John Roughan on mowing of berms

John Roughan misses the point somewhat on the mowing of berms.

It is a bit of a chore to mow the berm. I live down a right of way and have to push the machine up there for a wedge of grass between my drive and the next. Too often I forget. It had never occurred to me that the council should do it.

The council most definitely should not. This is fast becoming the defining issue in Auckland’s election and it is a good one. It might seem trivial beside long-term population plans, housing densities and commuter rail schemes but unlike them, an uncut verge is visible, pressing and very close to home.

The problem John is that the council has socked those people 30% rates increased and reduced the services they are paying for. Their berms were mowed by the rapacious council, now they are getting less, despite paying more…of course that is going to cause anger.  

It is small beer I know but the politicians fob everyone off ont he big issues, so we may as well make them squirm on a small one.

The great berm debate has put council members on the spot. Do they have the courage of their decision last year? Or in the heat of the election, will they cut and run, so to speak?

An issue such as this is like gold when we get around to voting and need something better than bland candidate statements to help sort the sheep from the goats.

Now he is onto it…we have already seen Richard Northey and Cathy Casey squirm uncomfortably.

On one level it sets the old city where the previous council mowed the lawns, against the post-war suburbs of North Shore, Waitakere and Manukau where we have never presumed it should.

But I doubt any of us gave it a thought until the “Super City” decided it was a needless expense.

That was the sort of decision that is sorely needed when local government expands. Old Auckland was not the only place to bring an excessive service into the amalgamated city. Manukau had free swimming pools. Now this whole sea-blessed region provides free indoor swimming for children under 16 and Len Brown would extend it to everybody.

So far he is standing firm on the berms but the election has another week to run. Watch what happens.

I think Len has bigger problems to worry about.


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  • Whafe

    Lyin Len has far far bigger issues, the Lyin trougher is going to face loosing…

    So Auckland ensure you vote this maniac out. No votey, no complaining

  • GazzW

    ‘Lyin Len has far bigger issues’………………………

    His name’s John Palino.

    • Whafe

      Yep, for sure…. Has we have said, far prefer to support someone whom has made it in the commercial world than a someone whom has on the goals of life to be a TROUGHER…

    • Lion_ess

      John Palino? I’ve been made aware of him here, on Whaleoil, and I read a Herald interview with him once (because I was aware of him from Whaleoil). Didn’t think it was a very impressive interview either quite frankly, where he focussed on cutting Council staff numbers. While that may be a desirable objective – I don’t believe it’s much of an election platform given that Auckland Council is the largest employer of people in Auckland (if not New Zealand). Those staff are also voters.

      • Whafe

        I have been far more impressed with his pragmatic views on Auckland.
        He may not have all the answers, but a good many people see that his view of spending are on the button, the current strategy is not viable, nor is it responsible.
        I don’t at all get the impression that as you state, his election platform is “cutting council staff numbers”
        Costs need to be reduced, that is a given.

      • GazzW

        Salaries are the biggest single item in council expenditure. Auckland City is BORROWING at the rate of $1.2 million a day and you don’t believe that staff numbers need a review?

        • Lion_ess

          I didn’t say staff numbers are not an issue – they are hideous. I said it’s not a smart election platform given that employees of Auckland’s largest employer, are also voters.

          • Whafe

            Take your point, however those staff would be someone idiotic to not see that the current expenditure on staff is not sustainable.
            And if they truly think it is sustainable, they deserve to go

      • sheppy

        That’s because the biased MSM haven’t given him much coverage, sure he’s managed to get the occasional mention on Yahoo and Stuff but the rest have given Len a free pass.
        If you take a look at his Facebook page you’ll see John’s worked his Ass off to get the message out there despite the MSM. He’s been having several meetings a day, and going out and connecting with people as well as listening to their thoughts rather than telling them what they should think. This is despite I’d guess a way smaller budget than Brown and no spin weasels to tell people how well the council is doing.
        Assessing the staff numbers which are excessive by any measure,is just a small part of his plan to move Auckland forward.

      • BR

        Isn’t that the problem? Troughers in the council who produce nothing but are highly paid, and are great enough in number to have become a political force to be reckoned with? What the council needs is a shutdown similar to what is happening in the US. Put the bastards on a 4 day week, no, make that a 3 day week until Auckland’s debt is paid. Most of the council shuts down two days out of seven, and nobody notices. Most people wouldn’t notice if they “worked” three or four days instead of five, and there would be many who would welcome the absence of some of the sticky beaks, petty enforcers and other unwelcome pests.
        None of these people would ever vote themselves out of their cushy jobs, therefore it is up to the ratepayers to do it for them.


        • Lion_ess

          Exactly Bill, however their numbers are huge – i.e. 1 council worker for every 162 Aucklanders. it would be interesting to know how those figures adjust if they were measured against the number of eligible Voters.

  • chwaga

    Gave my vote to John Palino….heard him speak once…what an impressive fellow with what he has achieved in life. I like his thoughts on decentralisation and encouraging business to relocate to satellite centres.

  • BR

    The berm mowers will get the sack. After the election, a bylaw will be passed to make berm mowing compulsory. The berm mowers will be replaced by the berm police who will be greater in number and better paid than the berm mowers. Their job description will include goose stepping up the road and onto your property with a ruler in one hand and a ticket book in the other, and issuing fines and infringement notices to anyone who lives by a berm that is not less than the regulation height (to be determined by council decree after the election).

    Watch this space.


    • Patrick

      You’re onto it, just look at the power given to council officials in the UK if you want to see the (near) future in Auckland. Unelected & not answerable to the ratepayers these bureaucrats rule with an iron fist fining the citizens for the most trivial matters. Now I see the rubbish collectors can go through your rubbish & make sure you don’t have more than 5% recyclables – if you do you will be fined. The thin end of the wedge in terms of the power these “officials” are being given.

    • Lion_ess

      Like the Pool Inspector nazis who can come onto your property, inspect your pool and send you an invoice for $250.00.

  • IntrinsicValue

    Roughan like many others, misses the point on so many levels. 1. I always mow my own berms, but when other around me don’t, my immediate environment looks a mess. 2. When the council stopped mowing the berm, they withdrew a council service, but gave no rates reduction. 3. It is not only residential berms that aren’t geting cut, but those in ‘no man’s land’ areas, all council owned.
    Get the council back to it’s core services, and cut non-core expenditure, like funding swimming pools and sports centres.