Month: March 2012

Costs in Building

http://transportblog.co.nz/2012/03/31/building-our-way-to-affordability/

I saw this article while cruising through Auckland Transport Blog this morning. In it was a table that I saw from some Australian research into effectively Brownfield and Greenfield development.

The figures were interesting as Auckland has just adopted its (C- grade) Auckland Plan which in-part spells out urban development over the next 30-odd years. Auckland is looking at around a 60:40 Brownfield:Greenfield split in urban development with hopefully some strict urban design protocols enacted as well.

Now the post also have some commentary from two prominent academics – Jane Jacobs and Edward Glaeser which were also interesting reads as I have studied the pair of them at university.

I will let you be the judge yourself on how we tackle restoring housing affordability in Auckland.

But from my point of view you can see my comment to the blog post below or read my Land Use Section of my submission to the Draft Auckland Plan – now Auckland Plan.

Shudder when that name Jane Jacobs gets mentioned (happens when you study Planning at Auckland Uni).

Ok so there is high demand for housing near or even in the CBD and its associated fringes if the media are anything to be given by. While some have unrealistic expectations (Champaign tastes on beer budgets syndrome) and possibly we are hopeless at spreading job centres around the entire city to slow down cross commuting (which would never happen so long as free choice remains) how do we get supply up near or in the CBD then?

Bob Harvey did say he could get 20,000 peeps down at Wynyard Quarter and the Viaduct (more like 7,500) http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/auckland-waterfront-could-home-20-000-4802792 Love to see that happen. We could squeeze a few more in Downtown – if we moved the port but anyone game for opening up our water frontier?

I guess the key point is that just as building more 5 bedroom McMansions on the urban edge won’t make a blind bit of difference to housing affordability, building super-flash inner city apartments, townhouses and terraced houses is also unlikely to help. Clearly, constrained housing supply leads to housing becoming unaffordable, but to resolve that we need to not only build more houses generally, we need to build more affordable houses. How to do that in a way that still allows developers to make a sufficient level of profit for them to bother is perhaps one of the biggest questions facing Auckland in the next few years <<<<< hang on let me find the link, Josh Arbury said something about it and I picked up on it as well: From Texas http://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2011/09/housing-supply-australia-look-to-texas-to-solve From Josh: http://transportblog.co.nz/2011/10/23/taking-a-fresh-look-at-planning-regulation/ Maybe relaxing the planning rules and fees so developers aren’t hoop jumping and shelling out the bucks for high planning compliance costs (I said planning not building – even I believe H3 and H4 timber should be used building houses)

My Submission:

I Do NOT Support the Auckland Plan

People are not happy with The Auckland Plan

 

Yesterday I posted on The Auckland Plan being brought into existence by Auckland Council (on a vote 16-5) and some musings on this historic document. I also stated that The Auckland Plan was “C-” grade (a bare pass) and lacked affordability measures myself and others had lobbied for in our submissions and presentations to Auckland Council. What I did not say in the post is whether I supported this Auckland Plan in its final form.

The answer is – (to be straight up with VOAKL readers) ‘No I do not support The Auckland Plan!’ In other words if I was a Councillor I would have voted AGAINST the Plan.

The reason why is this:

After reviewing the final version of The Auckland Plan and reading C&R’s piece I have come to the final conclusion that Auckland will be as of 10am today lugged with a C – grade Plan that does near nothing in addressing the situation at hand that is on people’s minds: Housing Affordability – not being priced out of a home. Transport came to mind but that I will leave to the Long Term Plan and Regional Land Transport Program when Hearings start for those (and I did submit on both so don’t worry readers).

Essentially The Auckland Plan in its current form did not address the following “goal” I had stated in my submissions – the goal being:

To accommodate employment and economic activity in supporting a healthy social and physical environment for over two million residents by 2040. In doing so The Plan has to follow the objective of being: Simple, Efficient, Thrifty, and restoring Affordability to residents and businesses while still making Auckland ‘The Most Liveable City.’

Chapters 9(Rural Auckland), 8 (I think that became Climatic Change), 10 (Urban Auckland) in my eyes failed in address the goal above, while Chapter 13 (Transport) was okay and can be worked on through the Long Term Plan and Regional Land Transport Program (to which I submitted and wished to be “heard” on) to help with the above goal.

So I am sorry, but I you can now say I am in opposition to The Auckland Plan and will seek “changes” in 2013 when the new council is brought in.

