John Watson

Time for these Auckland Councillors to be sacked

abstainers

Auckland Council is stuffed. The elected representatives refuse to act either rationally or with certainty in the best interest of their ward ratepayers. It’s a total farce – and it’s a mockery of sanity, logic and all things democratic.

Yesterday it was reported that some councillors are choosing to ‘abstain’ from voting either for or against the Long Term Plan, which is the budget for running Auckland.

Cathy Casey, Ross Clow, Mike Lee, Wayne Walker and John Watson are proving themselves to be troughers. They don’t care what is best for the people who voted them in and they should go.

But they should also be joined by Penny Hulse and John Walker who are ‘absent’.

Because it’s important to take seriously the responsibility of being a Councillor and specifically to vote for the budget that will decide the expenditure of the Council over the next 10 years.   Read more »

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 »

Councillors oppose rates rise they voted for

Six councillors have written to Len Brown to protest the rates rise that  four of them voted for.

Auckland Mayor Len Brown has been asked to revisit an average 9.9 per cent household rates rise by a group of councillors concerned about the cost to ratepayers.

Six councillors yesterday wrote to Mr Brown, saying a transport targeted rate adds significantly to a level of rates that is already difficult for many Aucklanders to afford.

Last week, the council voted for a $114 targeted rate for every household to top up spending on transport.

The combined impact of the general rate and targeted rate for households is an average 9.9 per cent rates increase from July.

The councillors – Cathy Casey, Chris Darby, Mike Lee, John Watson, Wayne Walker and Ross Clow – believed savings could be found to reduce the targeted rate.

They produced figures from Mr Lee showing a difference in rail operating costs of $60 million to $70 million between Auckland and Wellington. “The chief executive has been directed to report back on potential savings and operating costs for rail.

“These savings could be substantial. We signal our concern at progressing with the targeted rate at the present amount until a meaningful and objective report is available on potential rail savings,” said the letter.

The councillors believed the transport targeted rate should be “revisited” at the earliest opportunity and before the new 10-year budget was completed on June 25.

Four of the six councillors – Ms Casey, Mr Darby, Mr Lee and Mr Walker – voted for the targeted rate last week.

Their four votes and the votes of seven councillors who voted against the targeted rate make up a majority on the 21-member council.

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The 15 councillors that need voting out after imposing a poll tax on Auckland

Yesterday 15 councillors and unelected Maori representatives, including Len Brown voted to increase Aucklanders rates by 9.9% despite promises from Len Brown to limit rates rises to just 2.5%.

These are the 15 who need rinsing at next year’s local body elections. They are dead to citizens of Auckland. Useless. A waste of space. If only we had recall legislation.

Mayor Len Brown, deputy mayor Penny Hulse, Penny Webster, Arthur Anae, Cathy Casey, Bill Cashmore, Linda Cooper, Chris Darby, Alf Filipaina, Chris Fletcher, Mike Lee, Calum Penrose, Wayne Walker and Maori Statutory Board members David Taipari and Glen Wilcox voted for the increase.

These people need to be voted out.

They are completely out of touch with the feelings of the ratepayers. Those ratepayers need to ensure they are never in the position to rape our pockets again.

Those who votes against should be rewarded.

Cameron Brewer, Ross Clow, Denise Krum, Dick Quax, Sharon Stewart, John Watson and George Wood voted against the rises.

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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.

Read more »

Auckland’s councillors are revolting

Well, not all of them, but certainly enough to put Len Brown’s pet project in jeopardy.

The $2.4 billion City Rail Link could be deferred until 2020 because of mounting concerns by councillors about its impact on rates, debt and big cuts to community services.

A number of councillors are having second thoughts about an early start on the rail project and support deferring work until the Government comes on board with funding in 2020.

Auckland Mayor Len Brown has locked $2.2 billion into a new 10-year budget to begin work on the 3.5km underground rail link in 2016 and completed by 2021.

On Wednesday, all 20 councillors and the mayor will debate the budget and make decisions on the rail project for public consultation.

One commenter notes:

The best news from the article is that councillors seem to be backing away from the train set – with luck Len’s folly will be initially deferred and later abandoned without fanfare.

And another comments:

Had a quick look. Finally it seems like ‘the people of Auckland are getting mad enough and therefore loud enough to be heard. Reading between the lines it seems like the counsellors have decided they would rather get re-elected and keep their jobs than support someone (Lenny) who is going to lose.

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No surprises, troughers vote for trough to continue to be filled with lolly

Auckland Council troughers have voted to continue to sup fromt eh trough despite the council running a black budget process due to burgeoning debt.

Not for them to have to spend time with the smelly passengers and poor people in cattle class.

A group of Auckland councillors have managed to retain a business-class-travel perk, but a bid to give them free parking has been voted down.

The move comes as reduced library hours, street cleaning and an end to inorganic rubbish collections are on the table for sweeping budget cuts.

George Wood, Christine Fletcher, Denise Krum and Calum Penrose were among those who voted yesterday to defeat an amendment by councillor John Watson to restrict business-class air travel to health grounds only.

Councillors get to keep the perk of sitting in business class when taking flights of more than six hours and conducting council business within 24 hours of landing at an overseas destination.

It took the casting vote of finance committee chairman and Labour councillor Ross Clow to keep the status quo in the elected members’ expenses policy, despite many of his left-wing colleagues voting to tighten the rules.

Right wingers Cameron Brewer and Dick Quax supported the left to tighten the rules.

Mr Clow justified his decision on the basis that elected representatives needed to turn up fresh and fully prepared to represent Auckland after long-haul travel beyond most of Australia.

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Don’t vote for these big spending ratbags

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I love it when the unions get involved in politics, especially when they highlight the big spenders, the wastrels and the useless.

What ever you do DON’T vote for these ratbags.

  • Albert-Eden-Roskill – Cathy Casey, Peter Haynes
  • Albany – Wayne Walker, John Watson
  • North Shore – Grant Gillon, Ann Hartley   Read more »