A reader email about rates and declining services


A reader emails about his rates and the loss of services which have now been transferred to ratepayers with no corresponding drop in rates.

Hi Whaleoil & co,

Not really a tip, and defiantly not a major issue, but something that has really annoyed me for several reasons.

I was wondering why the roadside verges in my area were looking like they needed a cut.  So after 30 minutes of googling and searching the Auckland Council website I could find no mention if the council had stopped the mowing of roadside verges in the old Auckland City Council area.  After a phone call to Auckland Council and speaking to a charming lady who read out a prepared statement, it had turned out that this is the case and saved $3 million per year or releasing fund to pay for 3-5 days’ worth of interest on council debt.  The charming call centre lady could not answer why there was no announcement of this or further information available on the council website to inform Joe Public.  I would appreciate it if you could highlight this on your blog so affected home owners could start tiding up their parts of the street.

Now what really annoys me is that council rates keep going up, and core services keep declining, this was one of the few benefits I had valued and had received from Auckland Council.  The second is the lack of communication and the fact that this has be slipped in under the radar, something I plan to take under consideration in the elections this year.

Finally I have to take responsibility for land which is not mine, which I cannot modify in-order to keep maintenance costs down, and which the costs in time and money have now shifted to me.  I wouldn’t mind this if rates had actually deceased in real terms.


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  • GazzW

    Auckland City’s media releases, newsletters & mailbox drops exist largely to funnel the ‘good news’ and bolster Len’s image. Don’t expect negative stuff about the cessation of grass verge mowing. As we run into the election ratepayers can anticipate more of their funds to be channeled into Len’s campaign thinly disguised as Auckland City communications.

  • LabTested

    I noticed this week that a lot of the pedestrian crossing lights in Mt Eden / Epsom have been changed. They now give you a count down on how long you have to cross. I sat at the lights wondering why the change & what was the cost. I can only assume that a committee of highly paid people need to come up with needless expensive changes like this to justify their existence.

    • Harroputza

      But think of the free swimming pools and cultural events we get!!

    • bobby

      Ha ha. I have had the exact same thought at other intersections with the same upgrades. I wander which traffic management “expert” somewhere ticked some big recommending $100k spent to upgrade something that already worked just fine for decades.

  • Young and Dumb

    This is typical Len Brown. He is an incredibly slimy and shifty individual.

    I admit that I was going to vote for Len in the previous election because he had an image that he was a caring and honest mayor. However once it came out that he had charged a private dinner of his to the council the media came out and he had finally recieved some negative coverage. This coverage didn’t change my opinion and I was still going to vote for him but it was his reaction and explaination for doing so that changed me voting for him.

    I remember the interview/press conference with Len standing in front of the microphones scream “I didn’t come back for the baubles of office…’.

    I really hope Len does not win this election but as GazzW has stated the media are not being fair (they stopped doing this a long time ago) and the lack of a candidate for the right (I have not heard enough and am not confident that John Palino can beat Len) Auckland could quite well be in for a shocking future if Len’s plan come into fruition.

    • GazzW

      It is absolutely vital that you vote for councillors that oppose Len so that he becomes a lame duck mayor.

  • Greg

    From a out of towners view its looking like another term for looney len, you poor bastards!

  • Col

    If that’s all you have to worry about;
    1 Move.
    2 Cut it.

    • Travis Poulson

      3. let it grow.

      • LabTested

        4. Use weed Killer to write LBIAFC

        • Travis Poulson

          Yep, but good to see great minds think alike :)

  • Pete George

    I’ve always mowed my own verges and this is commonly done, down here anywhere.

    • Pete, you miss the point…in some parts of Auckland the previous council mowed the berms, it was a council service. Now they don;t and rates haven’t dropped a bit, in fact in many of those suburbs they have gone up by the maximum allowed of 10%.

      I live in the old Manukau City and our berms weren’t mowed, so i haven’t lost any services, my rates still went up though.

      • Karla

        Here here!

      • Col

        I look at rates like this,
        The old days you had to dig a hole a Long Drop, move it when it was fill.
        Now you Flush.
        Use to get water in a bucket, now you turn the tap on.
        Plus the other stuff, roads, transport.
        For say $5.00 a day it is cheap.
        If you have pride, mow your lawn and stop mowing!!!
        I understand what your saying, but really?

        • Mr_Blobby

          I don’t know where you live Col Muppet, but I pay $10 and get fuck all value for money.

          • Col

            Is that per person in the house, or everyone in the house?
            I get to Flush and turn the Tap on.
            Why/ do you need to shit outside, and get water from the well, in that case don’t pay your rates and go talk to MINTO lol

  • baw

    Ah but we have the money for free pool admission.

  • CharlieC

    Basically Auckland Council is spending lots of money on the wrong things because it has lost its way and forgotten what it exists to do. It thinks it exists to plan utopia, provide social outcomes, direct economic imperatives, decide our futures. Call me stupid if you like but I thought that was the role of central government and local government was meant to be about dealing with grass roots services like water, sewer and local roads. It’s all the duplication that’s sending Auckland Council adrift.

