Len can’t control rates, has broken his promises, time for him to go

When spending gets out of control its symptomatic of bigger deeper problems and there are surely serious problems with Auckland Council that need to be addressed.

The Council is like a crack addict and is unable to see where it is going wrong. Spending is completely out of control and massive rates increases loom. 5.5% this year will almost certainly blow out to 7 or 8% because the Council has a habit of instigating projects that don’t keep to budgets. Like the ballooning computer IT spend up that’s now $100m over budget.

Household rates could rise by 7.6 per cent this year if the city adopts a motorway toll of $2 or a regional fuel tax to tackle the city’s transport challenges.

The Auckland Council today releases a draft 10-year budget for public consultation, which includes some difficult choices on the costs and services of the Super City.

Among the options are paying less for transport and getting less, or a scheme involving a motorway toll or a fuel tax to raise $300 million a year to fill a $12 billion transport funding gap over 30 years.

The council is considering a targeted rate this year until revenue from tolls, a fuel tax or higher rates is in place by about 2018.

In the meantime, about $1.7 billion of $3.4 billion of additional transport projects over the next 10 years will be funded by debt.

Council finance officer Matthew Walker said the targeted rate would collect $30 million this year, the equivalent of a 2 per cent rise in rates, to fund the revenue shortfall.

This would raise the overall rates increase from 3.5 per cent to 5.5 per cent.

Household rates would increase on average from 5.6 per cent to 7.6 per cent.

New valuations and a lowering of business rates has led to higher rates for households.

The latest figures show inflation is just 0.8 per cent.

An extra 2 per cent rates increase would take the rates on a $750,000 home from $2274 to $2319 and for a $1 million home from $2904 to $2962.

Mr Walker said the $30 million targeted rate could become $60 million in year two and $90 million in year three and so on.

This scenario would see household rates rise by 22 per cent over three years.

Len Brown promised that rates increased would be no more than the rate of inflation. that is well and truly broken now, he must go. If only we had a recall option, but for the cowardice of John Key we could. All Len Brown is doing now is making the play that he is the big hero who reigned in the proposed rates to a more reasonable…say…4%. His is that dishonest.

Auckland Council thinks they are going to toll the motorways…they are wrong…the government owns the motorways not the council, and they won’t allow tolling on the motorways. It would be a crazy political aprty that would support that.

I’ve said before that the bloated pig┬áthat is the Auckland Council is vastly over-staffed with fat cats and if they were really concerned with the rates bill and managing costs they would blow torch the numbers back to a realistic value and stop trying to give themselves big pay rises.

But the other elephant in the room is debt. Since the super city amalgamation Auckland City has racked up massive debt – in the billions – yet has pretty much nothing to show for it. They have spent beyond their means each year and shore it up with more borrowing. That’s gotta be a clear sign that the spending is out of control. Now they are forecasting it to blow out to over $12 billion!!!!

I’ve not seen or heard anyone say how that debt is going to be tackled and brought down. At some point it must be repaid – it can’t simply be left hanging with interest payments of over $1 million a day or more.

This is a Council that is heading to a point in the future where the Government of the day will have bail them out, unless radical changes are made now.

Len Brown’smany promises ahve fallen by the wayside, he is done as a politician, he needs to go now.


– NZ Herald


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  • SVlover

    Yes he does need to go now. How are we going to achieve that?

    • Nebman

      The problem isn’t just getting rid of him, it’s getting enough like minded Councillors elected to make real change. The best person could easily replace Len only to be hamstrung by Councillors opposed to the Mayor and that sort of derails the whole process.

      • MrHippo

        I’m not sure ‘like minded Councillors’ will make the difference. The bureaucrats have embedded themselves at every level and so deeply, that I believe that the elected officials would make no difference. The whole thing needs a clean-out.

        • Raibert

          How do you “clean out”? I don’t think any existing NZ politician is likely to take this on. We require a total rethink of Local Government, for something that grew out of road and drainage boards it has become an all consuming monster. Need to get back to core functions, reduce the responsibilities of these muppets and their payments. Major works should be central government and social spending ( parades, parties, etc) self funding.

          • KQ

            Only a legislative change can do it and that will not happen under Labour or a National government because they created the problems we are seeing now.

