I just had an epiphany about Auckland Council

I’ve thought a bit more about the forty council staff trying to come up with a strategy.

On February 22, 37 council middle managers attended a workshop on the issue. An online search and council documents show most staff invited had the words “adviser”, “strategic” and “analyst” in their job titles.

Auckland Plan strategy and research general manager Jacques Victor said the plan was the overarching, 30-year strategic document coming up for a six-yearly review in 2018.

An evidence-based review, he said, needed to reflect changes that had occurred since it was adopted in 2012, such as new Census data and the Auckland Housing Accord.

“This requires input from different experts across the organisation and workshops are used as the most efficient and effective way to ensure expertise is shared across the organisation,” Mr Victor said.

40 people working full-time on reviewing and updating the plan is ridiculous. The competing interests will never get resolved.

Mayoral candidates Vic Crone and Phil Goff are concerned about what the workshop says about council.

“Council shouldn’t be having meetings for meetings’ sake,” Ms Crone said. “They need to focus on delivering core services and value for money for ratepayers.”

Mr Goff said he had heard from officers and some councillors there was too much of a culture at the council of talking and not enough decision-making and getting things done. “We need a change in thinking and a change in culture.” Mr Goff questioned the need to tie up 37 staff when the review was two years away.

A Local Government NZ spokeswoman said “councils can do what they wish about plan renewals and Auckland is often different from everyone else because they are bigger – and Auckland”.

Here’s my prediction:  unless Auckland gets a council that is radically different in its outlook, all that Auckland will ever achieve from here on in is even more meetings trying to perfect the never-perfect plan.  They won’t actually achieve much in real terms, because the plan needs working on, reviewing and updating constantly  They will see it as progress but in essence they just running around in circles chasing their tails.

The system is actually broken and the city meanders on. About the only people enjoying all this are the caterers who have to feed these troughers in their workshops and meetings and strategy planning.

Even if we change the mayor, and frankly, the only change Phil Goff will deliver is he will have his pants up, we will still get this merry-go-round of bullshit and never achieving the goals set out in the plan because they are ever changing…but hey…planning.

One thing is also certain, the Herald has decided that it will only seek comment from two candidates and they’ve decided that this election must be run with only the two candidates they’ve chosen.


– 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.