Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Someone has to be accountable for this

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  • Russell Brown,

    We have a result! Orsman in the Herald:

    Super City reporter Local Government Minister Rodney Hide says there is nothing contradictory about a promise last year to build a new Super City computer system for $126 million and the final bill of $576 million.

    Writing in the Herald in June last year to "get a few facts on the table", Mr Hide said there was a $60 million upfront investment for information technology and a "further $66 million on IT to finish the job post November 1 (when the Super City came into being)".

    Yesterday, Mr Hide and Auckland Transition Agency boss Mark Ford distanced themselves from the projected $576 million bill to complete a new computer system, saying their job was only to get a basic system in place for the Super City on day one.

    At no stage in the Herald article or in a May 27, 2010, press release on transition costs did Mr Hide mention the long-term IT costs, which were presented to Auckland councillors behind closed doors this month.

    Making matters worse for ratepayers, the council has only budgeted $150 million for the $450 million cost over the next eight years. This has left a $300 million shortfall that will have to be borrowed or paid for from rates at a time of economic hardship.

    I even get a mention, which is kind, given that all I've done is shouted about it occasionally.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22712 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Russell Brown,

    We have a result! Orsman in the Herald:

    At long last. Next stop: the Auditor-General's Office.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5410 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    We have a result!

    Except that it was Orsman who wrote the original article. Better than a slap in the face with a wet fish though.

    Why isn't Campbell Live "across" this?

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Withers,

    National and ACT lied about how much the super city would cost. Now there's a surprise.

    Even more clever is the same people trying to blame Len Brown for the apparent dysfunction of the structures these same people imposed.

    WHO VOTES FOR THESE PEOPLE!!!!

    Auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 312 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Steve Withers,

    Even more clever is the same people trying to blame Len Brown for the apparent dysfunction of the structures these same people imposed.

    This was predicted last year and, verily, has come to pass.

    It's really hard to look at this and not conclude that costs were deliberately hidden until they could be blamed on the new council.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22712 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Auckland Council chief executive Doug McKay implies that something can be done about this.

    The projected $450 million over the next eight years, he said, would go into the council's long-term plan next year and be subject to consultation.

    Mr McKay said the council would be "all ears" to IT experts and all projects would include a business case.

    True?

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • stephen walker,

    from the Orsman article:

    Said Mr Ford: "It was always clear that further spending was likely at a later stage, but the level of future expense, timing and prioritisation are issues for the council to decide."

    Auckland Council chief executive Doug McKay said there was no cost blowout with IT.

    He said the $450 million figure in the budget was for IT spending over 10 years, whereas the $126 million figure used by Mr Hide was for a day-to-day system developed by the transition agency and implemented over two years.

    The projected $450 million over the next eight years, he said, would go into the council's long-term plan next year and be subject to consultation.

    Mr McKay said the council would be "all ears" to IT experts and all projects would include a business case.

    so they aren't actually contractually committed to spending the $450 million? which is it?

    nagano • Since Nov 2006 • 645 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Russell Brown,

    It's really hard to look at this and not conclude that costs were deliberately hidden until they could be blamed on the new council.

    My thoughts exactly. I've previously predicted a Greater London Council-style showdown, and this is no exception.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5410 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to 3410,

    Why isn't Campbell Live "across" this?

    Too complex for tv?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19633 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    More interference from central government - Joyce gets the review he wanted of the cbd rail tunnel business case.

    It’s particularly interesting to see how divergent the Council and Government’s views are on major things like the level of transportation benefits and wider economic benefits.

    Here’s the Council’s media release:

    ...

    ”The need for the tunnel is now urgent,” says Len Brown “Within two years most of the useable train paths in and out of Britomart will be in use, providing virtually no room to add future services at a time when public transport patronage is going through the roof.”

    “The rail tunnel will unlock unused capacity across the whole rail network,” says Len Brown. “It will double the number of trains that can go through Britomart, let Aucklanders and freight more move around the region more easily, and reduce congestion on our roads."

    ...

    Auckland Council and Auckland Transport have advised that combining the conventional transport benefits from their policy case, and estimating WEBs based on the policy case equates to total benefits of $1,863 million or up to $3,868 million if regional economic benefits are included. This equates to a total benefit to cost ratio of between 1.1 and 2.3.

    Central government officials have considered these additional WEBs in light of best practice and conclude that due to a number of evidential and methodological issues they are not appropriate for inclusion in the economic assessment.

