How to save Auckland Council a million dollars

Nigel Ward the editor of the The Post from Waiuku has written to me:

Hi Cam, just thought you might like to know that there is still some independent journos in the world. Love your site and read it religiously almost every day.

Dunno if you have trawled your way through the Auckland Council plan 2013/14 (all three volumes!) but I did. One thing that stuck in my mind was their charges for pool inspections,

Council have allocated $2 million for this. Inspecting 9338 pools annually. I did the figures, ran a story in our paper this week, and tonight offered to contract the job to Council for $1,000,000. This will save the ratepayers a million a year and allow me to retire and write my second book. I’ve written the letter to Mayor Len, and will advise you, and my readers, of the result. 

If you want to see the initial story its’ on by tomorrow morning.

I’ll let you know what Len says when (if) I get a response, but as I’ve run companies and a regional sports organisation in a previous life, I reckon I’m in the ballpark for costings. Run my figures past your guys and see if I’m wrong.

Bit of fun, anyway.



Here is his article. Does it stack up?



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  • DavidW

    The other mill goes on surveillance – planes, helicopters, aerial photography, satellite imaging etc. Perhaps this could be subbed out to the GCSB Commercial Services arm. Pools could be easily located by using the keywords – “pool”, and “swim” in their phone tapping programme. Should be relatively cheap.

  • Muffin

    Well done Nigel, theres 1 mill, imagine the 100’s of millions that are going the same way from every department in the council. About time the council got a good clean out out existing staff and only hire back 1/2 of them, and none of those above reception level dutys, all management needs replacing before we can expect any change

  • Patrick

    Revenue raising wrapped up as a service charge – what a surprise, who would have thought. I guess pool owners fall under Cullen’s “rich pricks” definition & therefore have to pay more taxes. After all commie Len Brown will want a “fairer society” where those that have more pay more.
    As I said yesterday – thanks Rodney Hide, “great job” architecting the Super City.

    • andrew carrot

      Your short-term memory is letting you down Pat. Soviet Len was using the pool inspection fee as income when he was mayor of Manukau.

      • Patrick

        Thanks but the point I am trying to make is the Super City should have been better legislated so this wealth redistribution was not possible. That is the role of central government & local government should stick to their knitting. Providing essential services like sewage, rubbish collections etc.

        • andrew carrot

          Petition the PM and Joyce. They removed the ‘essential services’ policy on the grounds they couldn’t dictate what those were. Seems that errant philosophy is being slowly addressed, if recent comments from PM and Min of Local Govt are anything to go by.

  • blokeintakapuna

    Or… the Council save the entire $2Million by not doing any inspections at all – and leave it up to the property owner to comply with the Regulations.
    A death in a non-complying pool = severe penalties for the owner. Comply or face the consequences.
    NZ needs less Government and less red tape bull shit. Let the property owner enforce themselves… after all, if they the nous to be able to buy a property – they will have the nous to be able to comply with pool regulations.

    • andrew carrot

      A very large percentage of pool construction costs is incurred complying with Council’s mad dictates. If you don’t have a pool ring-fenced with razor wire you’ll get pinged. If a kid with life-saving training and advanced swimming skills can open a locked gate you get pinged. I know of a justice of the CoA who spent 3 years fighting AC to get permission to build a small lap pool, something he needed as part of an extensive exercise programme he’s had to endure since suffering a childhood illness. At one point a Pool Inspector said the design was inadequate because a child in a neighbouring property could access the pool by using a 12ft ladder. Many thousands later and permission granted, subject to annual inspection (presumably to ensure the in-ground pool hasn’t been moved outside the permitted area.)

  • 4077th

    If and when I get a spa pool I most certainly will not be “asking” the council if it is ok. I don’t have small children and rarely have them at my house so if someone else’s kid decides they want a swim in my pool when I am not there and they drown then all of the responsibility is on the parents for neglect and negligence.

    I won’t be as polite as Bloke…the council can fuck off and mind their own business. The pool is my responsibility..those who choose to use it without my permission are the ones in the gun!

    • andrew carrot

      Wrong! As the owner of the pool you will be held liable. Anyway, don’t you know that parents are no longer responsible for their children? In any case, if you’re a pool owner you have, by definition, excess disposable income, so the HoS will throw you into the lion den of public opinion. Campbell will initiate a 15min televisual extravaganza centred around the sobbing mother saying it was the first time in 18 years that she had lost sight of her drowned son, even though he had a peanut allergy that meant he drank and ran away from home daily, which was all the fault of the state for all the reasons mentioned illogically above. You’d be portrayed as the uncaring, spiteful neighbour, who hadn’t spoken to her since her 12 yr old daughter had her mates around for a drunken binge last year. You wouldn’t win that fight.

    • Andy C

      You could say the same thing about leaving your guns in an unlocked shed outside too. I get your point, just trying to give more context to your logical conclusion.

      • Muffin

        Owning a pool and leaving firearms lying about is a bit of a stretch.

        • Andy C

          As noted, just making it obvious what 4077th is saying about where his responsibility starts and ends.

          • 4077th

            Again, point taken. My responsibilities are to myself and my family. Anyone else has obviously mistaken me for someone who gives a fuck.

      • 4077th

        Sure..a bit of a long bow but at the end of the day Darwin will take care of those who mess with other peoples stuff. You can’t prepare for every idiot that crosses your path.

    • johcar

      I heartily agree with 4077th. I bought my house 12 years ago when I had young children – the pool was already in place (with no fencing – apart from 1.5 – 1.8 m high boundary fences). So with all the young kids that visited my property over the last 12 years, guess how many drowned? Correct – none!

      More kids get run over in driveways (or bashed to death by their ‘loving’ parents).

  • sheppy

    Saving money will never happen on Lennys watch!

  • richard.b

    Just a little question for Nigel.
    How does his 10 inspectors get from site to site to inspect the pools?
    Does he pay them milage or provide them with vehicles out of his $400k?

    • metalnwood

      true, before I read this I did the sums based on 6 people, 5 pools a day 8 weeks off a year and 20km between sites. Thats 50k for petrol per year. 6 leased cars, cheapo ones. I guess you are looking at 90k per year for transport.

    • Muffin

      Still doesn’t add up to 2mill.

  • Magor

    Here’s a novel thought – when you apply to build a pool, let’s not forget the draconian hoops that have to be in place before you even begin to build – these will have covered off all aspects of safety and compliance – so the question – why do they need to inspect something that has already been signed off as correct?

    • SJ00

      I think its well known most pool owners, once jumping through those hoops, later move their pool to a different place..

  • Plue

    The actual cost of this service is $3M isn’t it ? Because at $125 per inspection to the pool owner (a pool tax effectively) you collect roughly $1M plus the $2M the council is spending. So over all savings could be as high as $2M. In fact a contractor may be willing to do the task for just the fees paid by the owners.

  • cows4me

    Why don’t you guys give Len all your incomes and let him pay you. Why do you stand for this shit?

  • Tom

    2 mil. Shit, what do they do, have a pool party at each friggin pool ?