John Walker

At best Calum Penrose is a fantasist

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Calum Penrose is one of the terrible ten who voted for the 9.9% rates rise, and now he is trying to say he and John Walker delivered the three laning of the Southern Motorway, and the improvements at Takanini Interchange.

We want to see proof that Penrose and Walker can actually make this claim. We want to see Cabinet Papers, Treasury Papers, Ministry of Transport papers or NZTA Papers showing that these two are justified in their claims. Otherwise it is a $268m fairy tale.

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And they think that is going to save them? [UPDATED]

Some Auckland councillors think that abstaining from a vote means they didn’t make one and can’t be blamed for the consequences.

That’s so dumb its incomprehensible.

It’s like saying the dog ate one’s homework.

Not voting – abstaining – is still supporting the Mayor. It just comes with a bit of posturing. The result will still be a win for the Mayor’s budget.

And being scared by Stephen Town into believing that there will be dire financial consequences?

That’s even dumber.

Several Auckland councillors are expected to abstain from a budget vote this week to avoid plunging the Super City into a financial crisis.

Mayor Len Brown looks set to pass his new 10-year, $60 billion budget with less than half the votes of his council at Thursday’s governing body meeting.

He will get there after councillors were told the consequences of not passing the budget by chief executive Stephen Town and chief finance officer Sue Tindall over lunch last Thursday.

Councillors attending the lunch said the consequences were dire. ? Read more »

Len Brown breaks yet another promise, ratchets rates ever higher

Len Brown has become the lying Mayor.

Another of his election promises has gone by the wayside as his council keeps on increasing rates rather than reining in spending.

Auckland Council’s budget committee has voted 16-7 for a proposal to increase rates by 3.5 per cent for each year of a new 10-year budget.

The proposal got the backing of Mayor Len Brown, who promised voters to hold rates at 2.5 per cent this term.

This is on top of the massive rates rises of the last 3 years, some way more than 10% but capped under now expired legislation. Remember too that this is average rates rises of 3.5%, there will be some with even higher rates rises.

These are the tax, spend and hope councillors.

For a 3.5 per cent increase: Len Brown, Penny Webster, Arthur Anae, Cathy Casey, Bill Cashmore, Ross Clow, Linda Cooper, Chris Darby, Alf Filipaina, Penny Hulse, Mike Lee, Calum Penrose, John Walker, Wayne Walker and Maori Statutory Board members David Taipari and John Tamihere.

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Johnnie Walker – The Man Who Walked Around The World

A Romanian princess without a moustache

Oh look…a Romanian princess without a moustache. She looks rougher than that Aussie pollie that got raked.

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Princess Irina Walker, the daughter of the last king of Romania, was hobnobbing two years ago with European royalty in Bucharest to celebrate the 90th birthday of her regal father.? Read more »

These Auckland Muppets should be voted out

These are the muppets who voted for Cathy Casey’s motion for Auckland Council to reject a free convention centre. They do not deserve any support and should be booted from the council including George Wood.

THE MOTION

“The governing body does not support the Government’s proposal for SkyCity to develop a convention centre in return for changes in our gambling legislation to increase gambling at the SkyCity casino.”

FOR

Cathy Casey, Sandra Coney, Alf Filipaina, Michael Goudie, Ann Hartley, Penny Hulse, Mike Lee, Richard Northey, Wayne Walker, George Wood

All of them need to go.? Read more »

C&R = Catastrophe and Ruin for the Auckland centre-right

In around 7 months, NZ will be in the thick of local body elections, the most important for the Auckland Council.

At this stage, there isn’t a declared centre-right candidate to take on Len Brown, though the rumour mill is running overtime on a couple of names.

However, Len for know is very much in the box seat, which is why Auckland needs a strong centre-right council to hold him to account.

The centre-right in Auckland Region is normally represented by the Citizens and Ratepayers ticket, who have historically done well on the former Auckland Regional Council and the old Auckland City Council.

Since the 2010 elections, when C&R did poorly in the first ever supercity elections, there has been a rebrand by C&R’s executive board and National Party hacks Alastair Bell and Mark Thomas, to try and refresh their image. But while the colours and names have changed, their political fortunes have not. ?The new C&R, now known as Communities and Residents, has barely registered in the media over the last year. The C&R caucus is badly divided, and their board ineffective. Wags have said they should have renamed themselves Catastrophe & Ruin instead.

National has all but washed their hands of C&R in the elections this year, its caucus refusing to make available any organisation to the adrift group, instead encouraging individuals to participate if they feel like it. Candidate selections that were supposed to take place in November have been deferred and deferred as people go cold on standing for an organisation heading for defeat. Big fundraising plans have turned to dust and instead, a big levy is likely to be imposed on the hapless cannon fodder that stand.? Read more »

Council fratricide on Thursday – pass it on

The streets will flow with the blood of left-wingers after this coming Thurday’s Auckland Council committee meeting on the Ports of Auckland industrial dispute.

