auckland mayoralty

John Palino on Auckland getting more for less

Auckland-Housing

Our debt strapped Council needs innovative alternative financial funding and development policies. My BIG idea is for Council sponsored involvement in creating a greenfields Satellite City. This project will raise very significant user pays Council revenue, reducing the need for further rates increases.

Here is how …

Everything council is doing is making property investors, developers and land bankers extremely rich while driving Auckland into debt. So why is this happening?

Sir Barry Curtis had the right idea and the vision when he was mayor of Manukau. Manukau was rich with land and Sir Barry was buying it all up. Read more »

More electoral dishonesty from Phil Goff

A reader emails:

Hi Cam,

Just received these election flyers in the mail here in Papatoetoe.

One brochure shows the “independent” Phil Goff appearing on a Labour flyer.

The smaller ‘blue’ flyer was delivered inside the Labour one.

You’ll notice Ashraf Choudary is also standing – the one who supports stoning and campaigned for the removal of the cross on top of the clocktower in Palmerston North.

Read more »

It’s a pity Palino won’t get to try

Ratepayers in Auckland have faced massive rates increases forced on them by a wasteful council that believes it knows how to spend ratepayers’ money better than ratepayers know how to spend it themselves. Since the formation of the Auckland Council rates have risen from an initial increase of 2.9% pa to last year’s unprecedented 9.9% pa. Many ratepayers have had increases far in excess of these levels.

Even these huge rates increases have been insufficient to fund council’s reckless spending. In the last five years Council debt/liabilities have increased by approximately $5 billion dollars. This means that the Auckland Council in five years has accumulated more debt/liabilities than the combined accumulated debt of all of its predecessors over the previous 100 years.

Rates and Debt increases have been matched by a massive increase in spending. Council has simply increased rates and borrowings rather than curbing spending or seeking efficiencies. This huge increase has largely been the result of poor quality and unnecessary spending on non-core activities, personal pet projects and huge cost blowouts.

As it stands, Auckland Council’s budget is significantly outside the norms of New Zealand local government. For example, staff salary spending (including consultants) is approximately 27% of all expenditures while the historical average had been closer to 20%.

Auckland Council’s discretionary spending on non-core areas is currently running at 26% of total spending. Many other Councils’ spending on non-core areas is often less than half this percentage. Read more »

Len 2.0 just showing up for the money

John Roughan writes

The council gets to discuss big amorphous principles such as environmental sustainability, community engagement and land-use planning objectives but once they have decided these are a good thing, they have to let the officers decide how, where, when and under what conditions they might be put into operation.

Anyone who doubts this should take the time to attend a council meeting any day of the week. The council meets as committees of all, or nearly all, members all day, just about every day. The poor members are fed fat agendas full of long reports of nebulous, mind-numbing vacuity.

Most of their evenings must be taken up reading it all and at the meetings they wade through it all, having a desultory debate on a minor point and knowing all along there is not much to decide. Christine Fletcher has complained publicly about how little time the interminable meetings leave for her to meet constituents and attend to people’s real concerns.

The mayor and council are a democratic facade, maintained for appearances while professional staff make all the real decisions. You don’t have to go to a meeting to see the ignorance in which the elected members are kept, it becomes apparent every time something goes wrong. Read more »

There is no mayoral election in Auckland

photo: whaleoil.co.nz

photo: whaleoil.co.nz

DECIDED VOTERS

Phil Goff: 52%
Vic Crone: 15%
John Palino: 8%
Cloe Swarbrick: 7%
Mark Thomas 5%
Penny Bright: 5%
Others: 8%

INCLUDING UNDECIDED VOTERS

Read more »

Yawn

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Whaleoil isn’t into predictions, but with Cam away, let’s indulge… the Auckland turnout rate for the local body elections will be the lowest ever.

Most of the mayoral candidates and many of the council aspirants are trotting out the hoary old chestnuts, reduction of rates, for example, or capping rates. Remember those promises any other times? Remember any rates reductions, or “caps” staying in place?

Those who suggest these magical solutions may hope to achieve them by sleight of hand, probably by imposing other charges which are not called rates but, instead, petrol taxes, congestion charges, or tolls, which still hit our pockets.

