Watercare

Here they come Len. This is what deliberate sabotage earns you

Len Brown needs more money.

He’s got the rate payers to a point where they are no longer willing to put up with his ridiculous rates rises. ¬†So now he has to fiddle around the edges by introducing parking charges in all suburbs of Auckland. ¬†And… rejigging the water charges, starting with new connections.

The [Auckland] council-owned Watercare Services this week announced it would charge an additional $2300 for each new home or apartment connecting to its network.

Housing Minister Nick Smith said the move was not helpful at a time when there was a focus on trying to make housing more affordable.

Watercare’s move takes to $12,075 the fee it will charge for new connections. It is lower than the fee charged by some councils, but the company said it still covered only 30 percent of the cost of new infrastructure.

Dr Smith said work underway by his ministry and Treasury is looking at the charging practices of network companies which service new housing areas, including water and electricity and phone networks.

He said at present, the legislation governing Watercare Services meant it was outside the reach of local government law changes, bringing in new checks on how much can be charged for new developments. Read more »

What is going on here? Is Auckland part of north Korea now?

via theruss.org

via theruss.org

Wayne Thompson reports on an absurd story in Auckland

New Zealand’s first environmentally sustainable public “third pipe” scheme, planned to serve thousands of homes with recycled storm water, has been plugged.

Rain falling on Stonefields – a redevelopment of a former East Auckland quarry – was to be fed to a storm water retention pond and treated to feed a plumbing network to toilets and garden taps.

Sounds like a smart use of free water to me. ¬†No need to use potable water to flush toilets or water the lawn. ¬†So what’s the problem here? ¬† Read more »

A knife, try a chainsaw or a big axe

This will be the size of the knife Len Brown says he will use to cut pay rate at the Council

This will be the size of the knife Len Brown says he will use to cut pay rate at the Council

Len Brown reckons he has listened to the people and he is going to take a knife to high council salaries and debt. He has of course flip-flopped from defending high salaries to now railing against them.

On top of that his promise to bring in the “living wage” is just going to add to the debt mountain his unfunded promises have already created.

Yesterday, Mr Brown said “messages” about debt and spending were very clear and he planned to address them when he presents the first cut of next year’s budget to councillors on November 17.

One issue Mr Brown has promised action on is pay for senior staff – 1500 of whom earn more than $100,000 and 113 more than $200,000.

During the election, he defended salaries of nearly $800,00 for council chief executive Doug McKay and Watercare chief Mark Ford, saying, “You have got to meet the market.”¬† Read more »

Pam Squawkery kicks Len Brown in the slats

It is just a pity that Pam Corkery didn’t come out with her opinion piece a couple of weeks ago. It is a ripper and she fair kicks Len Brown in the slats.

Not voting is alien to me and I have been guilty of preaching to fellow citizens who aren’t up for democracy at the moment.

I am going to stop, because events have forced me to look at Len Brown, then look away again – quickly.

I don’t blame Mayor Brown for the nationwide apathy about local-body elections. But he can cop a fair chunk of the responsibility in Auckland.

Mr Brown is a cartoon politician. He was the people’s choice who presented his arse for a smooch as soon as he got the boss’ job.

He has been a bleeder looking for something sharp to bump into in the past few days.¬† Read more »

Orsman turns feral on Len Brown

Len Brown

“My rates increases were thiiiis big”

The Herald and Bernard Orsman have dropped a bomb on Len Brown…one that will likely hurt as the race appears to be a lot tighter than Len’s team are claiming from their own internal polling.

Since Len Brown’s first budget in 2011, debt has risen from $3.9 billion and is projected to reach $6.7 billion this financial year – not including the Mayor’s pet $2.86 billion rail loop. Orakei councillor Cameron Brewer says these are huge numbers while mayoral challenger John Palino believes the Super City is being bankrupted.

Soaring debt, hefty rate increases and a blow-out in the wages bill have marked Len Brown’s first term as Mayor and Treasurer of the Super City.

The Herald has opened the books on Mr Brown’s management of the city’s finances and found a pattern of big borrowing, rising staff costs and rates pain for Auckland City, North Shore and Howick households.

Mr Brown insists most Aucklanders are in tune with the “balanced, prudent financial framework”, but critics like main mayoral challenger John Palino believe he is driving the Super City to bankruptcy.

As the person in charge of a $4.5 billion annual budget, Mr Brown says he has shown “guts and vision” to invest in projects to address decades of under-investment and population growth.

He maintains the spending is being done within a low rates scenario, reasonable debt level, prudent financial management guidelines approved by the Auditor-General, the council’s high credit rating of AA and a growing asset base.¬† Read more »

Council branding costing ratepayers millions

The CCO Strategy Review Committee, which Len Brown chairs, resolved to direct a rebranding exercise for all Auckland Council CCOs.

Part of this appears to be a requirement for all CCOs to align with the Council’s pohutukawa brand.  Documents released to this blog show that the cost of this exercise for Watercare alone is in the region of $2 million. One can only wonder how much other CCOs are shelling out on re-branding as ordered by Len Brown.

Here is a standalone company responsible for delivering potable water and processing shit. And instead of leaving it to do its job, Auckland Council, under direction from Len Brown, is continuing to apply a mothership approach to operational matters such as corporate branding and as a consequence burdening these organisations with considerable additional uncalled for costs.

Will Aucklanders feel better when they turn on the tap or flush the toilet knowing that the Mayor is demanding that a pohutukawa brand logo will cost Watercare alone in the region of $2m. Is this part of the mayoral plan to make Auckland the world’s most liveable city?”

Worse though, is it appears that the changed has been forced upon Watercare even after they sought some public relations advice from Senate Communications also released to this blog. That advice states:

Hmmm…”lightening rod for wider ratepayer dissatisfaction“….you bet it will.

Lwaxana Troi dies

Lwaxana TroiWell not actually Lwaxana Troi but the actor who played her, Gene Roddenberry’s widow, Majel Barrett-Roddenberry. She died of Leukemia at age 79.

She is best remembered as the Nurse Christine Chapel from the original series, the annoying, officious Lwaxana Troi from The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine, and of course the voice of Star Trek computers in movies, TV, and animated films. She had just finished doing the voice work for the latest film Star Trek.

Barrett was the only performer to have had a role on all of the Star Trek series.

Gene Roddenberry was the creator of Star Trek and she took over as the major cheerleader for the franchise when he died in 1991 attending a major convention each year after his death.