To be discussed at the meeting will be a series of questions posed by Richard Northey and answered by Auckland Council Investments’ Gary Swift.

Also on the table will be the nutty and pathetic tablings of Local Boards (they who are so clearly not tasked with regional and investment matters) who have even had MUNZ come and whinge to them about what is happening. This is all a bit ho-hum.

What is going to really set the cat amongst the pigeons is Richard Northey’s motion as chair:

? That the Accountability and Performance Committee express to the Ports of Auckland and to the Maritime Union:

i) its strong desire for an immediate return to good faith bargaining aimed at the achievement of a fair collective agreements that further significantly improves port efficiency, and
ii) its opposition to the redundancy and contracting out of 292 port workforce positions as proposed.

This amounts to political interference amongst the management of the Ports. Should this motion pass, then the left will have massively backflipped – and in the process handing a massive humiliation to Len Brown who has said his hands are tied and he won’t interfere.

It will also be interesting to see which councillors do not turn up (like last time), or choose to abstain. This includes Len Brown, whose failure to turn up last time kicked off the cunning C&R strategy of baiting Len into a foolish and compromising position of “supporting both sides” in mid January.

Brown is now tasked with an even worse set of choices thanks to Richard Northey’s desperation to show he is a worker’s mate.

a) Don’t turn up and be called a coward
b) Turn up and vote for the motion, completely upending his council and risking central government wrath (with the wrath rumoured to include legislation that the council might not like)
c) Turn up and vote down the motion, doing the right thing but further hurting his support with the militant left

I will be counting on the votes of the 5 C&R councillors, plus independents to show that it’s NOT the business of council politicians to publicly contradict and countermand previous decisions it made to support the boards of its investment wing. (Remember than on 8 December, the council voted at this same committee to back the Ports board and Auckland Council Investments). Nominally centre-right councillors like Penny Webster, Michael Goudie, and Calum Penrose, plus centrists like Arthur Anae, Sir John Walker and Sharon Stewart will be scrutinised heavily to see if they back this hard left retrograde step to inferfere in the management of the Ports.

On top of this – the votes of the two unelected Maori Statutory Board members will be scrutinised hard too.

This is going to be the showdown of the council term – this vote may define the Len Brown and Labour-left led council in the same way the Waterfront Stadium debate of the Hubbard Council wrecked the inter-personal relationships between left-wing councillors and humiliated Dick Hubbard publicly.

The Secret Mayor

Len Brown is the Secret Mayor. He didn’t want anyone to know who he had dinner with and fought for 8 months all the way to the Ombudsman. He lost that fight. He wanted board appointments held in secret so he could put his mates on the board unchallenged. And now he has fought an attempt to have the business of the Maori Statutory Authority conducted with openness and transparency.

Secrecy surrounds a new funding plan for the Maori Statutory Board after Mayor Len Brown yesterday crushed a move by many councillors for an open debate on the issue.

Mr Brown, who campaigned last year on openness and transparency, did not want councillors speaking publicly about one of the biggest embarrassments of his six months in the Super City hot seat.

He gathered 11 votes, just enough to stop nine councillors who wanted to debate the council’s new negotiating position with the board in public.

Said councillor Cathy Casey: “It is time to speak out, say what you think and own your words.”

9 Councillors voted for openness. They were Cameron Brewer, Cathy Casey, Christine Fletcher, Mike Lee, Callum Penrose, Sharon Stewart, Des Morrison, John Walker and George Wood. They can hold their heads high.

The other 11 – Len Brown, Wayne Walker, Michael Goudie, Arthur Anae, Alf Filipaina, Richard Northey, Anne Hartley, Penny Webster, Sandra Coney, Penny Hulse, and Noelene Raffils need to be drummed out of the council for letting down their people.

Len Brown sat on a train and campaigned for openness and transparency. He promised “open books”. He has lied to Aucklanders. This discussion is about the budget of the?Maori Statutory Board, if that isn’t part of the books then what on earth is?

Aucklanders know now that Len Brown prefers the shadows, back-room deals and weasel words. He has the spine of a jellyfish and the gumption of a fart. It is unacceptable that discussions about spending ratepayers money are held in secret.

We deserve better.

 

Clark turns on Union negotiator

Things must be tough in Labour-land. So tough that Clark has turned on a union negotiator.

Internal polling must be showing the public is voting with their feet over the ongoing Health sector strikes.

Who would have thought we would ever see the day when Labour would attack a union?

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