Guest Post – Time to put a hold on City Rail Link

Article written by David Thornton, writer/commentator on Local Government.

Time to put a hold on City Rail Link

The tunnel-visioned drive by Len Brown to make an early start to the City Rail Link (CRL) goes against a considerable amount of research and forecasting which shows that there will be a shortfall in rail passenger and office accommodation targets required to justify a construction start in 2016.

Moreover there is no business case on which to judge the economic viability of the project – previous business cases having been shown to be wildly inaccurate.  Auckland Council’s analysis for the first business case was shown by Wellingtonian Tony Randle to be riddled with inaccuracies, and a refinement of the case was thrown out by Ministry of Transport experts.

And there is no funding for the project, despite Mayor Brown’s three years of fruitless promises to have the project fully funded during his first term.

In that first term the Mayor was good at whooping up support from a compliant bunch of councillors which ensured that the CRL became the cornerstone of the Auckland Plan – a plan for a ‘compact city’, presented in coffee-table-book form with photos and images to charm the eye. However, an addendum to this glossy book, published separately later, clearly showed that there was no funding allocated for the CRL

Claiming that “all” Aucklanders supported his vision, the Mayor led his councillors “at pace” to put together a Draft Unitary Plan – the ‘toolbox’ to bring the Vision of the Auckland Plan into reality. This Plan was finalised for public consultation 10 days before the end of that first council’s term, and the full  Unitary Plan process is not due to be completed for a least three years.

While all this was going on the Council was committing substantial funding to buy buildings to project the route of the CRL.

The new Council was quick to use its significant powers to collect all rates (more than $2 billion annually), and dictate all expenditure for the whole Auckland region sparking an explosion of spending on a scale unparalleled in Auckland’s history – with the inevitable huge increase in debt, borrowed against the $30-plus million infrastructure asset base.

That debt, which continues to mount, is secured by the ability of the Council to levy sufficient rates to meet the cost of interest and repayment if necessary – a potentially catastrophic position for council ratepayers in the future.

Despite the debt issue, CRL supporters, led by Brown, hold the view that ‘Build it and they will use it’–claiming this expansion of the rail network  it will ensure more commercial office development and residential development and give us a world-class city centre,

The Mayor fronted up to the Government last year demanding support for the CRL, including a commitment by Government to fund half the cost of the project, and to start construction in 2016.

The Prime Minister and his colleagues gave conditional support to the project subject to the need for a new business case in 2017.

Mayor Brown’s table-thumping jubilation at gaining Government support for the project, and a possible earlier start to the project, completely underplayed the qualifications to that support – a 25% increase in employment levels in the CBD, and rail patronage on track to reach 20 million by 2020.   Read more »

Dodgy ratbags at Auckland Transport under investigation

There seems to be something very murky going on at Auckland Transport. External investigators have been called in to look at allegations of corruption over roading contracts.

Auckland Transport has called on external investigators to guide its inquiry into serious allegations of corruption over roading contracts.

The council organisation has stood down a senior manager on indefinite leave during the inquiry, which it was previously conducting in-house while promising to call in the Serious Fraud Office if it could find evidence of wrongdoing.

But chief executive David Warburton said today it had now called for “external forensic accounting advice” from consultants PricewaterhouseCoopers into the road maintenance area of its business.  Read more »

I wonder what the Hobbit Hater has to say about this?

The film industry is pumping billions into the economy and Helen Kelly wanted to stop all this happening:

New Zealand’s film and TV industry has risen to become one of our most lucrative – reeling in more than $3.23 billion last year.

The sector’s contribution to gross domestic product was $2.78 billion, representing 1.4 per cent of New Zealand’s total GDP, a PricewaterhouseCoopers report found. The sector also supported 21,315 fulltime-equivalent jobs.

It is unconscionable that Heln Kelly and her union thug mates tried to hold the industry to ransom:

The industry compared favourably with the New Zealand wine industry, which contributed $1.52b to GDP in 2008.

Film and TV’s gross earnings had risen by four per cent since 2008, the Economic Contribution of the New Zealand Film and Television Industry 2012 report indicated.

Film production made up a large share of total gross revenue, raking in $1.4b.

Film Auckland chairman Pete Rive welcomed the study as an opportunity to recognise and celebrate the local screen community.

He hailed Spartacus, Mr Pip, Emperor, starring Matthew Fox, and The Hobbit as examples of recent successes.

“We have built a global brand recognisable for its success in creating and producing world-class content,” Mr Rive said.

“This report validates the work of more than 21,000 New Zealanders who are the bedrock of, and are supported by our screen industry.”

