Waste

Here is another budget saving worth looking at

I don’t agree with much of what Peter Dunne says, and I find him a pompous tosspot at the best of times.

But he has questioned some womble positions being advertised and sledges out the Taxpayers’ Union at the same time.

UnitedFuture leader Peter Dunne is querying five new staff positions recently advertised by the Parliamentary Service.

The Parliamentary Service is currently advertising for:

– An Organisational Development Manager to join the People and Culture Leadership team

– A Senior Organisational Development Advisor

– A Senior Learning and Development Advisor to build people and organisational capability

– A Talent Manager for the People and Culture Leadership team

– A People and Culture Services Manager.    Read more »

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Another billion to prop up Kiwirail

When is enough going to be enough?

Remember when Michael Cullen dropped $695 million dollars into the pockets of Toll Holdings in what he described as the deal of the century. It is rumoured that the anniversary of the deal is celebrated still by directors of Toll Holdings, such was the awesomeness of the deal for them.

It hasn’t proved to be the deal of the century for the government though, with National having to bail out Kiwirail twice already and now set to pump another billion dollars into what surely must actually be a failed business.

The government is looking at having to pump another billion dollars into KiwiRail over the next four years, Finance Minister Bill English says.

This is on top of the $1 billion the government has already invested in keeping the business going over the last five years, Mr English told a business audience in Wellington this week.

He referred to the long standing difficulties of operating a railway business in New Zealand of a long narrow country, difficult terrain and thin freight and passenger volumes compared with other countries.

“You have to ask which parts of the business make sense,” he said    Read more »

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Auckland Council wasting rates on fashion and make-up advice to back office staff

The Taxpayers Union has busted Len Brown’s Auckland Council spending on fashion and make-up advice.

It is small beer but shows the profligate waste going on inside Auckland Council.

The Taxpayers’ Union can reveal that Auckland ratepayers have paid for an external image consultant to provide ‘Brand Me’ training to back-office accounting staff inside the Auckland Council.

Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says: “While the Council is cutting services and library hours it is spending money on fashion and make-up advice for its back office accounting staff.”

It is a sad irony that the very people whose job it is to keep a lid on Auckland Council’s spending are those wasting money getting ratepayer-funded hair and make-up advice.

“Image consultants Fox & Mae were contracted to run ‘Brand Me’ courses designed to assist with grooming, lifting the dress standard and help accounts staff understand the meaning of casual Friday.”

Mr Williams says, “Image consultants are to help celebrities and the rich dress well. From a ratepayers’ perspective this is about as helpful as funding tango lessons for the Mayor.”

Fox & Mae charged ratepayers $3,561.25 for the two training sessions and the Council’s response to the Taxpayers’ Union official information request has been posted on the Union’s website.

How do contracts like this even get let?

Was this a mates deal, nudge, nudge, wink, wink?

Is this what we pay rates for? Back office staff learning how to do their make-up.

 

Photo Of The Day

A migrant worker scavenges for materials in a landfill in the Maldives. Thilafushi is an artificial island created by filling one of the Maldives' shallow lagoons with garbage. More than 330 tons of rubbish was brought to Thilafushi each day.

A migrant worker scavenges for materials in a landfill in the Maldives. Thilafushi is an artificial island created by filling one of the Maldives’ shallow lagoons with garbage. More than 330 tons of rubbish was brought to Thilafushi each day.

Thilafushi – The “Rubbish Island”

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101 ways for councils to save ratepayers money

While most lobby groups just grumble and moan, the Taxpayers’ Union has gone over the head of Local Government New Zealand and put together a report on how the local government sector can save ratepayer money. It’s based largely on the suggestions of the nation’s mayors and highlights efforts by some councils.

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The Taxpayers’ Union has today published a new report by Jono Brown that suggest ways local councils can save money and reduce the rates burden on New Zealanders. Rate Saver Report: 101 Ways to Save Money in Local Government is a guide for local authorities on how they can cut waste, save money, reduce bureaucracy and ultimately lower rates. The report adopts many suggestions made by the country’s mayors, and is based on similar reports published in the United Kingdom.

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Ray Wallace, Mayor of Lower Hutt, says in a foreword to the report:

“I urge local government people to take these suggestions as a challenge. If you do not like them, come up with some better ones.”

