Auckland

Auckland Council bans rates feedback from ratepayers

The Auckland Ratepayers Alliance reports on some underhanded ratbaggery from Phil Goff and his council:

Earlier in the week submissions closed on Auckland Council’s Annual Budget – the document which sets rates for the financial year beginning in July.

As per usual, your team at the Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance sent in a submission on behalf of hard-working ratepayers like you (a summary of the submission is below). We asked to present in person to Councillors, as has been common in the past. One of the issues the Council will be considering is Phil Goff’s proposal to increase the wages of the Council and impose a “living wage” for all staff. We had lined up an expert labour economist who used to work for the Department of Labour to present to Councillors.

We’ve now discovered that to avoid having to listen to ratepayers, Councillors resolved not to allow people to submit in person on this year’s budget. They didn’t even want us – New Zealand’s largest ratepayer group – to present. They said ratepayers are not a ‘key stakeholder’.   Read more »

Bill English will pay for Phil’s glory project, but he has to pick just one

 

photo: whaleoil.co.nz

Prime Minister Bill English has promised funding for Auckland’s infrastructure, as long as the rapidly-growing city can decide what its priorities are.

Speaking to about 250 business people at an event hosted by Business North Harbour on Tuesday, English outlined the Government’s plans to tackle big issues facing New Zealand.

New Zealand faced the “right sort of problems” of having to invest in infrastructure to cope with growth, he said.

New Zealand might in a general sense, but Auckland suffers from nearly 50 years of under-investment in its infrastructure.   Read more »

Phil Goff’s bed tax in jeopardy

Phil Goff’s bed tax proposal is in tatters after last week, it’s just that no one knows about his major setback, especially Desley Simpson who even posted a video in support of the proposal.

It became apparent last Monday that Goff doesn’t have the numbers to pass his bed tax proposal despite the big push in media and from councillors like Desley Simpson.   Read more »

Goff told to eff off over government stadium cash

Phil Goff has been told in no uncertain terms to shove his stadium plans up his arse.

There will be no government cash for his whimsy.

An Auckland central city stadium wouldn’t get Government funding, Prime Minister Bill English says.

A stadium is back on the cards after Auckland Mayor Phil Goff commissioned work on the feasibility of a new central city site costing up to $1 billion.   Read more »

A bit of rain shows up Goff’s house of cards

Phil Goff can demand all he likes, but the city’s basic infrastructure is falling to bits. Out West successive left-wing councils have neglected infrastructure.

His predecessor’s insistence on cramming more and more people into the isthmus with intensification to make his train set numbers work has also placed undue pressure on stormwater infrastructure.

A little bit of rain and now Phil Goff is going all vein-popping mad about it all.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff is inspecting the flooding aftermath in New Lynn this afternoon after calling for more safeguards to the city’s water supply.

Goff will visit the West Auckland suburb, held up as a poster child for housing intensification, where the stormwater infrastructure failed to cope with yesterday’s rain bomb, flooding flats, shops and opening up a huge sinkhole.   Read more »

Hey Phil, you were moaning about no cash for your trains, why raise the stadium idea again?

Just last week Phil Goff was whinging about having no cash for his trains and needing to raise rates by 16% to pay for infrastructure.

This week he is floating the idea of blowing the thick end of a billion dollars of a fricken waterfront stadium.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff has ordered the council to look into alternative sites for a stadium to replace Eden Park.

“We know that in about 15 years there’ll need to be major work done on the Mt Eden stadium if it’s to be retained,” he told Newshub.

“And yet it has significant problems – it can’t run concerts or night events for more than 21 nights a year. It’s underutilised and it’s not meeting the cost of depreciation.”   Read more »

$5000 for Len’s walking stick? Someone is taking the piss

Len Brown’s walking stick cost the ratepayers $5000, that would have been better going into the tin to recoup the expenses he cost us with the inquiry into his rooting:

Aucklanders paid more than $5000 for a present given on their behalf to outgoing mayor Len Brown, records show.

Brown left office in October last year, after deciding not to run for a third term as the first Supercity mayor.

His second term in office was plagued by scandal when he admitted three days after the election to a two-year extra-marital affair.    Read more »

Could we have our brownmail payments back please?

Democracy Action raises a very good point about brownmail payments to the Maori Statutory Board after their case was tossed out of the High Court:

Pro-democracy group, Democracy Action, says the High Court’s dismissal this week of the appeal by the Independent Maori Statutory Board against the decision by Auckland Councillors to accept the Independent Hearings Panel’s recommendation to remove the ‘Sites and Places of value to Mana Whenua’ from the Unitary Plan, gives every reason for the Council to refund amounts paid for the unnecessary and costly cultural assessments.

Since September 2013 Auckland property owners with one of these purportedly sites of value on or near their properties have had to seek cultural impact assessments (CIAs) from iwi when undertaking more than minor earthworks.

“Money paid to iwi for CIAs must be refunded”, says Democracy Action spokesperson, Lee Short.   Read more »

Phil Goff wants another tax: bed tax

Poor Phil.  He so wanted the job.  But he didn’t realise that pants-down Brown had left the bank account dangerously low.  So Phil can’t do anything but watch the council spend and spend and spend even more on the day to day machinations of running a city.  But there is no money for him to place his stamp on his stint as mayor.  Poor Phil.

Auckland is a vibrant city that offers its people great learning and working opportunities as well as a fantastic lifestyle.

However, we’re growing at such a rapid rate that traffic congestion is on the verge of gridlock and the Kiwi dream of home ownership is slipping out of reach for many Aucklanders.

To tackle these huge challenges, we need to make major investments in infrastructure including new and upgraded roads, public transport options, waste and stormwater systems.

The problem is that a joint Auckland Council-Government report has identified a $4 billion gap in infrastructure funding over the next decade.

The council has to come up with its share of that deficit. If we lump all of the cost on ratepayers, that will push rates up by 16 per cent a year.

That is not right or fair. Ratepayers have shouldered the burden of growth for too long. It is time to look for new solutions where those who benefit most pay their fair share.

That’s why I’m promoting the idea of a targeted rate on accommodation providers.

The rate payers are going to run Phil out of town after just one term.  So where else to get some money… oh, tourists!   Read more »

Maori Statutory Board given arse card by High Court

Good news, the Maori Statutory Board has been told to sling their hook by the High Court.

A bid to protect Auckland’s Maori cultural sites has been thrown out in the High Court due to a lack of evidence as to their importance.

The Independent Maori Statutory Board appealed a decision by Auckland Council to remove provisions relating to sites of value for mana whenua from the Unitary Plan.

However, in a ruling released to the public on Tuesday, Justice Edwin Wylie rejected the appeal, saying there wasn’t enough evidence of the sites’ significance.

Read more »