Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: After Len

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  • linger,

    Herald ’s view distorting Len’s:
    no news there!

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1889 posts Report Reply

  • Shaun Lott,

    Is Len Brown Auckland's Bill Clinton?

    But seriously... People need to fairly appropriate blame for rates rises to the intransigence of central government to allow other forms of raising local revenue. We pay rates in Rodney as well as Waitakere, and things got better not worse after amalgamation. I only hope the next incumbent has the ability to follow through on the infrastructure vision that Brown has been able to establish.

    Waitakere • Since Aug 2009 • 109 posts Report Reply

  • Angela Hart, in reply to Shaun Lott,

    I only hope the next incumbent has the ability to follow through on the infrastructure vision that Brown has been able to establish.

    yup, that's crucial

    Christchurch • Since Apr 2014 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • Wildo,

    The council was essentially set up to sell Auckland's assets, until that happens this govt isn't interested in helping Auckland in the slightest.

    Auckland • Since Sep 2014 • 10 posts Report Reply

  • John Holley,

    The FTE count may be lower, but you need the "fire alarm" count, which is how many people leave the building in an evacuation. The consultant/contractor/temp count is quite high I understand.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 142 posts Report Reply

  • James Littlewood*,

    I agree Auckland's better and also still improving. And the CCOs might be instrumental: fresh mandates and all that.

    But one thing strikes me as odd: Len's council equalised rates before equalising services. This seems to undermine the logic of amalgamation.

    So, out west, our rates went down, but we also get fewer services (i.e. the same ones we had before amalgamation). We pay separately for our rubbish, we have to separate paper from plastic and glass, and we don't get the inorganic collection. And between Pt Erin and Piha, there's only one decent swimming pool, which is in Henderson.

    If they'd equalised the basic services (OK forget the pool), then the suppliers might have been able to achieve greater economies, no?

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 410 posts Report Reply

  • Julie Fairey, in reply to James Littlewood*,

    The timeframe on equalising rates was set in the legislation. Many local boards requested Council to go back to Govt to get another year or two to smooth the transition but the indication from central govt was dim at best so that wasn't pursued.

    Puketapapa Mt Roskill, AK… • Since Dec 2007 • 234 posts Report Reply

  • Glenda, in reply to Wildo,

    Slowly those assets are being sold...not the big ones but the little ones...some should be sold like tiny slivers of land Council did not know they had. But some are really important for intensification to work...such as land that will become small parks in the future...and Local Boards are fighting ACPL and the Governing Body to stop those small parcels being sold. It is tough going to stop the sales.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2015 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • Glenda, in reply to James Littlewood*,

    Oh don't forget pools....There is a great Mt Albert Aquatic Centre...not far from the Baldwin Train station...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2015 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to James Littlewood*,

    But one thing strikes me as odd: Len's council equalised rates before equalising services. This seems to undermine the logic of amalgamation.

    I believe they were required by central government to introduce a unified rating system within three years. Hence the pain.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • kris_b, in reply to James Littlewood*,

    We pay separately for our rubbish, we have to separate paper from plastic and glass, and we don't get the inorganic collection.

    Sure, you pay for your rubbish bags. But in areas with wheelie bins, we pay a higher waste charge on our rates for it. Home on Te Atatu Peninsula Waste Charges: $88.68. Home in Newton Waste Charges: $225.56. And you also have the advantage of reducing your spend on rubbish bags if you reduce your rubbish output. I can't.

    And no one gets free-for-all inorganic collections anymore, the new scheme is simply being phased in, as any large scale rollout should be. Hell where I live in the CBD we've never had inorganic collections!

    I do however agree with the lack of public pools across the west and northwest, especially considering the massive growth planned for the northwest corridor. West Wave in Henderson is the only council-owned public pool in the area that stretches in an arc from Mt Albert to Albany. The North Shore, already flush with public pools, got a brand new National Aquatics Center right next to the existing Olympic sized pool at the Millennium Institute, and I understand another is planned for near North Harbour Stadium. Council owns I think 25 pools across Auckland, and ONE of them serves West Auckland.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2012 • 16 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    (Orsman writes this morning that Brown "began with a strong mandate, put the structures in place for the Super City ..

    It doesn't help civic discourse when a major media outlet's local govt specialist reporter either does not grasp or is willing to misrepresent who determined the structures. He has been consistently unhelpful and unprofessional for over a decade, yet still has a job.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19686 posts Report Reply

  • Howard Edwards,

    But a majority of the council itself rejected stunt amendments from Cameron Brewer to freeze staff costs, ...