Michael Hawkins, executive director of National Association of Cinema Operators for Australia and New Zealand, said the report was timely.

Witchhunt underway at SFO

via the tipline

I have been informed that Adam Feeley has instigated a witch hunt at the Serious Fraud Office in an attempt to find the leaks about Bridgecorp and Hubbard embarrassments. This is hugely ironic as one of the main methods getting their story out was leaks from Feeley himself to tame journalists.

Five Fingers Feeley has hired his top-end Northern Club mates at PriceWaterhouseCoopers to clone server and work laptops.

Staff emails are now monitored.

Staff are bemused that someone in his position can be under investigation – not be stood down – and now order his own inquisition to find the whistle-blowers.

I wonder how much that will cost the taxpayer?

It seems the biggest sin in Adam Feeley’s eyes is to be a whistleblower, rather than the actual indiscretions. Again hugely ironic considering that the SFO usually ends up with cases after someone spills the beans about corporate indiscretion.

Be part of the solution or you are part of the problem

Rob Pope has thrown a hissy fit and petulantly resigned effectively at the end of his contract in April.

The man who led some of New Zealand’s biggest investigations is walking away from the police in the wake of a damning report into the force’s culture.

Deputy Police Commissioner Rob Pope announced his retirement today, saying it was in the interests of police that he not re-apply for his position.

He got the last bit right. He finally has got the message that his face doesn’t fit. He has ended a reign of terror and blackmail against his fellow cops with his resignation. There are many in the Police who will be sighing with relief that it is pretty much all over now. Howard Broad leaving at the same time will complete the start of a change of culture within the Police.

I say a start because after the damning PWC report into Police culture it is clear that there needs to be changes. Predictably Howard borad is upset, but he is one of the main problems that exists within the Police and its culture issues.

Police Commissioner Howard Broad says the force has turned a corner towards blanket intolerance of poor performance and sexual misconduct, despite a report criticising its bosses as lacking courage and – according to one officer – living in “bullshit castle”.

The independent report by PricewaterhouseCoopers, released last night, follows a warning from Police Minister Judith Collins this month to senior officers to speed up culture change.

Both Rob Pope and Howard Broad made the fatal, for their careers, error of thinking that Judith Collins could be ignored. She has now successfully picked off the scabs that have been holding back rejuvenation in the Police. Sensibly she appointed someone to replace Howard Broad who is actually well liked, isn’t work shy, and is a copper cop to run the Police.

My bet is now that the Minister will focus her gaze upon the loafers, work-shy and indigent in the Police force, right down to Sergeant level.

Some officers were “poisoning the well”, the report said. It noted a disconnection between head office and frontline staff, with one officer saying “the commissioner and all his mates at ‘bullshit castle’ at headquarters should get back on the street and get a reality check”.

My advice to her targets is sharpen up or go easily. I would also advise Greg O’Connor to resist the urge to act like a typical union and actually embrace the changes coming because they are good for the police in the long run and it is always better to be part of the solution than part of the problem. You only need to look at Rob pope and Howard Broad to find out what happens to those that are part of the problem.

It is high time that the Police earned back the respect of the population, a good start along that road to recovery would be the sacking of useless cops and restore the professionalism and confidence of the remainder.

Getting Frank with Rich

Rich Henry is a guy who rates himself. In his short biography and puff piece for his appearance on The Apprentice he was described tongue in cheek as thus;

Self-employed Aucklander Richard Henry should teach a course in management speak. The 26-year-old says he “thrives on the creative industries and robust debate, and aspires to better the world en route to the finer things in life,” and his “entrepreneurial edge, grounded understanding, and core ethics” will get him the top job. Moving forward.

Hmmm…”entrepreneurial edge, grounded understanding and core ethics”. Let’s look at his core ethics.

First up his by-line is “Getting frank is about keeping it direct, honest and evident.” We will be doing just that. I’ll be direct, I’ll be honest and I will produce evidence.

Sometime back in 2007, Rich Henry was setting up Get Frank, an online magazine for blokes. With his partner Mitch Hall, he contacted numerous “content providers”, that is a nice term for people who write stuff. He asked if he could use the occasional article from the content providers. He even had one of his staff discuss financial terms for the use of the material with content providers.  That content provider kept the email as terms of their engagement:

From: Mitchell Hall <[email protected]>

Subject: RE: up now…

Date: Thu, 01 Feb 2007 15:33:59 +1300

That is most definitely the plan ;)

In fact, as our advertising grows we will be offering all contributors the chance to take 50% of all advertising revenue from their page(s) on a CPM basis.


