Penny Hulse

Len Brown breaks yet another promise, ratchets rates ever higher

Len Brown has become the lying Mayor.

Another of his election promises has gone by the wayside as his council keeps on increasing rates rather than reining in spending.

Auckland Council’s budget committee has voted 16-7 for a proposal to increase rates by 3.5 per cent for each year of a new 10-year budget.

The proposal got the backing of Mayor Len Brown, who promised voters to hold rates at 2.5 per cent this term.

This is on top of the massive rates rises of the last 3 years, some way more than 10% but capped under now expired legislation. Remember too that this is average rates rises of 3.5%, there will be some with even higher rates rises.

These are the tax, spend and hope councillors.

For a 3.5 per cent increase: Len Brown, Penny Webster, Arthur Anae, Cathy Casey, Bill Cashmore, Ross Clow, Linda Cooper, Chris Darby, Alf Filipaina, Penny Hulse, Mike Lee, Calum Penrose, John Walker, Wayne Walker and Maori Statutory Board members David Taipari and John Tamihere.

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Auckland’s councillors are revolting

Well, not all of them, but certainly enough to put Len Brown’s pet project in jeopardy.

The $2.4 billion City Rail Link could be deferred until 2020 because of mounting concerns by councillors about its impact on rates, debt and big cuts to community services.

A number of councillors are having second thoughts about an early start on the rail project and support deferring work until the Government comes on board with funding in 2020.

Auckland Mayor Len Brown has locked $2.2 billion into a new 10-year budget to begin work on the 3.5km underground rail link in 2016 and completed by 2021.

On Wednesday, all 20 councillors and the mayor will debate the budget and make decisions on the rail project for public consultation.

One commenter notes:

The best news from the article is that councillors seem to be backing away from the train set – with luck Len’s folly will be initially deferred and later abandoned without fanfare.

And another comments:

Had a quick look. Finally it seems like ‘the people of Auckland are getting mad enough and therefore loud enough to be heard. Reading between the lines it seems like the counsellors have decided they would rather get re-elected and keep their jobs than support someone (Lenny) who is going to lose.

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More talk about Auckland’s housing problems

Nick Smith, housing, environment, building and construction minister, vowed Resource Management Act reform. Deputy major Penny Hulse revealed plans for a new Auckland Development Agency, understood to be a merger of council-controlled Auckland Council Property and Waterfront Auckland. They would become one new more powerful urban transformational unit. But she said she did not want to reveal details before the announcement.

[NZIER principal economist] Mr Eaqub said foreigners were not responsible for driving up prices and at maximum, only 8 per cent of house sales were to non-residents. New Zealand investors and movers dominated new house purchases, he said citing CoreLogic data showing investors made up 45 per cent of house purchases, first-home buyers only 19 per cent and movers 28 per cent.

There are a lot of misconceptions of who are the active participants in our housing market,” he said.

These three form the ‘expert’ panel. ¬†So far I’m underwhelmed. ¬† Read more »

If anyone knows about prohibition it is the Sallies…and they say it doesn’t work

Some very wise words from a Salvation Army boss about prohibition, both of alcohol and cannabis.

Simon Collins takes a break from pimping the poor to talk to to Alistair Herring of the Salvation Army.

A New Zealander who has come home after heading the Salvation Army in Pakistan says prohibition never works, but more restrictions can reduce the harm from drugs and alcohol.

Commissioner Alistair Herring, 63, who returned from Pakistan in April to head the Salvation Army’s NZ addiction services, said Islam’s ban on alcohol did not stop Pakistanis suffering serious addiction problems.

“Muslims are not allowed to hold alcohol licences in Pakistan on the premise that Islam is against addictive substances,” he said. “What tends to happen in reality is that Muslims who want to drink will go to the Christian or non-Muslim community for their alcohol. I have talked to Muslim folk in Pakistan and they acknowledge that it is a problem. There is also a huge drug problem, of course.”

He said Salvationists vowed not to drink or smoke voluntarily “because of who we are and the services we provide”. But compulsion was “quite a different thing”.

“Prohibition is never going to work, has never worked,” he said.

He said he would be “very cautious” about decriminalising cannabis, as proposed by Auckland Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse, but he acknowledged the inconsistency of laws on cannabis and alcohol.

“I understand the younger generation saying to their parents, ‘So you are against my drug of choice but what about your drug of choice?'” he said. “We tend to want to use a sledgehammer with drugs and a feather duster with alcohol.”

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Good intent, but I doubt we need a 3 year study to work out why Pasifika don’t own houses

An interesting if doomed initiative.

An initiative testing the financial management of Pacific Aucklanders is being launched this weekend.

The three-year pilot programme, Turanga, will be trialled on 60 Pacific families in a bid to identify why few Pacific people are homeowners.

Almost half of all Pacific Aucklanders live in crowded households and are likely to experience long-term debt, Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse said.

“There are significant challenges for many Aucklanders to become homeowners but it can be especially hard for the Pacific community to get a foot on Auckland’s housing ladder,” Hulse said.

Twenty families a year will take part in Turanga and will provide information about their financial, social and cultural circumstances to identify the challenges they face.

The findings will then be used to develop a programme for each family tailored to their specific needs.

