Central Government Asset Sales: Bad. Local Government Asset Sales: Good

Last night, Mr Brown and a strong contender to replace him next year, Labour MP Phil Goff, dismissed the main recommendations by Cameron Partners and EY (formerly Ernst Young) to privatise strategic assets such as the council’s shareholdings in Auckland Airport and Ports of Auckland, valued at $1.4 billion and $1.079 billion respectively.

The two firms have also suggested the council sell part of Watercare Services, valued at $8.5 billion, valuable golf courses like Remuera, Chamberlain Park and Takapuna, and even parks and reserves.

EY suggested 49 per cent of Watercare could be privatised in 2017, with the proceeds used to pay down council debt.

The review also criticised council spending, saying expensive office accommodation, such as No 1 Queen St – the base of Auckland’s highest-paid bureaucrat, Auckland Transport boss David Warburton, who earns between $660,000 and $680,000 – should be replaced with cheaper premises.

Mr Brown said there were some interesting ideas, like a review of car fleets and sharing back-office functions, but a number that simply would not float.

“I don’t support the idea of selling golf courses in places like Remuera or Takapuna for housing development, any more than I support selling libraries or parkland.

“In terms of … Watercare, we know that to make it commercially attractive we would need to double the price of water,” he said.

Mr Goff said spending $490,000 on two reports on the one issue to come up with recommendations that Aucklanders would overwhelmingly reject was a waste of money.

“Why contemplate selling parks when the population is forecast to grow by one million? We need more, not less, green space,” said Mr Goff.

As we’ve seen in Christchurch, Dalziel was quite happy to sell the city’s assets once she was in the mayoral chair.  Take note:  Goff is going to say he won’t do it as he’s being elected, and then turn around and look for money to do… anything at all really.   Len and his mates have left the Council with no place to turn.

Goff can not avoid asset sales if he’s also going to address 10% rates hikes by dropping then to less than 3%.

One of the questions Goff needs to be asked all through his candidacy is?

Show us the money.


– Bernard Orsman, 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.  And 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 that takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

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