Mitchell Hall


I was one of those who was offered these terms. So was Cactus Kate and content was also taken from other content providers such as Kiwiblog. I am yet to go through the whole site but from an email today from Rich Henry, he confirms that in fact 100% of the content of Get Frank is sourced from other content providers and that they provide no content of their own.

Through my own monitoring, I have noticed increased usage of my content. So I decided to have a wee chat with Rich about his site and the use of my content.

I sent him a letter outlining how my site is licenced under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License which clearly states;

You are free:

  • to Share — to copy, distribute and transmit the work
  • to Remix — to adapt the work

Under the following conditions:

  • Attribution — You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work).
  • Noncommercial — You may not use this work for commercial purposes.
  • Share Alike — If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under the same or similar license to this one.

With the understanding that:

  • Waiver — Any of the above conditions can be waived if you get permission from the copyright holder.
  • Public Domain — Where the work or any of its elements is in the public domain under applicable law, that status is in no way affected by the license.
  • Other Rights — In no way are any of the following rights affected by the license:
    • Your fair dealing or fair use rights, or other applicable copyright exceptions and limitations;
    • The author’s moral rights;
    • Rights other persons may have either in the work itself or in how the work is used, such as publicity or privacy rights.

I had given permission for Get Frank to use my content on a limited basis. But there were no links as required, attribution was tenuous and worse still, he was breaching the non-commercial aspect of my licence agreement. What I didn’t give permission for was for them to make truck loads of cash off my content.

Cactus Kate and Kiwiblog don’t publish specific licencing for their content and as such are protected completely by total copyright provisions.  Cactus Kate eventually lost patience with these thieving prats and withdrew her permission for Get Frank to use posts of hers because of the way they were manipulating images on the re-posts.

Get Frank carried extensive advertising, some of it is intercompany related with other enterprises of Rich’s to give the impression he has substantial backing. The advertising on Get Frank is booked by Adhub, who it transpires also an investor, to the tune of over $50,000 in Get Frank.

In my discussions with Rich Henry regarding his breaches of mine and other content providers’ copyright, we discussed just exactly what revenue he was making for Get Frank.

Rich confided in me that revenue for the site exceeds $10,000 per month, or more than $120,000 per annum. All from advertising  – and all booked on content that Get Frank doesn’t provide themselves and has lied to those who asked, about the profitability of the earnings derived from the collective “content providers”. Those of you may snigger now that Rich was accepted on to The Apprentice earning that as a paltry sum while making out he is an internet guru.  I won’t be so unkind, the Sorcerer is struggling to put together $120,000 to pay his creditors at the moment.

I pointed out to Rich that he was in fact stealing from all of us.

We wrote the content, he took it on the basis he was currently unprofitable and would pay for the content when he made the expected profit, sold advertising on that content and then pocketed the loot without actually paying for the content.

His response to my concerns was as follows;

Hi Cam,

Good to catch up last week.

I have placed some decent thought into it and have also run past the team here.

Like a number of offshore models rather than publishing unique to getfrank content our value proposition and core model is that we offer contributors a free marketing tool / platform, in which we republish a taste from their full offering to position our contributors as the expert destinations and for some an added extension to their online voice.

As discussed last week the page impressions that we generate for each post in the editorial section a revenue split will be nickle & dime and just chewed up in administration, and with further thought and discussion around our model we’re just not going to be able to derive enough value to justify paying a lump sum for that content either.

Given the massive profile you’ve built over 2010 I fully appreciate that the whole free marketing proposition may be of limited value for you, and fully appreciate your reasoning if you choose to end the contributing relationship.

Please forward this email onto the other bloggers within the union, if they they could please email me direct I’ll be more than accommodating.

It’s been great having you on the site, and if you see any other way we can combine forces definitely let me know.


As you can see I was talking with Rich on behalf of the Bloggers Union which, as you know, is compulsory, and acts on behalf of all bloggers or (as Rich calls us) content providers.  I also see it as a duty to other content providers on Get Frank that we collectively ensure compensation for our work.

As you can also see Rich Henry has admitted that not a single piece of his content is provided by him or his team. They take content from others, like me, like David Farrar, like Cactus Kate and numerous other non-blogging contributors, and they put it on their site then sell advertising on our content. They keep all the loot and then when approached about it claim it is all too hard to distribute half the revenue as promised that content providers collectively were offered, thanks for coming, feck off. Well I’ve got news for Rich Henry and it is all bad.

