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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  • Steve (North Shore)

    Public Servants should be shot at dawn.
    The first thing they do when challenged is go ‘pan faced’ and look at you like you have three heads. To challenge again will mean you shoot yourself in the foot. To challenge again means you have two sore feet, and the Public Servant clocks out at 3.45.
    Next day any communication will be handled by another Public Servant and the process repeats.

  • kehua

    In days of old this letter would be on the front page of Newspapers, instead we get the Big Day Out lineup ….. maybe that is what the payment is really for?

  • ratesarerevolting

    The only surprising thing is the honesty displayed by the official.

    As I have stated on many an occasion Len Brown and his spin weasels and the all the assorted bureaucrats at the council are a bunch of fucking cunts !

    Luckily many are now coming to the same conclusion.

    LBIAFC !

  • Adolf Fiinkensein

    So why did all you silly bastards vote for him?

    • nellie

      Unfortunately there are more silly bastards in AKL than there are non-silly bastards. Mind you a large amount of non-silly bastards turned themselves into silly bastards by not bothering to vote at all. And now the rest of us have to live with the mess..

    • Richard McGrath

      You don’t have to swallow back the rising vomit in your throat and vote for candidate A just to keep candidate B out, e.g. for Len Brown to keep out, say, John Banks. This time you have a candidate whose prime motivation is to stop the out of control council spending and keep people’s rates bill down:

    • philbest

      One of the problems is that Dorklanders can’t see the connections between, say, “a compact city”, and the need to have apartment blocks in their street and the fact that their kids won’t be able to afford a decent traditional home.

      They also think “commuter rail, now that’s nice, if everybody else uses that the roads will be clearer for ME”.


      Some of the smartest people in the world are the bible-bashin’, gun-totin’ redneck hicks from southern USA. They understand: don’t want apartments, want my kids to have decent houses same as we did, ALLOW FREAKIN’ DEVELOPERS TO BUILD NEW SUBDIVISIONS BEYOND THE EXISTING URBAN FRINGE, DIMWITS!!!!

      And want to drive a car, don’t expect anybody else among my fellow citizens to think anything else, BUILD FREAKIN’ ROADS AND DON’T WASTE MONEY ON FREAKIN’ TRAIN SETS, DIMWITS!!!!

  • Euan Ross-Taylor

    While Len certainly has the ability to address this, it is nothing new. I went to the home show 10 years ago and bought an above ground ‘portable’ spa pool. Then thought I had better check council regs. I talked to someone who said I would have to submit plans with details of fencing, house plans showing relation to opening doors etc etc. I thought it a bit over the top until like the submitter above found out it would cost $1000 for the privilege. I decided to make sure I complied with all the regs, and face the consequences if ever challenged. No drama since.

  • Mr Sackunkrak

    Rent-seekers, of course I have never viewed Councils as anything but. The add not one jot of value but their palms must be greased. Any one who thinks they “own” their property is sadly misguided. You are a tenant, and it’s worse if your tenancy includes something of heritage or a “significant natural area”, or a fucking tree some Council jobs-worth has taken a fancy to.

  • cows4me

    You poor bugger, it’s just extortion. Thank God we live in a corruption free country, now pass me another Tui.

  • Hazards001

    I’m from the North Shore too. And I’m (was then) a contractor. At our first house we changed the basement garage into a rumpus room/flat with everything except an oven, levelled the back yard by building retaining walls and importing fill and installed a spa pool in the carport. Not a fucking consent to be seen as we never changed the footprint of the house.

    Someone once asked me what I would do if a prospective buyer wanted a LIMB report. I’d tell them to feel free to pay for it and if they didn’t like the changes I’d made I’d be happy to turn the rumpus room back into a garage but the price would stay the same!
    Fuck the councils!
    As to the super city I have dealings with them every day. They are out of control. The staff at Auckland Transport actually have the front to declare that they are NOT council employees!

  • SlapstickMan

    Any new incoming Mayor or CEO (the current leaves later this year) should hand out baseball bats to staff and then explain they are downsizing Council by half and finally (whilst quoting fairness and democracy) ask that they – as the employees – decide who gets to stay or go.
    Firstly the TV rights for that would sell for enough to cover any costs incurred on buying said baseball bats.
    Secondly the result will be evident.

  • Chiefsfan73

    John, not just new brains, some brains to begin with methinks.

  • James

    Don’t get a consent; it is your property and they can go fuck themselves. Ask your neighbours if they are OK with it so that you have back up and then go ahead and do it. If the council complain then immediately write back and declare independence from the Socialist State of Auckland.

    • drummerboy

      I have always wondered how many houses holds would you need to come together for them to declare them selves independent from the super city. How many would you need in order for the government to recognize the house holds as their own independent area with their own council?

    • AngryTory

      And then Len’ll send in the SWAT team with instructions to “Halatau Naitoko” you…

  • drummerboy

    People in Auckland that actually pay rates and don’t live in council flats or state houses need to go on a rates strike and force the councils hand on a lot of these issues. Take away the socialists money and he can’t be a socialist. And if enough people stop paying rates no bank in their right mind would lend him money.

  • layoutman


  • David W

    Just wait till you get the pool built and join the pool fencing inspection regime.

    • maninblack

      my mate gets his pool inspected and the council worker pulled him up on some repairs that he was doing to his house! now he is fighting that! they want him to get a resource consent for repairing his deck!! FFS

  • blairmulholland

    Just build it. Better to ask forgiveness than permission. Besides, who checks this stuff?

    • maninblack

      they fine you and make you rip it out if a neighbour narks on you.

      • blairmulholland

        Ah yes, that great NZ tendency to stick our noses in our neighbour’s business. I’d almost forgotten that existed.

      • James

        And you tell them to go fuck themselves. Until enough people take a stand and stop paying up like sheep we won’t get rid of the bureaucratic shit that is stopping us from living like free people.

  • Brian of Mt Wellington

    I did a big reno on my place a couple of years ago and added a 2nd floor. I too had to have RC but what pissed me off was they demanded in writing what I was going to use the room marked ” Office ” for on the plans. As I found this self explanatory I wrote back saying that I was going to install chains to the roof and leather straps to the walls and other sexual paraphernalia and use the room as a ” Love ” room for my wife and I. They accepted it.