If you doubt those statements, please look at the website showing press statements of Phil Goff, and others.

Other potential rises in council revenue instead of rates may well include bumping up the costs of other services such as water, sewerage, rubbish collection, transport fees, and similar.

Vic Crone delivers fairly similar, glib statements, including “keeping residential rates low” (but how low, for how long?) She will also “cap rates”. At what level? Haven’t we heard all of this before, and how did those promises turn out?

The whole thing is so bland, you can actually feel your brain shrinking.  Read more »

Vic Crone is now attacking rich pricks with holiday baches

With most of her advisors abandoning her Vic Crone is resorting to form, a big socialist bully.

Her latest bright idea is to increase rates on people’s baches.

Auckland bach owners who do not use their places frequently would be hit with a massive rate hike under a policy proposed by a mayoral candidate.

National Party-aligned Auckland Future mayoral candidate Vic Crone is proposing measures to help solve the city’s housing shortage that target unoccupied properties. Buildings sitting empty for more than six months may be in line for rates increases of up to fifty percent.

“While we don’t have a good picture of the numbers, I’m hearing loud and clear there’s a problem and strong anecdotal evidence right across Auckland, including in Special Housing Areas.”   Read more »

If Phil Goff is independent, I’m a female Green Party MP

phil goff like len brown zipper up

 

Ex Herald editor Tim Murphy lays on thick layers of BS

The front runner for Auckland’s top job has been a Labour politician for three decades, but now he’s embracing independence. And the ticker is good for another 20 years of toil, he tells Tim Murphy

Phil Goff is shedding his tribal Labour Party skin. He is starting to like his new look and feel as an independent candidate for mayor of Auckland.

He’s feeling strangely liberated. Odd things are happening. Read more »

The fact I agree with Paul Little shows how completely dire the situation is

Paul Little has a good article in the Herald on Sunday. It makes me a little bit sick in my mouth to admit that…but he makes some good points. I guess a stopped clock is right twice a day.

It’s mayoral election year again in one of the world’s greatest cities. At least, that’s what yet another international survey conducted by people who don’t have to live here tells us. Those people need to travel a bit.  …

And there’s no chance of any improvement this year.This time around the candidates include:

• Failed prime ministerial aspirant Phil Goff vying for the consolation prize in the twilight of his career.

• Former council policy analyst David Hay, who wants to change the voting process to the single transferrable vote system, because that’s an issue really exercising Aucklanders.

• Stephen Berry, who wants you to be able to cut down as many trees on your property as you like and who flies under the banner “Affordable Auckland” so you know he has a sense of humour.

• Xero managing director Victoria Crone, who many think should be mayor because, you know, Xero’s just awesome.

• Activist Penny Bright, because that’s what she does. Read more »

Mark Thomas wants to spend money differently

Who is Mark Thomas, you might ask?  Exactly. He’s running to be the next mayor of Auckland, so in the interest of balance:

Auckland mayoral candidate Mark Thomas has announced his top three priorities:

1. Make council more affordable by focusing our $3.5billion annual expenditure more tightly and effectively.

2. Deliver better transport sooner by diverting more funding to it from the current poorly allocated spending, and reprioritising regional spending buckets to specific local priorities.

3. Achieve more effective growth planning which both builds more affordable houses sooner and does a much better job protecting the character of Auckland.

Mark is a business executive with an extensive community leadership background. He’s run an Auckland-based consulting and services business “Serviceworks” for 10 years which included owning and operating a Metro Top 50 restaurant. Mark has held senior management roles in the banking and energy industries, including Head of Group Marketing at ANZ Bank.

Mr Thomas says that even though candidates like Phil Goff get more media coverage, he believes he can win.

“I’m not here for a badge of honour. I’ve got key National Party people on my team.”

He says there are too many staff in Auckland Council and to combat this he will cap the amount of money he gives to the CEO who controls staff numbers and costs.

Having “key” National Party people on your team isn’t working for “Vic” and, so far, it hasn’t worked for Mark either.

Let’s break it down: Read more »