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We already pay for rubbish collection but Len Brown wants to charge you for it again

Rebecca Wright on the Paul Henry Show explains Len Brown’s new plan to scalp ratepayers to pick up rubbish, a service we already pay for in our rates.

From next year, all of Auckland will have to pay for rubbish collection.

One of the reasons for this, says manager of Solid Waste Services Ian Stupple, is that residents are throwing out their rubbish in the wrong types of bins.

Mr Stupple differentiates between types of the bins available and how refuse bins are often the house owner’s last resort for waste.

“There’s the recycle bin, which takes anything from newspaper tins to cardboard, a food-waste bin, in addition to a food waste caddy, and then the bin that goes out to kerbside. Lastly, a refuse bin which is really the bin of last resort.”

The refuse bin is the first resort for many, which is a problem for the powers that be at Auckland Council.

They say too much waste is headed straight for landfill when it could be reduced or recycled.

And this bin will be barcoded or microchipped.

Under the new scheme, Aucklanders will pay for it to be emptied – and charged per lift   Read more »

Good to see NZTA saving so many lives with new “road safety” campaign

One thing that really gets to me is all the government funded, feel good advertising campaigns designed to do nothing other than show the government is spending my money.  This sort of thing was common under Labour, but now it looks like Big Gerry’s been too busy to reign in his Transport Ministry officials.  The Taxpayers’ Union has blogged:

The Taxpayers’ Union can reveal that the New Zealand Transport Authority’s ‘Drive Social’ campaign cost taxpayers $1,492,395 on advertising, $985,019 on communications and advertising consultancy fees and $301,872 in other related costs.  This website alone cost $186,142.

The ‘Drive Social’ campaign was organised by NZTA to educate road-users that they “share the road with other drivers” and instructs them to “be considerate” (we’re not making this up!).

We think that the funds for these sort of self-evident campaigns would be better spent on improving roads or preventing drink driving.  The Taxpayers’ Union asked the NZTA to provide cost-benefit analysis of the campaign. Instead, it could only provide us the costs to the taxpayer and ‘media monitoring’ reports.  Read more »

Auckland Council blowing millions on luxury fit-out for Ivory Tower

Policy Parrot says:

A year after agreeing to acquire the former ASB Tower in Albert Street the Auckland Council is preparing to fit-out the interior ready for staff to move in.

But the process has turned into a bloated exercise of expense and original budgets are ballooning faster than Greek national debt.

Policy Parrot has learned that the budget for the fit-out of the ASB Tower was set at $50 million consisting of $20 million for services and $30 million for actual hard fit-out costs.

Now that is now blowing out substantially because the Council’s own green loony brigade have stepped in to demand that the interior be built to a Green-star rating and that fit-out materials include sustainable environmentally friendly and vastly expensive luxuries such as wood pulp walls, hemp carpets and other hard to source green trinkets.

The word to this Parrot is that the fit-out cost are creeping by 30-40% and could balloon higher. That might imply that it could reach $70m before Christmas. Seventy million dollars! That’s a whopping amount of money!  Read more »

We fund this?

National may cut some spending but there is still plenty of bullshit wasting of tax dollars out there. How could these people possibly think this was prudent spending of the public purse?

I’d love to know what the spend on this was.

A natural therapy clinic at Whanganui Hospital offering massage and traditional Maori healing has been shelved after a doctor linked it to witchcraft and wizardry.

The clinic also offered Christian prayer and energy healing – including reiki and colour therapy – to staff for health and wellbeing.

The hospital agreed to offer the therapies as a three-month trial, but it was stopped early, on September 19, because of the doctor’s comments.

“After we decided to have the pilot for staff, there was some negative publicity generated by a couple of our board members,” chief executive Julie Patterson said. “I wasn’t overly concerned about it.

“Some weeks later, one of the senior doctors made a comment publicly in the local newspaper – a positive comment, not a negative comment – about the trial, but linked it with witchcraft and wizardry.”

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Two new Offices for ATEED?

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It looks like ATEED is getting into a bit of empire building…they have called for tenders for office fitouts for TWO offices…one in Mairangi Bay (pdf 498k) and one in East Tamaki (pdf 496k).

Why does ATEED need two new offices to be fitted out?

It looks like a couple of million bucks is being lined up to be dropped into fitting out these offices.

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