Auckland

Duco’s Lonergan is picking fights he can’t win

Dean Lonergan seems to be displaying all the traits of someone who has taken too many blows to the head.

Now he is taking on a senior Councillor at Auckland Council.

The Joseph Parker heavyweight world title fight is veering into a slugfest between promoter Dean Lonergan and Olympian Dick Quax.

Quax, who won silver over 5000m at the 1976 Olympics, and Lonergan, a former rugby league second-rower, have been trading blows over ratepayer money for the on-again, off-again, on-again Joseph Parker v Any Ruiz boxing fight in Auckland.

The latest round has seen Quax – an Auckland councillor these days – welcoming the prospect of sky high pay-per-view prices of between $70 and $100 as the “market price, not a price subsidised by the Auckland ratepayers”.

“That’s a problem?”, said the pro-market and Act Party member.

Read more »

Guest Post: Christine Fletcher – Take note Mr Key, ‘Auckland is precious and worth fighting for’

Freed from responsibilities of Auckland Transport, chairing Parks and other committees, I have had time to reflect on the queries received around accountability and CCOs and also the confusion around the centre-right during local elections. Richard Harman in the Listener and Bernard Orsman in the Herald have outlined a reasonably accurate account of the drama leading up to the election. Certainly, it wasn’t pleasant. Not because of a clever campaign from the left but rather the drive for power and the cannibalization of the vote within the centre-right. All without a coherent set of policies to an extremely confused voter base who knew that neither National or Labour over many decades have kept pace with the infrastructure Auckland requires to grow.

This election was distorted by a cunning plan hatched by a few in Wellington to gain control of local government in Auckland. It was clumsy and doomed from the start because it lacked integrity in terms of a genuine vision for Auckland. It was a simple grab for power from the right without an intelligent response to the many challenges facing Auckland. There was little understanding that Auckland is not a MMP type campaign, where a ‘brand’ based campaign may be effective. Elections in Auckland are won ward by ward, board by board, across the many villages that make up Auckland in much the same way that First Past the post campaigns used to be run right across the country. Underlying this fiasco was the uncomfortable relationship the right have with long overdue investment in Auckland infrastructure, in particular public transport. You have to wonder why the right allowed Phil Goff to have the absolute gift of the Auckland mayoralty. Without backing a strong right candidate there was little interrogation of Goff’s policies or his suitability for the role. Auckland is precious and worth fighting for.    Read more »

Greedy Goff wants taxpayers to pay for Labour’s light rail promise

Phil Goff doesn’t agree with Labour’s pork barrel promise for light rail to Mt Roskill. It isn’t that he doesn’t want it…because he really, really does…he just wants the taxpayers of Invercargill and Palmerston North to fund it.

The Labour Party cannot rely on Auckland Council to pay half of the cost of its light rail proposal for Auckland, with mayor Phil Goff questioning whether the council should have to pay anything.

Do Labour and Goff even talk anymore?

The city’s new mayor Phil Goff agreed, but questioned whether the council should have to put anything toward the network, as it could be treated as a road of national significance, and be fully funded by central government.

“It will be carrying far more passengers than many other roads around New Zealand that are funded 100 percent, so we’d want to negotiate between the Labour Party position of 50 percent funding and what would currently be paid for a road of national significance by central government, which is 100 percent,” he said.

Read more »

New book coming soon, pre-order now

Simon Lusk and I have written a book cataloguing the failure of the centre-right in Auckland in the recent local body elections.

We name names and hold people to account.

Those of you who already have an INCITE: Politics subscription will have received a discount offer in the latest edition. Use the code and link provided in INCITE to obtain your discount while you pre-order.

Simon and I are going to extend INCITE: Politics as well for the coming election, offering a re-designed website and additional information and analysis. There will still be exclusive content and of course our exclusive polling by New Zelaand’s best pollster, David Farrar’s Curia.

PRE-ORDER NOW

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BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA

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The mud in the Manukau Harbour sucks like a hooker on crack. This is hilarious…idiots.

An Auckland man had a “grand stand view” of an unusual rescue mission which unfolded over the past few days.