Taking a look on some comments that was coming in the media and social media – it would be apparent (despite Brian Rudman being the flag bearer of the Centre Left Stalinist approach) that there might be some serious opposition from people. You can see the comments in the NZ Herald through the hyper-link at the top of the post. For oppositional councillor and possible mayoral candidate (?) Cameron Brewer, this is what he had to say on Facebook after the passage of The Auckland Plan:

Auckland Council signed off its 30-year spatial plan today, with just three councillors voting against it – Dick Quax, Christine Fletcher and myself. I raised concerns about achieving such ambitious intensification targets when the trend has gone back to standalone housing; on-going affordability; adequate supply of business land; the protection of heritage in our high res areas which will come under a lot more development pressure; and the fact that the Mayor has failed to bring the Government to the table in signing up to his overly ambitious social, cultural, health, education, and environment targets prescribed in the plan. 
I pointed out that the Government wrote a foreword in the draft Auckland Plan, but they are absolutely nowhere to be seen in final document despite the Mayor promising us it would also be a collaboration. Without the Government, this plan is screwed – particularly when you consider their imminent legislative changes to rein in local government. Council officials put up amendments right at the very end saying they would seek greater alignment with Wellington, but for me it was too late. Without Government, this plan is sadly not worth the paper it’s written on.

(I have been told that there were five councillors voting against it, just awaiting conformation on that one)

So it seems we still have some work to do in getting Auckland moving forward. The first attempt via The Auckland Plan seems to have failed, lets hope the second and final attempt does not!

VOAKL will continue to run commentary on The Auckland Plan through to the 2013 local government elections

Do I Support The Auckland Plan

For or Against The Auckland Plan

 

Found out tomorrow morning at 7am when I spell out whether I support or am against The Auckland Plan

 

Here at VOAKL – An Average Ratepayers view of Auckland

Affordability is a Must. So does the Auckland Plan Fail?

Auckland Council finalises The Auckland Plan TODAY

 

Today is the historic day when Auckland Council adopts The Auckland Plan – the vision document for the next thirty years. An agenda plus attachments of today’s historic meeting plus the final version of the Auckland Plan can be found HERE (meeting of 29th March)!

There are also a media article and a press release floating around at the moment talking about the The Auckland Plan and today being the historic day. You can read Stuff’s “Final draft of Auckland plan locked in” and Citizen and Ratepayers “Don’t forget affordability, say independent councillors” articles by clicking on the respective hyperlinks.

After reviewing the final version of The Auckland Plan and reading C&R’s piece I have come to the final conclusion that Auckland will be as of 10am today lugged with a C – grade Plan that does near nothing in addressing the situation at hand that is on people’s minds: Housing Affordability – not being priced out of a home. Transport came to mind but that I will leave to the Long Term Plan and Regional Land Transport Program when Hearings start for those (and I did submit on both so don’t worry readers).

Starting with The Auckland Plan

I have mentioned that there was one Tactical Victory and one Strategic Victory in regards to The Draft Auckland Plan in regards to Climatic Change and Urban Development. However reading the final Plan those victories have been overshadowed by the overall defeat in The Auckland Plan achieving its primary supposed goal – that goal being (or rather should have been):  To accommodate employment and economic activity in supporting a healthy social and physical environment for over two million residents by 2040. In doing so The Plan has to follow the objective of being: Simple, Efficient, Thrifty, and restoring Affordability to residents and businesses while still making Auckland ‘The Most Liveable City.’

My goal was similar to the one the mayor had set out in The Auckland Plan, except mine had more “teeth” and actual objectives to it rather than the subjective terminology used by the mayor (in fact affordability did not even get a mention in the Mayor’s vision). Thus I look at Chapters Seven and Ten (Rural and Urban Auckland) and see apart from the Brownfield:Greenfield urban development ratio being moved to 60:40 (which was the strategic victory) the rest of those chapters are exactly the same DESPITE the editing or “playing around with English” that was made (playing with English means you change the words/wording but the end product is still the same as in the previous version). So I fail to see how affordability will be addressed in a Plan that showed little change.

As for the Citizens and Ratepayers piece:

I have time for CnR most days of a given week but today that seems to be in short supply. After reading the press release I had to wonder if the horse has already bolted and now they are trying to shut the gate.