    • le sphincter

      Its Auckland Transport you dipstick.
      Auckland Council has no control over them apart from one of two board memebers , one of which is Christine Fletcher.
      AS for their roading policy, thats decided by Wellington bureaucrats after Brownlees recent law change. Auckland Transport is just now an arm of central government

      • Bunswalla

        Auckland Transport is a CCO (Council-controlled organisation) that is part of Auckland Council.

        And you are a fuckwit.

        • Hazards001

          Saved me the trouble..ta

    • Mr_Blobby

      They are looking more like a communist demand economy every day.

  • Grim Reaper

    Just nuke the fucking grass – a litre of quality weed killer will do the trick! Job done.

  • Dr Wang

    Hypothetical question: mid-summer dry long grass verges, careless passer-by’s cigarette butt…who pays the fire brigade’s callout fee? The owner, ie the council??

    • Dumrse

      Why would you think its the owners responsibility. I bet you a penny to a pound of goat shit, its not his land.

  • le sphincter

    The rest of NZ, and outside the old Auckland City area the verges are the responsibility of the homeowner.
    Secondly the roadside verge belongs the the Hide quango Auckland Transport.

    Would you rather much needed traffic and transport spending be cut to pay for a bit of cutting grass

    • Dumrse

      I mow mine, so lets get over that. More to point where is you link (proof) that it is MY RESPONSIBILTY.

      • Bunswalla

        You won’t get proof, because he’s a fuckwit. Here’s a link to a Press Release Cameron brewer out out in February, criticising the annual costs of running Loopy Len’s office. He also mentions that mowing of grass verges in the old Auckland City areas will cease from 1 July


        So it was announced, at least by those holding Len to account for other things, but nowhere does it say that just because the Council doesn’t cut it, you have to.

        • Travis Poulson

          Yea this was old news announced ages ago, not sure why people are surprised by it. I mean really, how long does it take to do a couple of runs down the strip when you’re mowing your own lawns. Having said that, the council not wanting to mow their own verge they can’t force home occupiers to mow it either. Just to be a cunt I’d not mow it either to see how it took for them to do something about it. Realistically everyone could do the same thing just to make a point if they wanted to. personally I couldn’t give a rats arse either way.

          • rockape

            I would use weedkiller to spell out LBIAFC.

          • Travis Poulson

            On the side of Mnt Hobson where it can be seen from the Southern Motorway. A 50 metre penis appeared there about 3 years ago, was months before it wasn’t visible.

  • Arnie

    Here in Nelson when some residents in one street decided to rip out the grass that the Council would not cut and install a low maintenance stone and suitable low shrubs, the NCC wanted it removed or they would and charge the residents. It took quite a while for the NCC to see sense after a lot of cost to ratepayers by the idiot staff.

    • redeye

      That the NCC finally saw some sense is a news item alone.

  • Louis

    Seems like a piffling issue. Everyone mows their own grass frontage in Invercargill and have done forever. Grass verges are regarded as enhancing your property. Unmowed grass sticks out like the proverbial dogs gonads.

    • LabTested

      Who mows their own grass? Don’t who have Asian immigrants in Invercargill to do that sort of stuff?

      • Travis Poulson

        The only immigrants in Southland are Dutch, and they’re all too busy running the farms they own.

  • Dumrse

    Cut the grass and leave the clippings in the gutter. They will wash down and block the drains and the council will see the error of their ways. Go JAFFA go.

  • cows4me

    Put the heifers on it, the council loves that, not :-)

  • GazzW

    So whose responsibility are the berms outside Housing NZ properties?

  • philbest

    Councils, with their costs and their revenue, behave exactly like US government department bureaucrats do when there is a budget “sequester”. They will axe the essential services and keep the pork fat that is the main problem.

    Councils in NZ need a major dose of reform so that there is genuine inter-jurisdictional competition, and developers need to be able to float a new municipality like they can in the USA. Detroit municipality has now declared bankruptcy, but there are several adjoining municipalities that are part of the same continuous built-up region, that are still doing OK. This is how it SHOULD work.

    Interjurisdictional competition is really ineffective without the freedom of entry to the “municipalities” market – the existing ones all form a cosy oligopoly – and amalgamation is an absolute disaster for the locals in the few slightly more efficient and co-operative municipalities in a region. Ask any developer how the Dorkland Super Council compares to doing business with the now superseded Papakura Council.

  • kehua

    I wish to Christ that the arseholes would stop mowing the roadsides where I live, over the last 6 years they have introduced, star weed, onion weed, camomile daisy and wild carrot to such an extent that it will be impossible to get rid of it. A phone call to AuckCC finally tracked the bloody Weed Control guy down, he was grubbing tussolk out at South Head. End result of the `Green ` friendly mowing will be 100`s of land owners spraying 1000`s of litres of God knows what around their berms and paddocks. Virtually every rural road in the Auckland area is now heavily infested with these weeds .

  • a+random+reader

    You guys normally complain endlessly about council expenditure.

    So it’s hilarious to watch you complain when the council actually goes ahead and reduces expenditure.

    Stop depending on the Local Government to wipe your bums, you lazy arsed slackers. Go out and cut the grass yourself – it isn’t difficult.

    • Hazards001