Alan Green, of Piha, was attending a weekend workshop at the Blockhouse Bay boat club when he noticed a silver Rav4 submerged in the Manukau Harbour on Friday.

The next day he witnessed two more 4WDS – which it seemed had come to rescue the first stranded vehicle – get stuck in the mud.

“The tide came in and enveloped all three of them.”   Read more »

A warning for Auckland out of Australia

 

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The SMH reports on massive public transport initiatives blowing their budgets:

Transport projects across the country have blown out in cost by at least $28 billion in the past 15 years, according to an independent think-tank.

And the main cause of the cost increases is the tendency of politicians of all persuasions to make promises about road or rail projects before they have been assessed, says the Grattan Institute report, to be released on Monday.

“When ministers and oppositions announced a new highway before a formal funding commitment, these early cost estimates often turn out to be spectacularly wrong,” said the transport program director at the Grattan Institute, Marion Terrill.

Read more »

Auckland house prices drop. Wait for Labour to declare a crisis in market confidence

Nick Smith does stuff all that is useful, but there is a glimmer of hope from latest house price statistics.

House prices may be starting to drop in Auckland – but it’s too soon to tell if the latest data shows a trend.

The new mortgage lending restrictions introduced by the Reserve Bank officially kicked in on October 1, but most of the main banks had already been introducing them over the previous couple of months.

Interest.co.nz’s regional Home Loan Affordability Reports for September showed the new loan-to-value-ratio mortgage lending restrictions on residential investment properties may be impacting house prices in Auckland.   Read more »

Mike Lee is right and Phil Goff is wrong

It is almost never that I agree with Mike Lee but in this case he is right.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff supports a blogger joining the Auckland Transport board after leaving two councillors off the board.

Last week, Goff announced two council appointments on the board would remain vacant for now to look at the best form of accountability for Auckland Transport and other council-controlled organisations.

He was not convinced having councillors on the board – Mike Lee and Chris Fletcher have been board members for six years – and subject to secrecy provisions was the best form of accountability.

Patrick Reynolds, of the Transport Blog, has applied for an observer role on the board, despite the blog stating it “is not associated in any way with Auckland Transport”.

Reynolds is seeking a customer focus committee board observer role – a non-voting and unpaid position.

In a letter to the board, Reynolds said he was a highly engaged customer and commentator on Auckland Transport issues who believed his “other side of the counter” perspective would be extremely valuable.

“There is now significant commonality between our aims and official AT policy. We are highly aligned with AT,” Reynolds said.

Read more »

Auckland: A billion here, a billion there; soon you’re talking real money

The Government is expecting Auckland to spend $30 billion on infrastructure over the next ten years — over half of the total local Government infrastructure spend over the same period, and almost as much as central Government will spend.

Of the $30 billion, $8.5 billion will be on roads; $2.8 billion on rail and $2.5 billion on fresh water, storm water and sewage.

The figures are contained in Treasury’s annual National Infrastructure Report which was released on Friday.

Finance Minister Bill English says of the 3823 projects in the 2016-2025 pipeline, 219 belong to central government and are valued at $40.5 billion, 3559 belong to local government and are valued at $51.1 billion, and 45 projects belong to the private sector at a value of $9.2 billion.

This year’s Auckland figures are up over seven per cent on last year.

Hands up those who are expecting 2% rates rises under Phil? Read more »

Five minutes into the job and Phil Goff wants to blow a billion on a stadium

Now Phil Goff wants to build a stadium!

Now Phil Goff wants to build a stadium!

Well, we did warn you. Phil Goff has just picked up from where Len Brown left off. Now he wants to build a stadium…at a cost of more than $1 billion.

What is it with socialists and grand projects?

New Auckland Mayor Phil Goff wants to make an early start on a $1 billion stadium on railway land alongside Vector Arena.

In an interview with NewstalkZB’s Tony Veitch to be aired today, Goff said he does not want to spend an estimated $250 million on upgrading Eden Park over the next 15 years and believes the spiritual home of rugby and cricket could be sold for as much as $300m.

Goff, who has only been in the mayoral job for two weeks, stressed the council did not have up to $1b to invest in a new stadium right now but if the council did not start planning it would miss the boat.    Read more »