Diary of an Auckland Council city planner

Monday

Dear diary – today has been intense. I had to think really hard all day about affordable housing. The media are hounding on about it for poorer people and first homers. Screw them all I say. This city is going places. Thank goodness for the view from the new office. Lovely. I could see people down in Federal Street. In and out of the dining at Depot. I like the paving. It looks great. Didn’t know where to begin on the housing though. We’ve got no new ideas and the ideas we have are top shelf and don’t need to be changed. What is affordable housing anyway? It’s a load of cock and balls. Solved my problem – this afternoon I ordered an economic assessment from a Takapuna geographer come pseudo economist for a very good price of $150,000. I’ve specifically told him what answers I want to hear and the ones I don’t. He is a master of trickery. We gotta confuse the matter more to throw everyone off the scent to keep on task. Great place to start. Back slaps and high fives all round.

Tuesday

Used my crayon set this morning to work with our urban design team to draw walking routes and cycle ways around the city.  Problem is there are just roads everywhere and we’ve got no room for everything. All those smelly fumes will make the riding suck so we will have to have a chat with Auckland Transport about reducing car lanes. Who gives a toss if the cars are jammed up. We concluded that we need to upgrade Queen Street – again – and pedestrianise it fully. Screw the retailers and commuters. They’ll bitch and whinge for a week but when they see how wonderful our plan is they will be happy to walk and skip and ditch their cars. We better get our drawings converted into a printed manual. Use a graphic artist I think. Who did we use for the Auckland Plan document I wonder? That was cheap at $500k.

Had lunch with the Mayor all afternoon. As always he got us to pay for it on our Council credit cards. He’s worried about the affordable housing wrecking the compact city. Says he’s not standing next year. Pity. He’s been a great glove puppet.  

Wednesday

Power meeting with the Auckland Transport. Rail patronage needs a boost. It’s flatlined. We need more people living beside the railway lines to boost the numbers so Len’s tunnel can get built. Called an emergency summit with the Unitary Plan team and we’ve decided to ‘up zone’ more areas. Screw the locals. When they see how amazing our plan is we are going to receive serious high fives and back slaps. John thinks that the apartment market is going to go troppo. Says it’s a sure winner. He has a report from a North Shore geographer that includes some big excel spreadsheets and a summary that concludes that we can definitely fit 10,000 people per square kilometre. Awesome! He got his report for $250,000. It included a hard cover and they took him to lunch. If my economic assessment ordered Monday is shite I am going to get these guys to recast it.

Thursday

Meeting with the politicians. Half of them were asleep, and the rest were too busy eating from the catered buffet. Who could blame them. French pastries. Roast lunch. Sparkling water. Delicious. Could get used to that myself if it weren’t for the fact I can just nick off to the French Cafe on my expense card. We discussed the Housing Accord behind closed doors. Convinced most of the pollies that if we hold our position long enough and pretend to want housing we can stave off the National Party’s attempts to have greenfield sprawl everywhere. That bloody Quax was asking too many questions though. He knows too much. I hear he has been schooling up with developers and lawyers. Had to tell him some porkies to throw him off the scent. I might have a word to Penny about excluding him next week. We can’t have anyone upsetting the plan for a compact city.

Friday

Helped Treasury refine new budgets for infrastructure. No more money for new pipes. That’s the back door insurance until National lose the next election and our inside man Goff can step up next year for a nice overlap. CEO came in for part of the meeting too. Endorsed the budget move and said he would call a special agenda meeting to ratify it. He’s a ‘team player’ which is why they selected him. Just wants his fat paycheck and no hassles. On the way down a few floors that friggin Quax cornered me in the lift. Reckons I am up to no good and said he is watching me. Asked me if I understood the law? The law? Ha! Doesn’t he know we can do whatever we damn well want? The government doesn’t have the balls to stop us. Nobody can. We’re invincible. Back slaps and high fives all round. At this rate I’m up for another promotion and a hefty pay rise. It’s all looking good from here.


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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.

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