trust”, which donated $499,000 to his 2010 mayoral campaign and $273,375 last year .

Let me fast-forward to the end for you all:  1)  Len Brown will not stand down.  He has done nothing illegal and he’s not ashamed about anything.  2)  Greg Presland, in spite of being poison to whoever he gets involved with, will happily continue to ply his trade.   Read more »

Auckland Council rail loop will probably blow through $6B before it’s done

This is quite serious

An Auckland Council IT project considered key to delivering the promised savings of the “Super City” model faces a budget blowout of up to $100 million.

The “NewCore” programme is designed to consolidate the outdated operating systems of the eight local bodies which merged in 2010 to become the Auckland Council and has an approved budget of $71 million.

The first stage was supposed to go live in May with the project completed by June 2016, but council bosses yesterday confirmed a delay of 12 months.

Chief operating officer Dean Kimpton also confirmed more money was needed but would not comment on specific figures as councillors were discussing a briefing paper behind closed doors today. But sources say the total cost could end up between $140 and $170 million – up to $100 million more than the budget approved two years ago.

That’s $100M more over the top of $70M… so far.

That’s some serious mismanagement. Read more »

Len’s rates rampage continues

Len Brown and those councillors who continue to enable his rapacious grab with rates are fast coming to a point where there will be a rebellion against their continued raids on our pockets.

About 4000 households face rates increases of 40 per cent or more next year under a “cold turkey” proposal causing deep divisions among city councillors.

The budget committee yesterday voted 10-7 to implement big rates rises in one hit next year.

The decision will be felt hardest north of the harbour bridge, where 2122 of the 3738 households facing a 40 per cent-plus rates increase are located.

The big rises are at the extreme end of the latest property valuations and the end to implementing a single rating system for the Super City.

About 126,000 households face rates rises of more than 10 per cent and 25,000 more than 20 per cent.   Read more »

Hosking loves Len

I see Len Brown’s grand dream of making Auckland the world’s most liveable city is right on track. Part of the plan is to clearly run your local Aucklander broke by making it cost more and more to do anything.

All council owned car parks are going to be more expensive. Early bird parking is bring scrapped. Why? So you can catch the train or bus of course. Livable cities run on public transport.

I note there have been some people raising issues like “there aren’t any buses or trains where I live” or “they haven’t started running because of the hour of the morning I need to commute”. These concerns of course are exactly the sort of petty nonsensical rubbish all great visionaries have to put up with on the path to greatness.

Also this week, I see some ratepayers are facing rate rises of more than 10 percent. In fact over 125,000 households are in exactly that boat. Let’s hope they don’t have people in them that enjoyed some early bird parking or else that’s looking like one crappy week.

Now the reason they are paying more is that some pay less. Ironically not as many pay less as those who pay more, but that’s their fault for going and living in suburbs that for reasons best known to themselves just went and got expensive. And if you insist on living in one of those, you’re just going to have to pay the price. Read more »

Cartoon of the Day

Credit:  Roger Price

Credit: Roger Price