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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  • biscuit barrel

    The water and sewage system is run by Watercare, and council cant touch its money.

    As by law it cant run at a profit. Thats right Housing NZ has to run at a profit and pay the government dividends, while the council has to provide water at cost and cant get any money while they operate as a business.
    Thats what happens when the government runs a business it gets a good deal.

    • Raibert

      A really good reason for responsibility / control of water and sewage being returned to council. Removal of exorbitant salaries and overheads an immediate cost saving, if council gets proper control. What do we pay a chief exec $600,000+ for if he can’t do this.

  • Keanne Lawrence

    Sound fiscal management for Auckland? Your dreamin’. It has never happened in the past and there is very little likelihood of it being any different in the future.
    The older generation are familiar with the raft of subsidies that have been exported from the rest of the country over the years for Auckland.
    Now things have been exacerbated with the super city totally out of control as not just old Auckland but all the incorporated surrounding members of the super city are in the same boat.
    The grossly overloaded craft is sinking rapidly since it is only suited to inshore calm waters and is struggling as the waters get choppy. Cartoon material as some are looking to strike out for the other shore since so many aboard think a bucket is for money and not for bailing. Lol

  • contractor

    Perversely looking forward to seeing Goff try to get the govt to make the rest of NZ chip in, after all as a leftie he will run out of other people’s money!

  • InnerCityDweller

    Funny how under the new (-ish) Unit Titles Act, Bodies Corporate need to have a Long Term Maintenance Plan, yet local government can do without…

  • Orca

    How can it possibly be more expensive to put down new infrastructure, over (literally) green fields, than to put that additional infrastructure into existing city streets, which requires ripping up and rebuilding the city streets, around people who are trying to live and work at the same time? It isn’t. Not to mention that a major part of that new infrastructure, being transport, needs to go underground at immense cost, if it is done in the city, but not if it is done on the fringes.

    • Raibert

      That’s because they are not upgrading city infrastructure until it fails to cope.

      • Orca

        Yes but, in parts of the central city, and other areas, they are almost doubling the population in the same space. So they can’t just wait, it will be well over-capacity almost immediately, unless the unitary plan is stopped.

  • Graeme

    We had to have the whitewater rafting. Isn’t Ferguson Browns cousin ?

    • Raibert

      Sure is, but nothing to see here – move along. Yeah right, $40 million of Manukau ratepayer money appropriated for this, and we will be asked to bail them out in a year or two – just like Forsyth Barr stadium in Dunedin.

  • To say nothing of the fact that Greenfields infrastructure is funded by the developers and they pay a hefty contribution as well where as upgrading existing infrastructure that was originally designed for a sub division but now will be a mixed intensified housing slum will be paid mostly by the ratepayer with modest developer contributions.

  • Diehard

    Agreed. But Auckland won’t change when the next left wing council under Goff is elected. Waikato is the answer to Auckland’s problems. They will expand in the north and build residential, commercial and industrial subdivisions. Inter city high speed trains are the answer not local trains where you park at Papakura only to return and find your car gone or get murdered at the train station. South Auckland will always be scum central, bypass it.