Sound fiscal management would solve Auckland’s problems

Auckland can afford to be compact much less than it can afford to sprawl out. That’s fact and even Council’s own reports prove it.

All the rhetoric that it’s too expensive to let Auckland grow outwards is based on the premise that infrastructure for new suburbs created in green fields is too expensive to construct and too expensive to maintain.

It’s not expensive to construct – except Auckland’s existing infrastructure is rooted.

Auckland is a city where infrastructure maintenance has been ignored for decades. Legacy Councils and this current Council have spent money obtained from ratepayers (as depreciation in the rates bill) and spent it on other things instead of maintaining pipes.

Even the auditor general has said that Councils all over NZ are a ticking time bomb because of the lack of expenditure on maintenance of infrastructure.  

Which leads to the second issue Auckland Council claim is reason why they can’t expand the city – maintenance.

The Council says it can’t afford to maintain infrastructure but that’s all a lie. Council charges each ratepayer depreciation in their rates bill. They depreciate their assets each year and collect it in cash from home owners. It’s nearly 20% per annum which is enough to maintain and replace pipes in the future if they put some aside and don’t spend it.

But they spend all of it on other things:

– 11,000 staff
– white water rafting centre
– recladding their HQ
– trains which hardly anyone in Auckland uses

With good fiscal management – like setting aside money in a building up sinking fund for future replacement and keeping up with maintenance – the Council can afford to maintain ALL infrastructure.

It’s simply down to how Council manages its books. And it does so poorly.

So the city can afford to expand. If the muppets would just do their job properly.

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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.