The NZ Herald’s number one fanboi gums Auckland Council COO for $101M overspend


Bernard Orsman, as we imagine him, taking it to the Auckland Council

Bernard Orsman just can’t bring himself to bite the hand that feeds him

An Auckland Council IT project originally budgeted to cost $71 million should be delivered for the new cost of $172 million, says a senior council executive.

“I’m not going to go through another media expose on NewCore in 18 months’ time,” chief operating officer Dean Kimpton told the council’s audit and risk committee on Tuesday.

Last month, the Herald revealed the soaring cost of the NewCore IT project, which is key to delivering better services and promised savings to the Super City model.

Mr Kimpton said the NewCore system would simplify issues that upset Aucklanders, such as not being able to book learn-to-swim programmes online.

He outlined steps the council was taking to ensure the revised cost and deadlines were met.

Call me a cynic, but in 18 months we’ll be talking about it not being completed, and the need to “re-purpose” more money to close the gap.   Spending another $101M in 18 months isn’t that hard, but actually producing a working IT system is.  

These include a new governance, leadership and management structure and escalating matters to the executive leadership team at the first sign of trouble.

All contractors on the project, he said, would get paid only for delivering outcomes, adding the consequences for non-delivery on time were “very, very clear”.

Asked by councillor Cameron Brewer if the project would be delivered on time and on budget, Mr Kimpton said the important thing was to deliver on the new budget.

Message:  there will be no more money, come hell or high water (/TUI), but even Kimpton isn’t going to go out on a limb by promising it will be on time.

Of course, there is on time, and then there is funtional…

The IT project, which was supposed to be completed by June 2016, now has two key dates for implementation – June 2016 and June 2017.

This is where the compliant New Zealand Herald fails its readers, most of whom are Auckland City rate payers:

While the costs of NewCore have increased by $100 million, these costs will come out of the $454 million budget for IT in a new 10-year budget.

The whole budget blowout is being justified as coming out of the IT budget anyway, so where’s the harm?

The harm is that the rate payers are getting a whopping $101M less value for money.  That’s $101M that was earmarked for something else that will never be delivered.

The fact that Orsman or his editors aren’t demanding blood on the floor is indicative of a situation where the Fourth Estate is failing its readers.



– NZ Herald

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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. 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 who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

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

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.