          • oozzey

            Len he is holding on , he knows what we think.Whats the bet he does not stand next election Due to health problems( I must gracefully resign as your worship ) .Much more honour than coming in second a LENNY , I suppose you have a job in line at the U N with aunty Helen, you really do suit each other Go now UN has a bigger purse SNIFF SNIFF

  • Chief Wiggum

    This makes me actually want to vote in the local body elections. Spending needs to be back to grass roots stuff. I see they have spent 10 million on a fake beach in Onehunga. As if we are short of quality beaches in Auckland for goodness sake!

    • CheesyEarWax

      My understanding is this was not new spending and has been earmarked ever since the SH20 motorway was put in. As part of the agreement with NZTA to provide access to the foreshore which SH20 has cut off.
      Disclaimer: I live in Onehunga.

      • Chief Wiggum

        10 Million from Auckland Council to contribute. The rest from NZTA. It is a 20 million dollar project. Ridiculous.

        • CheesyEarWax

          I am a little bit torn on this. The Onehunga foreshore (and surrounding Mangere Bridge) has been neglected, and arguably it may not have been as neglected if SH20 wasn’t built. Whilst I wasn’t a resident when the foreshore was accessible but reading up on it the foreshore was a very significant part of the area. As for the man made beach, I can tell you no one will be on the beach when there is a southerly, or south-westerly, blowing through.

          • PsychoKea

            It is actually one project that is worthwhile, also it is taking the tailings from the NW tunnel project, stop funding all the festivals and arty projects would make a lot of sense however

          • KQ

            I believe it should have been put to a referendum so ratepayers could decide on funding it. They may well have agreed there is merit but without the opportunity to vote on it and debate its merit no one will know.

  • kayaker

    I’ve heard that man a couple of times this week being interviewed on National Radio. He’s rude and obnoxious, constantly talks over, and down to, the interviewer. He’s acting like he’s got nothing to lose (he’s right on that one) and will do whatever he likes.

  • CheesyEarWax

    Sigh, my rates has been increasing 9%, every year for the last 3 years, when Len’s promise was at 2-3%. Now with proposed 7.6% average increase, I can expect my increase to be 20% YOY.

    • David Moore

      Mine’s gone up 10% every year since the super city, always with a little note that they are doing me a favour by capping in at 10%, they really wanted it to be much higher.

  • Rich

    This is madness. It’s time for councils to stop treating rate payers like ATM machines and take responsibility for their over spending.

    • mommadog

      Yes and its not just Auckland Council that thinks ratepayers are ATM machines – although they might be the worst. The whole council system is out of control. Even ATM machines run out of money eventually.

  • George

    Len states that Auckland is nearly where we want it. He is so right. Only months to go and we can throw him and his cronies out. Then we will have Auckland where we want it

    • Raibert

      Don’t think so George. We may get rid of Len and his cronies but that won’t stop the selling of Auckland to immigrants. The government must step in and ensure that those on average incomes can afford housing rather than just propping up the speculators.

      • kayaker

        I wish the government would step in now, get rid of him, and instal an Administrator. That man is destroying this city.

        Edit: added words

        • KQ

          They support his plans. They put the super city in place. When was the last time you heard an mp complain about Len Brown in the media?

          • kayaker

            Apathy Rules OK.

  • fred flintstone

    I have always said that a city like Auckland is no different to a large cooperation.
    Now you do not see many sucessfull large cooperations run by the village idiot do you

    What Auckland needs is a true professional to run it
    A couple of names spring to mind,Ralph Norris or Rob Fife.
    I reckon one of these guys would have it sorted by next Wednesday.

    • Andy

      Rob Fife/
      You’re b… kidding me, right?

      • fred flintstone

        Sounds like I am a bit wrong there!!
        But you get my idea.
        In fact it could be any one with a brain which rules out Gareth Morgan!!
        Even I could run the show. I know all about making do with a limited income.

        • KQ

          The fact is anyone with a strong hands-on business background, financial management skills and vision could run Auckland city. A name will just mean more of the same.

          • andrew carrot

            I thought the current AC CEO was a “big name” businessman, brought on board for that very reason?

          • KQ

            He was only the CEO. He managed the operational function. He does not control the legislation, nor can he do anything outside of it. The Auckland Super City is fatally flawed and has been since it was legislated.