I will post the actual release here – the hyperlink is at the top of the article:

C&R leader Christine Fletcher and key independent councillors have implored Mayor Len Brown and fellow councillors to not forget the principle of affordability in tomorrow’s governing body meeting to adopt the Auckland Plan.

“The Auckland Plan is a far-reaching, profound document for our city. But with all its grand plans for the future, it is missing one critical principle – that of affordability for Auckland’s residents and ratepayers”, said Cr Fletcher.

“That’s why I will be proposing an amendment by way of addition that the Auckland Plan does have regard to affordability as a principle. It’s simply not good enough for us as politicians to impose a wishlist of spending and visionary statements that will impact on future ratepayers and residents. For example, the Auckland Plan represents a 30 year program of spending, but as politicians, we only have provided a 10 year long term plan for budgeting”, said Cr Fletcher.

“Including an amendment to have affordability as a principle for Aucklanders over the next 30 years means that residents and ratepayers can have confidence that they won’t be priced out of living in Auckland. There are many people in Auckland who are on fixed incomes, or who will be on fixed incomes over time. They need the certainty of knowing they won’t be financially hurt to live in Auckland”, said Cr Fletcher.

“I am pleased that this amendment will have the support of the C&R bloc and key independent councillors. I hope it meets favour with an overall council majority as well”, said Cr Fletcher.

“Not to forget the principle of affordability.” Now if there was ever political posturing seen in local politics that would have to be it – as that entire amendment is nothing more that political posturing! The principles of affordability should have been fought tooth and bloody nail when Rural and Urban Auckland were being deliberated on by Auckland Council – however I see that it clearly was not. No point raising the amendment now if the actual question was failed to be addressed in the deliberation stage AND not mentioned as oppositional policy for 2013 when the next available chance for an Auckland Plan rewrite is available. Let me remind C&R of MY GOAL that I had raised and was even heavily scrutinised by the late Owen McShane – champion of urban freedom and affordability:

The Auckland Plan should have One Goal: To accommodate employment and economic activity in supporting a healthy social and physical environment for over two million residents by 2040. In doing so The Plan has to follow the objective of being: Simple, Efficient, Thrifty, and restoring Affordability to residents and businesses while still making Auckland ‘The Most Liveable City.’

In doing that I had written my land use chapter of my submission which can be found in the embed below. Simplistic as my Land Use Chapter was, the entire  weight and merits behind that chapter laid in its simplicity – PLANNING SIMPLICITY. The very same planning simplicity that would (in my honest and frank opinion) be the best weapon in achieving that “Most Liveable City” dream that was being constantly hammered on about.

Official logo of Auckland Council
Official logo of Auckland Council (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So has The Auckland Plan failed: I say it barely passes with a C- grade (lowest pass you can get at university) but it would not take much to tip it over to that F grade at all. The only thing stopping a total fail was Chapter 11 – Transport which had merits to it, if it was not for the transport chapter I would have given the Plan an F(ail)

Oh well – nothing short of the Prime Minister can stop today at the old Manukau Civic Council Chambers today as The Auckland Plan is brought into actual existence. Although I did not say ratified – that will not happen until 2013 when Auckland votes in its new council and mayor. We throw out existing members it means we reject the Plan, we bring them back in it means we approve the Plan.

So banging on about a C – grade Plan is not going to assist Auckland very much except maybe spin a wind turbine and add to “global warming” 😛 . The Plan needs a rewrite and can be only done in 2013 with a new Council in place – so a challenge to anyone: Stand by your Principles and run for Auckland Council to deal with the affordability principles?

 

My Original Submission to The Auckland Draft Plan

 

Debt Continued

Some Key Facts on Council Debt

 

I was tagged in a ‘Note’ on Facebook last night by Puketapapa Local Board Deputy Chairman Nigel James Turnbull on Auckland Council Debt.

Nigel had compiled some “Key Facts” on Auckland Council revenue, expenditure and debt over the life span of the 2012-2022 Long Term Plan – to which submissions were recently called for (and I (amongst others) wrote).

I will let you read his note below and draw your own conclusions. All attributes and “rights” on the ‘Note’ belong to Nigel – I have just “shared” the information here at VOAKL

AUCKLAND COUNCIL 

DRAFT LONG TERM PLAN 2012-2022

 

KEY FACTS 

FINANCIAL STRATEGY 

Auckland Council’s proposed Long Term Plan forecasts spending of $58.4 billion in the next 10 years on:

 

Capital expenditure                 $20.2 billion 

Operating expenditure                        $38.2 billio

 

Auckland Council has to increase the amount that can be borrowed to fund its spending from 175% of net debt to total revenue to 275% because unless this increase occurs Auckland Council will be in breach of its liability management policy by 2014/15. 