What Get Frank is actually doing is stealing our collective content and selling that which they didn’t produce.  Imagine what would happen if say The Listener pretended to be poor and stopped paying for content?  Columnists would soon pack up shop and rat the publication out for what they are – thieves.

This isn’t without precedence. In fact Rich kindly alludes to the model in other countries. So let’s take a moment to look at how that works out.

Old media often bemoans the copy-and-paste habits of bloggers and self-professed citizen journalists, alleging that the “re-reporting” they do is more akin to plagiarism than journalism.

Smarting under these kinds of accusations, the blogosphere eagerly took up a story writer Monica Gaudio posted to her blog Wednesday evening in which she described how a for-profit print magazine called Cooks Source published a 5-year-old post she had penned for the blog Gode Cookery. The article was published without Gaudio’s permission.

A friend who had seen the article wrote to Gaudio congratulating her and asking her how she had gotten the article published in the magazine, which has a circulation of about 20,000. “This was news to me, as I hadn’t ever heard of this magazine before,” she said.

According to Gaudio, she contacted the editor of Cooks Source to inquire about the article (which is about the history of apple pie) and how it managed to appear in the magazine. At one point in the exchange, Gaudio said, the editor asked her what she wanted, and Gaudio replied that she wanted an apology to appear both in the magazine and on the magazine’s Facebook Page, as well as a $130 donation (a sum that equates to about $0.10 per word of the piece in question) to be made to the Columbia School of Journalism.

The editor, who said that she has three decades of experience editing for The Voice, Connecticut Woman Magazine and other publications, responded that since everything on the web is considered “public domain,” Gaudio “should be happy we didn’t just ‘lift’ your whole article and put someone else’s name on it,” a common occurrence on college campuses and elsewhere, she notes. She goes on to say that the article “was in very bad need of editing, and is much better now than it was originally.” In fact, she says, “We put some time into rewrites, [therefore] you should compensate me!”

As it has with other incidents of private injustice — such as the case of Mary Bale, a.k.a the “Cat Bin Lady”— the web sounded its displeasure loudly, flooding the magazine’s Facebook Page with thousands of derisive comments (apparently, the original Facebook Page was hacked and the magazine has since been forced to relocate) and Twitter with the hashtag #CrooksSource.

And what happened to Cooks Source? Well it went tits up after its advertisers abandoned a known thief.  Get Frank offered its content providers 50% of the advertising they generate.  Whether that is Whaleoil, David Farrar or any of the non-blogger contributors, he owes half the revenue to the content providers.

Now back to Rich Henry. Even if you take his emails and his lackey’s email at face value, he could argue that his site isn’t making money and so he can’t cough up the dosh. There is a slight problem with that, and it is Rich Henry’s propensity to skite.

On the 20th of October 2008, just a few short months since having his staff offer up 50% of advertising revenue he had this to say;

Rich Henry and Get Frank are thievesMy darkest hour was when:

I launched the site, with 40k of personal loans and 60k of my parents money to see no one visiting and only a couple of months liquidity left.

I came through it by:

Dropping out of fulltime work at PricewaterhouseCoopers to work on the venture fulltime to try and save it. I was very lucky to secure Shane Bradley as an Angel Investor, and three years since the light bulb moment the ventures finally cash flow positive.

We wonder quite where the 100k of start-up capital went, it seems to be an enormous sum to spend on promo girls and sponsor events around town to make Rich look like da’ main man of Auckland online media,

More importantly in October 2008, he acknowledges that the site is cashflow positive. Where were the revenues for the content? Nowhere is where…well, actually they were in Rich Henry’s pocket.

Richard is now 25 and the magazine attracts more than 50,000 readers per month. He describes it as a website for intelligent, professional men.

Nice…he gets the same traffic a month that I get a week and he has the audacity to claim that he was helping me and other content providers like Kiwiblog and Cactus Kate out!!

In March 2009 he was blabbing about his stellar success;

The website is aimed at intelligent, professional men – it has the highest concentration of 18-39 year old male readers in New Zealand, and more than 72% of its audience have a household income over $60k a year, according to Nielsen Online. It has managed to attract long-term premium advertisers such as  Continental Car Services and Amstel Premium Beer – not bad for a site  that drove its owner to the brink of bankruptcy.

For the first two years, Rich poured all his spare time, money and energy into the project. Winning $5,000 and a trip to Sydney in Nescafe Bigbreak bolstered  both his  confidence and credibility – and eventually led him to resigning from his day job to devote himself full time to the venture.

