White Water Rafting in Manukau or White Water Shafting in Auckland?
It seems Dodgy Governance at Auckland Council continues, again around the White Water
Rafting Shafting facility that was “approved” (subject to public “consultation”) by – oh look the Auckland Council Strategy and Finance Committee. The very same committee blasted over The Long Term Plan and the V8 saga down in Pukekohe!
A press release from Councillor Cameron Brewer – Orakei
Today’s revelation that neither Auckland Council’s own economic development unit nor Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED) were asked to have input or to review last week’s proposal to support a $20m – $30m ratepayer investment into a whitewater rafting facility in Manukau, shows the poor process surrounding the project going from bad to worse, say Auckland councillor Cameron Brewer, who chaired today’s Economic Forum.
“At today’s forum some councillors were genuinely surprised to hear from representatives of ATEED and council’s own EDU that neither were involved in the Counties Manukau Pacific Trust and Regional Facilities Auckland’s proposal for proceeds of a council land sale to go into converting a South Auckland paddock into a whitewater rafting facility.”
Mr Brewer says that’s concerning given the controversial proposal narrowly got through last week largely off the back of all the economic development promises sold to councillors.
The report circulated to the 4 October 2012 Strategy & Finance Committee promised that the project would create 110 full-time equivalent jobs, attract 31% of its visitors from outside the Auckland region and New Zealand, act as a catalyst to attracting quality development within the surrounding area, and contribute an additional $7.4m annually to Manukau’s GDP.
“Now we learn that the compelling economic story that helped to successfully sell this project was never audited or even inputted by council’s own economic team or ATEED which employs 60 people in its economic development operations alone. That’s not good enough, particularly when you consider the proponent’s business case for this facility was completed in July last year. As councillors we need to be confident that what is promised can stand up to scrutiny and that should start with internal reviews of such big economic promises at the very least.
“I support those councillors who now want to see this project’s economic feasibility and business case peer reviewed by either council’s own economic development unit or ATEED. That needs to be done before this project becomes part of council’s draft annual plan for 2013/14.”
“This project was rejected outright by the former Manukau City Council three years ago. It then somehow escaped this council’s proper 10-year Long Term Plan budgetary process, and now we learn it has also avoided the scrutiny of council’s two economic development teams despite it being sold as an economic development project. Ratepayers should be even more worried,” says Mr Brewer.
Well this sorry saga flies in direction contravention to just about every fundamental I stand for – for a better Auckland, specifically these points:
- Basics first: One thing I learnt when I moved out from the parents’ home and struck it out in the real world (including getting married and owning our first house) is that with the limited resources you have got, you did the basics first then with anything left over you just might be able to afford a luxury. Same applies to our civic institutions; they have limited resources so get the basics right first then “treat yourself or others” to a luxury if you are able to do so once the basics are taken care of.
- Listen and Engage: God gave us two ears and one mouth. In my line of work you actively listen with both ears THEN engage IN DAILOUGE with your one mouth. Not the other way around as that is usually monologue and the fastest way to get your ears clipped. Same applies to civic institutions: you actively listen with both ears THEN engage IN DAILOUGE with your one mouth unless you like getting your ears clipped… Oh and remember some days all the person wants you to do is JUST LISTEN to their little piece – as all we want some days is just to get it off our chests.
Council is not getting its basics right if it splashes out on this rather large-scale luxury item. Council is also not listening nor even consulting those who should be auditing this facility proposed in Manukau City so how the hell are we meant to display the remotest of confidence in our civic leaders which Councillors and the Mayor are.
The answer is we can NOT!
Council has infringed on my fundamentals with this White Water Shafting deal and I am not very happy about it – in fact I am disgusted by those Councillors who voted for the proposal…
Can I spin a positive out of this? Well apart from standing for Papakura Local Board next year the answer in short is sadly NO!
Although I have to ask this question: Do I continue to stand for Local Board, or try my hand at Council itself and try to tip out a centre-left sitting Councillor north of me (in other words NOT contesting Papakura as the current councillor centre-right and it is pointless trying to tip out one of your own). It is a question that I will need to think long and hard over as the elections draw near.
In the mean time it is back to submission and speech writing – before Council does anything else rather daft!