Busting Len Brown’s spin

len in blunderland

Planning Parrot says:

Len Brown’s team at the Auckland Council have again proven they are monumentally out of control.

This week Auckland Council issued a Request for Expressions of Interest from consultants to conduct and prepare a study report that ‘undertakes a more thorough empirical research basis showing the true cost of servicing different types of development and assessing the impacts of location and typology’.

So what does that mean?

In a nut shell Council has just decided to do the analysis study work that is required to support the argument that intensification is cheaper on infrastructure than Greenfield.

The REI says:

For some time there has been a view, supported by Council’s Transport, Water and Wastewater CCOs, that it is more costly to service development at or beyond the urban edge of Auckland than it is to service development within it. There is some evidence supporting the view on development location in international studies but no specific work has been done for Auckland. In addition there is growing acceptance that different dwelling types place different demands on infrastructure. 

In their own words ‘No specific work has been done for Auckland’.

Yes you read that correct.

Auckland Council officers and politicians have been arguing for years (and in recent times) that the cost of green-field sprawl is in fact too expensive because of the cost of infrastructure (sewer, storm water, potable water, roads, etc).

But they haven’t done any studies to prove this. In fact, they don’t even know if it is true – hence the reason they have now gone out to seek the analysis (to be prepared by external consultancies) to understand the costs.

That is a spectacular and unfathomable moment of clarity that has seeped out of Auckland Council. The major impetus, emphasis and rationale for a the ‘compact Auckland’ is the so called claim that the city cannot afford to keep growing outwards.

So what they are telling us is that they plainly lied.

Comments by politicians and commentators in recent times on the cost of infrastructure and sprawl is nothing more than shooting from the hip and unsubstantiated nonsense. Here are a handful of quotes for you.

Mayor Brown said:

More sprawling suburbs. More roads. More laissez-faire development. And what would happen?

There would be more congestion. There would be even less of a sense of pride in being Aucklanders, as we live in far-flung suburbs and centres.

We would see the loss of more of our farmland – some of the most productive land in New Zealand – as it was turned into roads and pavements.

And there would be more costs on ratepayers – because of the huge infrastructure costs associated with sprawling cities.

Penny Hulse:

Auckland Council has dismissed the recommendations as ideological.

Acting Mayor Penny Hulse says the commission has ignored the higher costs associated with sprawl.

She says the most sensible direction for Auckland is to develop towards a compact city.

Ms Hulse says the commission may well have made up its mind at the start of its work and ignored evidence which did not fit.

And they have never done the analysis. They simply don’t even know if that is true.

Call me a parrot and feed me birdseed but isn’t that the single biggest admission of incompetence and systemic blunder of all time by Auckland Council?

How can Len Brown and Penny Hulse stand up now, with hand on heart and say that the city growing outwards is more expensive?

It is time for the Government to step in and take the reigns. Len should stand down as Mayor for deceiving the public. This is an outrage.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.

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