Within two months, and with bankruptcy pending, he met Shane Bradley of, who brought with him resources in the form of both money and contacts. Rich threw himself into completing the content proposition, establishing key commercial relationships, and constructing the re-design of the site.

Now, two years on from that initial meeting, Rich’s passion and confidence are still there and they are beginning to prove well founded.

“We just keep on growing. We started 2008 with 10,000 unique visitors a month. We’re now looking at 70,000 – that’s nearly twice as many people as were at the Big Day Out this year.”

It is hard to believe Rich would ever lack confidence. Completing content proposition…hmmm…I wonder if he actually wrote down on the post-it notes that he is so fond of quoting, that he uses “Steal Content” as the content proposition.

I wonder how his advertisers like Continental Cars, Amstel Premium and Jack Daniels feel about his theft of our content to enable him to fill his pockets.  Probably the same way Veuve Clicquot and the NBR felt when they shafted social media in a small competition recently.  Nervous. Imagine the innovative and creative ways that New Zealand bloggers could destroy those three brands along with Get Frank?

In 2009 Rich’s monthly traffic was still barely what I get in a week….let alone Kiwiblog.

“I’ve got a million things to do, with a completely open canvas on how to deliver on each one of them. Working for yourself means everyday is an opportunity, and yeah, I’m loving it.”

Yeah, I just bet you are loving it…stealing other people work and fobbing it off to advertisers on pathetic traffic statistics and keeping all the money…I just bet you’re loving it …until now.  Sunshine being the best disinfectant on corporate criminals.

Now why was Rich Henry fired from the Apprentice?  The answer is very interesting

In a shock double elimination, the 26-year-old Aucklander and Meena Chaggen were sent packing after the boss, Terry Serepisos, accused them of duplicity.

Duplicity…look it up. If anyone knows duplicity when he sees it that would be Terry Serepisos.


duplicity (countable and uncountable; plural duplicities)

  1. Intentional deceptiveness; double-dealing.

Rich Henry was fired from The Apprentice for duplicity….which is how he conducts business with Get Frank and Adhub.

And don’t you just love Rich Henry’s last word on the Apprentice.

I’ve got my website and that’s just screaming ahead at the moment. I’ve got 25,000 people on the newsletter and that just continues to build. It’s a men’s magazine and we do about 35 articles a week. So yeah, it’s all really exciting.

“We do about 35 articles a week”…..what a liar…duplicitous even.

So what do we do about Get Frank and Rich Henry?

Well, I for one want all of my content taken down. It’s stolen after all. I’m pretty sure that other Blogger’s Union members will request the same. Then I’ll spread it around just what sort of thief Rich Henry is, endeavour to contact every single one of his content providers and show them this page, along with his advertisers.  New Zealand mainstream media loves knocking down failed Apprentice contestants on their business failures.  Even repeaters get paid for their content, they get pippy when their own content is stolen and re-sold for profit elsewhere.  Very pippy. Ask Barry Colman what he thinks of people who steal content.

I really think that he should be providing penalty payments and residuals in compensation for the work he has stolen.

The last thing I will do is complain to the NZICA, because Rich Henry wants to be a Chartered Accountant. Perhaps he should read their guidelines, particularly paragraphs 16-19.

Members must behave with Integrity in all professional and business relationships. Integrity implies not merely honesty but fair dealing and truthfulness.

16. Integrity is a quality of overriding importance for all members of the Institute. Integrity implies not merely honesty but fair dealing and truthfulness. It is members’ adherence to the fundamental principle of Integrity that allows the public to derive their trust in the accountancy profession. It is also the benchmark against which a member must ultimately test all decisions.

17. Integrity can accommodate the inadvertent error and honest difference of opinion. However, Integrity cannot accommodate deceit or subordination of principles, values and standards.

18. Integrity is measured in terms of what is right or just.

19. In the absence of specific rules, standards or guidance, or in the face of conflicting opinions, a member should test their decisions and actions against the following questions:

  • Am I doing what a person of Integrity would do?
  • Have I retained my Integrity?

Rule 13 is going to hurt too.

Any member who has reasonable grounds for suspecting defalcation, fraud, dishonesty or other unethical behaviour by any other member is under a duty to make a confidential report immediately to the Chief Executive of the Institute.

Bummer, the Whale will not be the issue here, Rich stole one content provider’s work – who just happens to be a member.

Rich Henry is a thief, a plagiarist and a liar. He is also now blacklisted by the Bloggers Union and anyone associated with him. De-linking and Cease and Desist action is taking place.

Never Fuck with a Blogger (NFWAB) especially if that blogger is me.