Len Brown makes lame promise to repair image

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Auckland mayor Len Brown says the council will not put any ratepayer cash into building or running an international convention centre.

He told the Weekend Herald yesterday that there would be no money for the SkyCity convention centre in a new 10-year budget.

The council and Mr Brown were blindsided by suggestions from the Government and SkyCity before Christmas that ratepayers’ money be used to fund the shortfall in costs for the controversial project.

SkyCity said the original $402 million cost had been “revised” to $470 million and to $530 million.

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce floated the idea of ratepayers helping cover operating costs, but has since talked down the idea and suggested the council look at its regulatory fees for the consent and construction process.

Mr Brown said he had never been formally approached by the Government on the issue.

One, Auckland Council have been told that if they spend any more money they’ll have their credit rating downgraded.  Bottom line:  there is no money for the train set, so Brown would never have given any to Sky City.  (Of course, there is enough for the arts, but not the rescue helicopter).

Two, Steve Joyce has been a total idiot dealing with this.  Instead of telling SkyCity to take a running leap, he’s been keeping the issue alive for well over a month now.  Worse, he’s still making sounds that indicate he’s hoping to find SkyCity some taxpayer money to build their privately owned and operated for-profit assets.

Yesterday, Mr Brown urged Aucklanders to accept a controversial plan for a motorway toll or a regional fuel tax to invest in public transport instead of the “basic transport plan” in the budget that contains $3.8 billion of spending cuts to transport over 10 years.

Len’s still too busy trying to fleece all of us to pay for his train set, including trying to get central government to allow him to raise tolls on public roads the council doesn’t even own.

One way or another, between Len Brown and Steve Joyce, they’re coming for your money.  One wants a train set for less than 10% of the Auckland population, the other wants to give a private company your tax dollars to build their own privately run hotel.

And no politicians are screaming “NO!”


– Bernard Orsman, NZ Herald


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  • The Accountant

    I like Steven Joyce who is clearly an intelligent person. Sadly he has misjudged public opinion on this. I’d be happy for the tax payer to help out, but it would be a secured loan earning double digit interest. Otherwise, tell Sky City they’re on their own.

    • JC

      I suspect this is what Joyce will come up with.. it fits with the Govt loan to his old media company which did indeed pay back the loan.

      It would be a solution but it has a good deal of political downside.


      • I don’t think SkyCity are cash-poor or couldn’t raise a loan from the bank. Don’t see why the government should go into the lending business. There is company teetering on the brink here that needs rescue.

    • andrew carrot

      Not that intelligent. He gave Aucklamd their own unelected ratepayer-funded independent maori advisory committee as part of the amalgamation

  • Blue Tim

    Len is certainly deaf. Every utterance from Governemt has ruled out a regional fuel tax.

    • Betty Swallocks

      They do say that if you overindulge in certain practices it can have that effect.

  • sandalwood789

    Oh, wow…… “hold the front page”……

    How about Len puts back the *rubbish-bins* that he took away – all around the city.
    What about cutting the size of his massive council?

  • Alloytoo

    Skycity needs to be asked whether they consider the additional cost worth the extension to their gambling licence?

  • Nz front

    Len needs to be audited by the fraud office.

  • Sailor Sam

    if Len Brown succeeds in tolling the motorway through Auckland, he will cut the island in two pieces. If Steve Joyce allows him to do so, he should suffer a similar fate.

  • Dairy_Flat

    I’m starting to really dislike Joyce, and predict that if he is offered up as JK’s replacement then the odious left will likely achieve government status (deity of your choice help us ).

    • Effluent

      If this comes to pass, I’ll believe it’s Lucifer’s turn as chief sky fairy.

  • ShortBackwardSquare

    I’m concerned with Nigel Morrison’s view that ‘We don’t have to do this’ (Weekend NBR, 24/01/2015) . This statement strongly implies a lack of commitment by SkyCity. If I was a shareholder (I have sold all holdings due to unease over board statements regarding the convention centre) I would be asking some serious questions of the board and management.

    There is also a strong implication that the board and management of Sky knew all along that this would cost a lot more than estimated (a very common approach by business sensing a weakness in any government) and have targeted taxpayers to pay a far higher percentage of the cost than previously agreed.

    The government needs to withdraw the legislation granting the extra ‘pokie’ machines, and tell Sky that if they don’t like the situation, there are plenty of other infrastructure projects they can concentrate on with businesses across the country.

    Will they do this? Unlikely. I would be interested to know how deep cabinet ministers are in this developing debacle. Mr Joyce is now well along the path of destroying his own political capital and credibility.

  • Hughesy

    It was my understanding that skycity were given concessions in return for building and operating a convention centre.

    So what’s changed? Maybe time to look at removing $130M worth of concessions?

  • Taser

    Brown chose his words carefully. He said No Way to Ratepayer Cash but there was no mention of the council not helping out with Sky Citys consent and red tape costs either which is where Id bet they get help on the quiet. That was a suggestion put forward when they announced their budget blow out.

  • PeterPumkinEater

    Len knows a stink bomb when he sees it. The Sky City deal is such a stink bomb. leave it where it belongs with the Nats.

  • NZ 2014

    Brown can talk, when he wants to saddle the city with his multi billion dollar pet rail project. What a hypocrite.