An email from a reader

I've created the world's most liveable city

I’ve created the world’s most liveable city

I love correspondence. Generally I will post it even if it doesn’t match my own beliefs. I do this for several reasons…one to explore contrarian views or dissenting views, the other because I believe that possibly, rarely, I may not be absolutely correct on something.

Nonetheless I enjoy the correspondence. Here is one well thought out email for you to enjoy.

Hi Cam,

In my time reading and making the occasional comment on your blog, I have always felt there was some cathartic benefit from readers/contributors to WOBH getting stuff off their collective chests, and guessed this was the same for others.  I am going to put this to the test by writing about my experience with Auckland City Council…

I have always sniggered at the LBIAFC comments, and “up voted” these many time.  I don’t subscribe to his form of socialism and I find his personality just plain weird & creepy.  I was slightly sceptical regarding the super city and the efficiency it would deliver to the ratepayer…….Well, fuck me, I am experiencing what I can only describe as a rort of the first order by the planners and council staff.  

The wife and I want to install a pool at home (North Shore).  Didn’t think this would be much of an issue or create much fuss.  Bought the pool and associated bits, engaged a landscaper etc to do the work….After much form filling and fees for a building permit I received a delightful letter 2 months after the submission date from a faceless town planner.  The letter started positively, commenting on the designs and plans submitted.  The bombshell came at the end – you will need to apply for a resource consent in order to get a building permit for the pool.  I was promptly contacted by another planner telling me that “no consent, no pool so cough up $3K”.  I am not one to take it this on the chin, especially as our project manager was a bit miffed as to the need for a resource consent.  I made contact with the council to ask a few questions about why I needed one, and what extra information would they need, how does the process change regarding getting the building permit, and how does this consent make is safer for my neighbours or for us in that we are digging a hole…..not unreasonable questions I thought. I must have got the guy on  a bad day, as he told me:

1)     Consent doesn’t require further info, just the extra forms which ask the same questions as previous forms submitted

2)     No new or extra engineering data required – the report submitted as part of the building permit is more than enough

3)     One extra visit by another planner will be required (fork out another $500 please) before consent is given

4)     He said that if I was lucky I would get a contracted planner rather than a council employed planner, as council planners are deliberately slow and unhelpful

5)     There will be no need to change the plan/design as they are already submitted and are fine

6)     Your neighbours don’t get any further benefit or protection from the resource consent

7)     The rules are different in every part of Auckland, and it will be years before they are all aligned, so bad luck you live where you live, and

8)     North Shore district plan is particularly anal

9)     The consent gives you permission to use the permit to actually build/dig on your property

10)  The consent does not make the proposed dig any safer for anyone

11)  The regulation regarding hole depth and proximity in question here cannot be backed up by any science or fact based reasons for its existence

And this is the one I found unbelievable:

12)  This is just a revenue gathering exercise on behalf of council

At this point I wasn’t sure if I should to laugh or cry…he was honest and told me what I suspected anyway.  So, as a ratepayer, I am forking out more money for a consent which makes not one bit of difference to anyone about the safety of the dig.  The regulation (smoke screen) to justify the need for the consent can’t be backed up by any engineering data or facts to support the requirement of the consent.  Am I overreacting or is this banana republic stuff ?  Am I going to get an email from the planner on behalf of his Nigerian cousin promising riches if I help him move his fortune out of Nigeria ?

So my message to Len and council, before you start fucking around with trains and bridges (and creating new debt for my grandkids), get your house in order or we will elect a Mayor who will !  A broom needs to be pushed through the bureaucracy of council and new brains need to be employed.

Yours sincerely,

John Doe.


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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.  And 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 that takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

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

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