    By the way, has anybody ever seen Cameron Brewer and Rick Moranis in the same room together?

    Albany • Since Apr 2013 • 66 posts Report Reply

  • Wildo, in reply to Howard Edwards,

    You take that back about Rick Moranis

    Auckland • Since Sep 2014 • 10 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to James Littlewood*,

    But one thing strikes me as odd: Len's council equalised rates before equalising services. This seems to undermine the logic of amalgamation.

    What Russell said. The law - Local Government (Auckland Transitional Provisions) Act 2010 - only provided for a three-year window to normalise rates across Megatropolis, opening 1/7/2012 and closing 30/6/2015. The Council's only choice was whether to stage the normalisation or to do it as a single big change in a single year.
    It wasn't "Len's council" that did it, it was Hide and his mates in central government who wrote and passed the law.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Morepork, in reply to kris_b,

    Lack of pools and recreation centres,in the west particularly in our poorest areas. I think there are 2 public pools/ recreation centres in the west, and 10 on the shore and 14 in the south, as well South's brand new performance arts centre. We have got 1 new arts centre in the West but we paid for a large share of that through the pokies and trusts. Add to that the West gives a complete monopoly to liquor with the revenue supposed to go to public good, we should be swimming in swimming pools. Alas, no. All is not well. Central and South have also enjoyed millions of investment from the power companies undergrounding their power poles. Council has said North Shore is next inline. Once again West Auckland is the poor cousin. They’ve had a rough run.

    auckland • Since Nov 2015 • 7 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Graham,

    Did anyone hear Bill Ralston on RNZ this morning? "Debt out of control"..."some one needs to step in..."..."rates, rates, rates." What utter bullshit. But if he keeps repeating it, he'll likely win because even though Auckland's rates are amongst the lowest in the country, who wants to pay more? Even if we have woefully underinvested in the city for decades (thanks to our friends, the CitRats).

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 215 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Sacha,

    It doesn’t help civic discourse when a major media outlet’s local govt specialist reporter either does not grasp or is willing to misrepresent who determined the structures.

    That was such a weird thing to write. The structures – with the exception of the Maori statutory board (which had to wait for councillors to set a budget) and the advisory panels – were put in place by the government.

    Note that Hide made a pig’s arse of the Maori statutory board requirements too.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Mark Graham,

    Did anyone hear Bill Ralston on RNZ this morning? “Debt out of control"…"some one needs to step in…"…"rates, rates, rates.” What utter bullshit.

    There is nothing out of control. Ralston’s “most indebted ratepayers in the country” claim refers to the Taxpayers’ Union’s ropey “per ratepayer” number. It’s not about counting landlords, ffs. There is, for instance, one ratepayer for all the rates-attracting properties owned by Housing New Zealand in Auckland.

    Also, Auckland Council has an S&P credit rating of AA: the same as the New Zealand government, better than most councils and better than all our banks.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Mark Graham,

    Debt out of control

    As Bernard Hickey has said on RNZ more than once, most households would be thrilled to have a mortgage of only double income.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Glenn Pearce, in reply to Russell Brown,

    There is, for instance, one ratepayer for all the rates-attracting properties owned by Housing New Zealand in Auckland.

    That is incorrect, "per ratepayer" figures refer to per "Rating Unit" which is basically 1 Certificate of Title so all Housing NZ would not count as 1 Ratepayer as you suggest.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 499 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Glenn Pearce,

    That is incorrect, “per ratepayer” figures refer to per “Rating Unit” which is basically 1 Certificate of Title so all Housing NZ would not count as 1 Ratepayer as you suggest.

    I stand corrected!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Matthew Poole,

    Or of less than 20% of their assets (I found the number: http://www.localcouncils.govt.nz/lgip.nsf/wpg_url/Profiles-Councils-Auckland-Council-F2

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    I've said it before; people want their pools and libraries (both around $10m plus operation) and they care about these much more than $50-100m roading upgrades.

    Can someone near to Phil Goff get him to promise free pools across the city? People would go wild for it.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • Glenn Pearce, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Asset backing is a poor measure of Council debt.

    Most council Assets have little market value and those that do have a commercial value are income generating to help lower the debt.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 499 posts Report Reply

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