The liability management policy and the council investment policy make up Auckland Council’s treasury management policy that is required to be disclosed in the Long Term Plan under the Local Government Act 2002. (Refer to Volume Three Chapter 12 from page 244).

 

Also, Auckland Council has set liquidity limits of: 

Net interest as a percentage of total revenue                 

Net interest as a percentage of annual rates income

 

These ratios are needed because of debt. 

By 2016 the percentage of net interest to rates income will have increased to 20.4% from its current level of 11.9%, and it will continue to increase until 2022 when almost one quarter of rates income (22.6%) will be used to pay interest on debt. This excludes the financial impact of Watercare which is part of Auckland Council Group and assumes receipt of government funding. 

Refer to Financial Strategy in Volume One from page 29 and to Volume Three page 38 for the impact of these ratios. 

 

BORROWING 

In 2011/2012 Auckland Council group debt is $4.5 billion and it will increase annually reaching $12.4 billion by 2022. 

Refer to Volume One page 37 for debt policy and to Volume Three: Note 5 – Prospective Prudential Financial Ratios page 35 for details by year. 

 

REVENUE

 

Auckland Council receives most revenue from General Rates, Targeted Rates, User Charges and Fees. 

Auckland Council charges General and Targeted rates differently based on the level of service received or used, and “ability to pay”. 

INDIVIDUAL RATEPAYERS increase or decrease in rates payable is determined by capital property values and other factors.  

TOTAL RATES REVENUE will increase from $1.4 billion in 2012 to $2.3 billion by 2022. 

GENERAL RATES across all ratepayers from 2012 will increase on average by 3.6% plus GST with additional annual average increases of at least 4.7% until 2022, i.e. from $1.27 billion to $2.21 billion. Auckland Council derived the percentage increases by applying a projected weighted average annual inflation rate of 3.5% in 2012/2013 and an additional 1.4% thereafter.

 

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) annual increase over the same period is about 2.6% 

Refer to Volume One pages 35 and 36 for the impact of rates increases, to Volume Three from page 155 for different levels of rates and types of rates.

 

TARGETED RATES are additional to general rates and may be specific e.g. on properties close to public transport, for solid waste collection (rubbish), retrofitting home insulation, or be applicable to groups of ratepayers e.g. business improvement district (BID) charges. 

FEES AND USER CHARGES of $15.56 billion will be collected from ratepayers over the next decade. Many changes will occur from 2012 particularly Water and Sewerage, and Waste and Recycling. The latter will also incur an additional targeted rate.  Other costs including Development charges and Regulatory Fees e.g. Resource and Building consents, dog fees, environmental health and licensing services have also changed.

 

Auckland Council states that fees and charges will increase by 3.3% to cover the costs of inflation. This percentage is not reflected in the Long Term Plan detail specified in Volume One from page 36 and in Volume Three from page 124. 

Volume Three Chapter 2.5 Notes to the financial statements  Note 3: Sources of Income page 35 has additional detail. 

 

 

SPENDING

 

TRANSPORT  over 10 years:

 

Capital Expenditure                $9.5 billion       =          47% of Total Capital Cost       

Operating Expenditure                        $12.6 billion     =          33% of Total Operating Cost 

City Rail Link                           $2.4 billion (net capital cost) assumes 50% contributed by Govt 

Rail electrification                   $534 million for trains (over five years) 

AMETI.                                        $746 million (2012-2022 only) 

Whangaparoa/Motorway        $110 million 

Cycling infrastructure             $85 million 

Albany highway                      $73 million 

Public Transport Subsidy        $73.5 million 

Dominion Road                       $69 million 

Refer to Volume Two from page 84

 

WATER AND SEWERAGE  over 10 years

 

Capital Expenditure                $4.9 billion       =          23.5% of Total Capital Cost    

Operating Expenditure                        $6.4 billion       =          16.8% Total Operating Cost 

Borrowing: 2011/2012 is $2.9 billion increasing to $4.0 billion by 2021/2022 

Refer to Volume Two from page 74

 