  • Chrismcm77

    Maybe it is time to have a rates strike to show enough is enough. I really hate throwing good money away, and that is what it feels like I am doing now. I also hear that AT want to re-install trams, how much is that going to cosr.

    it really is time for Len to go, the rate payers don’t want him, and his family don’t want him. He is not liked and not respected by anybody

  • dilligaf2013

    Time for Lyn Provost to get off her lazy arse and sort Auckland Council out

  • rua kenana

    Our National government’s selling of Auckland to the world market needs a lot of new expenditure on new infrastructure to even keep up, much less get ahead.

    So who pays for all of this. The National govt? Now that’s a really bad joke. The overseas buyers? Maybe. If they buy say 10 percent of the Auckland houses (new and/or existing) they pay around 10 percent of the cost of new infrastructure needed. Existing ratepayers pay for the other 90 percent.

    Len Brown’s council is seemingly expected to come up with the funding for this without increasing rates.

    I’ve little enough time for Len Brown, and want him gone as much as anyone, but I don’t think much of blatant unfairness either by blaming him for problems which are only partly due to him.

    Blame for the current Auckland housing ‘crisis’ should go where it belongs. Ignoring the equal or greater contribution to the problem by the central govt is unhelpful, unproductive and indeed downright bizarre.

  • Quinton Hogg

    don’t talk about this.
    if you live in Auckland or pay rates in auckland submit on the proposed budget and appear in person to support your submission.
    do not complain if you don’t.

    • Goathurder

      QH we have to talk about this! This is public discussion of a very important, 10 year draft release “for public consultation”
      Of course Cam will make a submission, goes without saying

  • George Carter

    I heard an interesting figure quoted on ZB yesterday stating that Auckland Council has over 1500 staff on over $100,000 and yet the top 4 performing companies on the NZ Exchange didn’t have that number between them on that money.

    I’m all for people getting paid what their worth but when it comes down to trusting a private company or a council to pay the correct salary I know who i’d believe!

    • kaykaybee

      I’ve heard that the under-performing and bloated Planning Dept (where are all those houses boys and girls?) has 750. Surely that can’t be right!

      • George Carter

        That’s a frightening concept if it’s true!

  • kaykaybee

    To those who said that this man’s moral indiscretions would not reflect on his ability to do the job of Super City mayor I say tosh. This sleazy man was publicly outed as dodgy with finances when he was Manukau Mayor. It’s not as if we weren’t forewarned about his ethics!

    So then, what about the moral compass /judgment of those on council who supported him after WO outed his seedy affair? Did they never think that a man alienated by community groups and businesspeople and in the middle of a messy, publicly scrutinised separation might not be impeded in his ability to be clearheaded, decision make and lead with respect?

    His supporters on the council are quite the equal of Len in my opinion. The rates gouging, the fiscal blowouts and the district plan mess are all on their shoulders. They pandered to the increasingly disrespected Brown’s vision and leadership and rubber-stamped our rate increases (except for Brown’s – which miraculously decreased). They have been derelict in formulating, conveying and executing sound policy and direction and have ultimately only delivered us some of the most expensive, highly rated real estate in the whole, wide world.

    It’s time to regain our city from these despots.

  • Nz front

    I feel sorry for Auckland I really do. Len is an incompetent baboon, who likes playing with trains like they are two stones that smash together. He’s nothing but cabbage.

  • Bart67

    A ‘revenue shortfall’ does NOT mean you are not getting enough money! It means you are spending too much.

  • Kevin

    I though it was time for him to go after the the RWC debacle.

  • kayaker

    Yesterday, Mr Kayaker was part of a group invited onboard the luxury yacht that was in port (Auckland). As the group boarded, they could hear a Maori welcome which they loved (sounded and looked fantastic) and the visitors were very touched by it. But, then, who’s up there front and centre, but Pants Down! Mr K said most of his group made the ‘I’m about to throw up’ gesture. Then PD asked them all to sing – of course he sang the loudest. So embarrassing. The irony was is that he was up there large as life with the very people whose sacred room he had tarnished. No shame!

    • Raibert

      Should have copied the police in New York and turned their backs on him. This would send a clear signal to him and the media could not ignore it.

  • Grumpy of Onehunga

    If the Auckland Council were a company there would be a shareholders meeting called at which the board would be instructed to get rid of the CEO pronto, a nd/or go themselves. They would then appoint a new executive with instructions to sort it out. No doubt the new board would bring in management consultants to restructure…….how do we make it happen?

  • Tom

    Put it on Auckland’s fuel bills. The rest of the country already more than enough for Auckland’s roads.