    That decison dramatically reduces the project's Benefit-Cost Ratio:

    That the re-calculated BCR consistent with the NZTA Economic Evaluation Manual used for roading projects was 0.3; with the additional wider economic benefits taking it to 0.4

    Why, that's even lower than the holiday highway. How convenient.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19633 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to Sacha,

    the NZTA Economic Evaluation Manual used for roading projects

    I can imagine that...
    Minister.. "So how many more trucks can we get through Auckland if we build this rail tunnel?"
    Research assistant with a copy of the NZTA Economic Evaluation Manual used for roading projects in his shaking hands.. "None Sir"
    "Well that's no good then is it"
    "No, Sir"

    Do they not have an "NZTA Economic Evaluation Manual used for rail projects"?

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • stephen walker,

    Do they not have an "NZTA Economic Evaluation Manual used for rail projects"?

    no.

    nagano • Since Nov 2006 • 645 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell, in reply to BenWilson,

    In learning it, they found that they already had all of the tools before, of course, they had to because the issues they were designed to solve had come up many times over the years. So they were just learning stuff they already knew how to do

    O how familiar this sad tale! :)
    We have been prodded into sharepoint training. I wish I could think of something - just one thing- it could usefully do that we can't do already, far more simply, elegantly, or thoroughly.
    But I can't.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2087 posts Report Reply

  • Adam Gifford, in reply to John Holley,

    I'm not saying SAP can't be a great system. But if you want it to be inflexible and hierarchical, it really delivers. As you've told me often, it's all about the bits you do before it even gets to the technology.

    Auckland • Since May 2011 • 7 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Why isn't Campbell Live "across" this?

    Too complex for tv?

    I just don't get the deafening silence from almost all quarters.

    Even No Right Turn has nothing...

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to 3410,

    I just don’t get the deafening silence from almost all quarters.

    The Herald story itself is on page 7 of the paper. Not really getting why it isn't front-page news.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22712 posts Report Reply

  • bmk, in reply to Russell Brown,

    The Herald story itself is on page 7 of the paper. Not really getting why it isn’t front-page news

    Because there are far more important stories.

    Since Jun 2010 • 327 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Not really getting why it isn't front-page news.

    I guess one bottle of wine is a tragedy; hundreds of millions of dollars is a statistic.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Roger Lacey, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Yesterday, Mr Hide and Auckland Transition Agency boss Mark Ford distanced themselves from the projected $576 million bill to complete a new computer system, saying their job was only to get a basic system in place for the Super City on day one.

    I see it clearly now, the savings of a Super city only made sense only if you hid the true cost of making it happen.
    So to save the estimated $76 million by getting a super city we now need to spend $576 million on a computer for it. You plonker Rodney!
    He and Mark Ford should be given a teaspoon each and made to dig the Britomart Rail link tunnel.

    Whatakataka Bay Surf Club… • Since Apr 2008 • 148 posts Report Reply

  • stever@cs.waikato.ac.nz,

    Did either of the declared candidates for Epsom have any hand in any of this?

    Hamilton • Since Nov 2006 • 73 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Not really getting why it isn’t front-page news.

    Maybe it needs a snappy News brand :
    - KY2 , Auckland shafted by Computer
    - IT came from the future
    - SAP ping the Supercity

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7848 posts Report Reply

  • Mr Merde,

    You are still only talking chump change. IT will blow out to be the single most expensive division of the Auckland Council. It is being run to the methods and rules of the old ACC with all its inherited inefficiencies. As an example the Civic Building has been known for the past 12 years to be rotten with asbestos and only now are they looking at moving the data centre. Now when the cost can be spread over a greater number of ratepayers rather than anytime over the past 12 years where ACC would have had to find the millions. Products are being bought and implimented that are outdated and not compatable with later versions of existing applications as a result the norm is to regress to older versions of applications. There is a segregation between IT departments that makes it extremely difficult to run efficiently. Brought about by the current ethos of empire building within IT. The impression at the grassroots is of, one great mess, with a few persons benifitting from the chaos

    Auckland • Since May 2011 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Mr Merde,

    Products are being bought and implimented that are outdated and not compatable with later versions of existing applications as a result the norm is to regress to older versions of applications.

    I'm told the new system isn't IPv6 capable, which seems crazy.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22712 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming,

    In other news today from the Gummint:
    Government reviews more state agencies

    New group to advise on state sector reform (be afraid - it includes Mark Ford)

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2925 posts Report Reply

  • Mr Merde, in reply to Russell Brown,

    One application recently implimented is Symantec Vault for Exchange. I have heard of a number of persons who were running Office 2007 and "Vault" wouldnt work. The reason being that the version Auckland bought wasnt compatible. The solution was to downgrade the users to Office 2003. All this when Office 2010 has now been released. Wasted money?

    Auckland • Since May 2011 • 2 posts Report Reply

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