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We don’t want your stinking apartments

Ever desperate to continue pitching for an intensified future Lawrence Yule and his buddies at Local Government NZ have organised a conference and found someone, anyone who will spout on about apartments.

The cost of properties with over-inflated price tags can be brought down with a rapid increase of high rise apartment blocks and granny flats, according to an expert speaking at a property seminar in Wellington tonight.

Local Government New Zealand president Lawrence Yule will lead a panel discussion on housing affordability with Finance Minister Bill English, Auckland Council Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse, economist Arthur Grimes and New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development chairman John Rae.

Aha! Someone who will say that building apartments will make a difference to house prices and demand.

Normally Arthur Grimes is considered to be pretty smart and he has some good things to say.

But it appears he lacks understanding precisely how the mechanism of property and how the buying market works.

In fact – not many people do at all.

New apartments have to sell for between 8,000 and 10,000 per square metre of floor space in Auckland on average to allow a developer a margin. That can drop slightly in the CBD if car parks are discounted off the price by not building them. A 100 sqm apartment therefore would have a sales price around $1m.

New houses have to sell for $3,000-3,500 psqm. A $1m house will most often be a big 250-300 sqm house on land with yard and so on.

Apartments have terribly high ongoing costs distributed through body corporate fees. Houses don’t. ¬†¬† Read more »

Are you as pleased about Len’s pay rise as I am?

via Yahoo! Len Brown celebrating the start of the Year of the Whores

via Yahoo! Len Brown celebrating the start of the Year of the Whores

Len Brown has scored a payrise, as has every councillor in the latest deliberations from the Remuneration Authority.

Auckland Mayor Len Brown will be paid $259,500 from July after the Remuneration Authority approved a 3.4 per cent pay rise well above the rate of inflation and the average wage increase in New Zealand.

The authority, which oversees public sector pay rates, has recommended a 3.4 per cent pay rise for Mr Brown, Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse and the chairs of the major committees. The other 16 councillors will receive a 3.3 per cent pay rise, taking their salaries from $98,672 to $101,900.

The $101,900 salary is embarrassing for Orakei councillor Cameron Brewer, who has criticised a sharp increase in the number of council staff earning fat salaries of more than $100,000.

Last October, Mr Brewer said a 256 jump in staff earning more than $100,000 in 12 months “will go down like a cup of cold sick among our stretched suburban ratepayers”. ¬†¬† Read more »

Police against cannabis reform

funny-stick-man-drawings-art

No surprises here, the Police are opposed to cannabis reform preferring instead to continue waste resources prosecuting people for using cannabis. They have already virtually decriminalised cannabis in any case by not prosecuting most users caught with a joint or two…instead going after larger quantities.

But for all the years of battling cannabis they are no closer to eradicating it from our shores. You have to wonder why they bother…then again this is the same people who say having a pistol grip on a rifle is bad…for no reason whatsoever and no scientific proof that having a pistol grip makes the owner of a rifle a homicidal maniac.

Still they are opposed to legalisation of cannabis and the sole basis for coming to this conclusions is that 5 people last year removed themselves from the gene pool by driving drugged.

Police say they do not support the decriminalisation of natural cannabis despite calls by Auckland’s Deputy Mayor that it’s safer than banned synthetic versions.

Penny Hulse said it was time New Zealanders discussed the decriminalisation of cannabis, much as they had had discussions on prostitution and same-sex marriage.

But a police national headquarters spokesman said there was no political will for decriminalisation and their stance on the issue was clear.

“Police do not support the decriminalisation of cannabis.”

[…] ¬†¬† Read more »

Why are the centre/right letting Len Brown get away with it

C&R, which is the old Citizens and Ratepayers in drag, have really dropped the ball on holding dodgy rooting ratbag Len Brown to account.

Insiders at C&R say that the position is that Len should be allowed to get on with being mayor, rather than putting him under more pressure for his shamelessness.

The soft option was taken when Len was forced to pay on $40,000 of the legal fees.

“The group’s chairwoman, Christine Fletcher, says there has¬†been a “full and final agreement” that he will contribute¬†$40,000, in addition to paying $20,000 for his own legal
costs, which are separate to the $250,000 cost of the review.

The group also included Dick Quax, one of Mr Brown’s¬†staunchest opponents, along with Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse,¬†George Wood and Penny Webster.”¬† Read more »

Has Len Brown never heard of the LGOIMA?

Len Brown is fighting to keep his deal with councillors over repayment secret. He has got bad news coming down the line if he thinks he can do that.

Bernard Orsman reports:

Expectations are rising for a settlement by Auckland Mayor Len Brown towards the $100,000-plus cost of a review into his extramarital affair to be made public.

Three of the five councillors negotiating a settlement – Chris Fletcher, George Wood and Dick Quax – believe it is the wish of the group to make the settlement public.

Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse and Penny Webster, the other two on the negotiating group, are staying quiet.

Mr Brown told the Herald last week that when councillors set up a group last month to enter into binding negotiations, the resolution was the settlement would be confidential.

He can’t hide, there is a little problem for Len Brown called the¬†Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act and it will most definitely apply to the meetings of 5 councillors and him settling a repayment. They made it council business.¬† Read more »