LOCAL BOARDS

 

Capital Expenditure                                        $1.2 billion 

Operating Expenditure                                    $3.8 billion 

Refer to Volume Four for individual board details

 

OTHER SPENDING

 

Stormwater                                         $960 million 

Events and visitor attractions              $129 million 

Wynyard Quarter                                $171 million 

Tamaki Innovation precinct                $28 million 

Cruise ship terminal                            $21 million 

Wynyard Innovation precinct              $10 million 

Super Yacht refit facility                     $17 million 

Regional parks acquisition                  $41 million 

Heritage protection                             $25 million 

Sportsfields – winter upgrades                        $89 million 

Library improvements                         $39 million 

International Relations                                    $12.2 million

 

COMET 

The Auckland Council Long Term Plan also includes social spending. An example is COMET, (City of Manukau Education Trust), a Council Controlled Organisation. This entity has existed for 15 years. Its objective is to teach literacy skills, primarily to Maori and Pacific Island adults. Over the next decade $1.4 million is committed to COMET. Auckland Council also intends to create a new CCO and expand the scope to include the entire Auckland Region.

 

MAORI INITIATIVES 

Between $120 million to $295 million will be spent on eight priority areas for specific Maori communities. Refer to Volume One from page 24 and Volume Two page 121 for more details.

 

WEATHER TIGHTNESS CLAIMS 

$487 million is budgeted in the Long Term Plan to settle outstanding claims that will be funded from borrowing spread over 30 years.

 

Disclaimer: All information has been extracted from the Auckland Council Draft Long Term Plan 2012-2022, Volumes One to Four.

 

Now looking at all the above, it seems five of my six “core-debt” principles I had drawn up on my submission to the Draft Long Term Plan are going to be breached (the only principle not breached was total debt not exceeding 67% of total assets). There goes Fiscal-Neutral budgets and fiscal prudence from Auckland Council.

Time to get the ruler and red pen out and go through the budget line by line.

 

The Core Debt Principles per my Draft Submission to the LTP:

Assuming all revenue collected = 1 or 100%, then total outgoings should not exceed 1 or 100% from both the OPEX and CAPEX Lines.

With debt repayments the following guidelines are suggested:

All revenue collected = 1

1)      Total debt repayment including interest from the OPEX Line should be no more than 0.05 to 1 (meaning a 5% maximum of total revenue gained should be spent repaying OPEX debt).

2)      Total debt repayment including interest from the CAPEX Line should be no more than 0.15 to 1 (meaning a 15% maximum of total revenue should be spent repaying CAPEX debt)

3)      Total debt repayment from both CAPEX and OPEX thus should not exceed 0.2 to 1 (meaning no more that 20% of total revenue gained should be expended on debt repayment including interest)

4)      If you need more that the maximum percentages given to repay OPEX/CAPEX debt then it means you have borrowed or spent too much – get costs under control!

5)      If all annual revenue collected = 1 then annual expenditure including servicing debt) should not exceed 1, if annual expenditure does exceed 1 (meaning a fiscal deficit budget) then that deficit should not exceed 1.1x total annual revenue collected in that given financial cycle –  the debt thus accumulated repaid within three years of occurring.

6)      In regards to total existing debt verse assets – to keep the 1:0.2 (revenue : % paid of total revenue to debt) feasible; total existing (plus the addition of new) debt should not exceed total Council assets by the 67% mark to avoid negative gearing) – AND/OR In regards to total new debt acquired verse total annual income, total new debt acquired over a standard financial cycle should not exceed 200% of total annual income over that same standard financial cycle (1:2). This section includes both CAPEX and OPEX borrowings/debt

In regards to revenue gathering, the council has these methods either available or should be advocating for supplementing standard rates income:

  • Targeted Rates (more likely to be in the CBD for the CRL and Wynyard Quarter), areas next to the Northern Bus-way, and most likely Manukau, Panmure and Botany for large infrastructure projects either being built or planned to be built)
  • Bed Tax in the CBD (cover the City Centre Renewal)
  • Advocate for GST Revenue sharing with Central Government (50% of all GST raised should be shared with Local Authorities based on population)
  • Congestion Charge on the motorway network between Mt Wellington, Great North Road and Takapuna. However this would only work if the Eastern Highway and Second Harbour Crossing was built plus the completion of the Western Ring Route to allow viable bypassing of the CBD inner motorway network
  • Lowering the Development Contribution Fees and liberalise planning rules per the SLPD DURT Busting campaign to allow development to be responsive to demand and allow the private sector to assist in providing infrastructure via the Municipal Utilities District program like in Huston, Texas.

