Why is Auckland Council so dumb?

The most amazing fact about Auckland Council is that it is an organisation bereft of smarts. Quite literally the organisation is dumb.

Council has been the Achilles heel for Auckland. The entire organisation has systematically stymied the opportunity for Auckland to be dynamic and growing. Bogged down in bureaucracy and all controlling, the Council has stiff-armed the city. It’s not fast and its ideas continue to fail to work.

We all know the issues so I won’t dwell on the them.

But the solutions are incredibly obvious. No matter what side of the fence one sits, the fact is Auckland Council can’t identify any solutions and it certainly can’t put its hand up and communicate what it needs and lobby for them.

Which is why the organisation is stupid?

I don’t for a second buy into the compact city model. It’s the stuff of unicorns and rainbows and hallucinogenic drugs. No city in the world has magically transformed from one type of built form to an entirely different one. In-filling the gaps doesn’t count for much either.  

If Council is determined to stick with the ambition, it surprises me that they can’t say what they need. Certainly, we all know the obstacles. So why no solutions?

Solutions don’t look like positive talk. They look like a campaign. ‘We want more funding for city infrastructure so change the legislation so that we can raise it.’ Coordinated and massive, the momentum would cave the government into doing something.

But what Auckland Council does is say nothing.

It talks of investigations and studies. It goes back to huddling in committees, and then come back out saying the same things as before. It focuses on talking up rail and remind us of the vision. But it says little else.

And here is the secret reason… it doesn’t know what the solutions are. Because it is dumber than a bag of hammers.

In my opinion it could be pushing for legislative reform to raise capital, although that will be dangerous given its spendthrift attitude. The facts are that it is openly stone quiet about it.

It has occasional meetings with MBIE and ministers. But closed meetings and no PR don’t really inflict the pressure for change it needs. Auckland Council doesn’t understand how to lobby.

When it does speak up it’s to ask for money for stupid projects.

It can’t identify the correct things to seek help over and then it doesn’t know how to go about pressuring for change.

And it’s my view that this is because it doesn’t really understand how to solve problems, which is because it is dumb.

And that’s a worrying thought.


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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.

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