These measures above in regards to repayments, debt : assets, debt : income, and revenue : expenditure is designed to keep the Council Books in a healthy position and not creating extra burden on struggling ratepayers. These measures are “tough,” but coupled with what is proposed in the ‘Better Local Government 2011’ paper, quality services while keeping the cost to ratepayers reasonable is achievable.

 

That would be my policy for consideration and debate if I were to ever run for Auckland Council.

Port of Auckland Relocation Work Ctd

I Continue work on Draft Drawings for a Relocated Port of Auckland

I managed to find some time today to get some pictures and draw up a few more crude drawings on the my proposed POAL relocation site – in South East Auckland.

I had to change things around a bit with the port and its proposed shape it would take at this proposed new site to accommodate Duder Regional Park that is close by to the north. Essentially I have had to build the port out into the water with two long piers rather than running parallel to shore (like Port of Tauranga) to accommodate the shipping that would visit the port. It is a bit hard to explain so lets get some pictures up shall we?

Port Relocation Overview

Click on the picture to view at full resolution

You can see the existing POAL site to the left with the shipping lane (58km in yellow) to the mid Hauraki Gulf, with the proposed relocation site to the middle of the picture with its shipping lane (63km approx. in white).

You can also see the amount of urban development there is around the existing support while the proposed new port is able to start afresh in virgin Greenfield land. This also includes support infrastructure such as industry, logistics and residential being able be built in the Greenfield land as well – connected by two arterial roads and a rail branch line.

The proposed POAL relocation site is also sheltered from all-weather making it an ‘all-weather’ facility.

Proposed Port of Auckland Relocation – Closer Up and relation to Westfield/Metro Port

POAL Relocation Drawings - Closer Up

Click on the picture to view at full resolution

In this picture you can see a closer up shot of the proposed Port of Auckland relocation site and its supporting road and rail links. Those who saw the first close up shots in a previous posting would have noticed I had shrunk the Port footprint area; this is to accommodate Duder Regional Park which is home to some our sensitive wild life. As a result of this accommodation I have had to create upwards of three piers into the water to allow the new POAL to accommodate the shipping with the parallel to shore options (seen with Port of Tauranga) effectively ruled out past a set point (read further below).

The picture also shows the transit links to and from the new port site to connections such as State Highway One and the North Island Main Trunk Rail Line. What I have not shown is the Greenfield urban expansion zone to the east of the existing Takanini/Papakura urban area – that will be covered in another post.

Port of Auckland Drawings

Port of Auckland Working MK2

Click on the picture to view at full resolution

I recommend opening the picture up in a new tab on your browser to see all the annotations that assist in explaining the drawings.

The Drawing shows how the port could be possibly “worked” with a land base and three piers that stick out into the water to load and unload the boats. The main road and rail transit link is located to the south end of the Port and connect back to either the Main Trunk Line or State Highway One at the enhanced Takanini Interchange.

Now before I go into the construction phase as this would be a 25 year project, I better give some numbers and comparisons to Port of Tauranga our chief competitor.

Total Berthing Capacity for Port of Tauranga (regardless of Cargo) is around 2.73km with potential of another kilometre being added as the PoT grows. This breaks down to: 2km of general cargo berthing space, a 230m liquid and wood-chips pier and 500m for the container terminal fitted with four quay cranes.

The new proposed Port of Auckland site would have a total of 4,999m of berthing space (around 4,500m if you take into account limitations on the west end) when all three piers are built, and if the seaward side of the North East Pier was used a grand total of 5,899m berthing space. Effectively 1.5-2.0x the total amount of berthing space to PoT. However the new proposed port would be built in a phased approach to allow a smooth transition from the old site to the new; so the proposed relocated POAL would not reach 4,999m for 20-25 years.

Below is a gallery of where the port is proposed to site as from the view at Duder Regional Park:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Construction Phase

Building the new Port of Auckland would be done over time frame of 20-25 years and in various stages. This allows for a smooth transition between the existing and new POAL sites to minimise disruption to people, businesses and the environment.

The phased operation would go something like this:

  1. Port Land Area with the first pier built parallel to shoreline – giving 1,340 metres of initial berthing space to ships. First Transit Link using existing roads is built, rail line under construction
  2. 1,500 metre (x 220m) North Pier is built giving an extra 2,139m of berthing space. Rail link construction complete, new direct arterial road link under construction
  3. 1,000 metre (x 205m) East Pier is built giving the new POAL site a total of 3,359m of total berthing space (2,859m if accounting for limitations on the original parallel to shore pier). Direct Arterial Link Road is complete
  4. 1,000 metre (x 250m) East Pier Extension is built giving POAL a total berthing by metre capacity of 4,359m (deduct 500m for the limitations mentioned above)
  5. If needed then you have the 900 metre (x 260m) North East Pier (attached to East Pier Extension) giving a grand total capacity of 4,999 metres (deduct 500m for limitations mentioned above) Now the 4,999m figure includes 200m being lost from the Eastern Pier Extension due to the North East Pier being attached to it

Time frame – 25 years maximum

The piers would be on piles rather than infill. This allows the tidal flows to continuously flush the bay and Port zone, slowing down sediment and pollutant build up.

So this is where I am currently with POAL Relocation Draft Drawings, if I feel brave enough I might attempt at some 3D modelling – but that could be testing me beyond my limits. However with continual coverage of POAL here at VOAKL I will switch focus to the transit links, surrounding urban development and some possible sites for inland ports and large logistic hubs.

In the meantime – constructive criticism is always welcome

Dr Who

The First Preview to Doctor Who 2012

 

I am a Dr Who fan and love watching the show since I was small.

BBC have released their first preview of the 2012 series of The Doctor – and seems he has some issues out in the American Wild West (oh and trying not to get shot with Amy brandishing a revolver like a salt shaker)

Have a look in the embed link below

Dr Who – 2012

Debt

My Belief on Debt

 

I have a view on debt, that is it is required to fund certain things like for example our first house and some minor renovations to it (Paint, HRV, Garden). Those who have mortgages and credit cards are using debt instruments to fund their acquisitions. The private sector (businesses) use debt (ideally) to fund their CAPEX (capital expenditure) lines on new assets – although debt can be used in the short-term for OPEX (Operating Expenditure) short falls when costs are more than revenue (long-term continuous OPEX debt means trouble).  The Public Sector also uses debt to fund the CAPEX line and from time to time the OPEX lines when revenue does not quite make it. Then there is the issue  of repaying the debt without bankrupting yourself from excessive debt and subsequent repayments.

In a perfect world a budget should always be neutral/balanced – however that is not possible. There are times when the budget goes into deficit and you need to borrow, there are times when the budget runs into a surplus and you get savings. The main objective is to try to maintain a balanced budget HOWEVER if you have deficits occurring then that deficit needs to be rectified, the debt serviced and the budget restored to a neutral position. Thus the quote that sits on the Whale Oil site always brings a smile to my face when I see it – as I believe in it all the way.

“The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled. Public debt should be reduced. The arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled. The assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance.”— Marcus Tullius Cicero

 

With that quote in mind – I drew up some Debt Guidelines for Auckland Council in my submission to the Draft Long Term Plan.

Lets hope Council can keep debt down and the budgets neutral.

A Waterfront where we can touch the Water-frontier?

Imagine a waterfront that lives up to the City of Sails – National – NZ Herald News.

 

Saw this particular while cruising through the Herald Online this morning (and while having a chuckle over ghost bridges).

I must say it is a beautiful article and it actually tugged on my heart-strings – probably because the article covered something in such a wide-scope that is very close to me as I “battle-on” in doing my part for a better Auckland.

I for one want to see the Port relocated away from the waterfront so that Auckland and the world can enjoy this harbour frontier right on the door steps of the CBD – rather than be fenced off as of current. I did notice this in the article:

There was fury last month when it was revealed that the draft Auckland plan – a hefty document bringing together the plans of all the city’s previous councils under the new Super City – included plans for the port to increase markedly in size and capacity, from 77ha to 95ha.

The area being eyed for expansion is 50 per cent bigger than the Auckland Domain and stretches into the harbour.

Outraged, some groups hit back by questioning whether there needs to be a port in downtown Auckland at all. Some suggest it be moved to the Firth of Thames on the eastern fringe of the city, as London has done with Thurrock, 45km east of the CBD.

Others say the Government should beef up the Port of Tauranga, where there is more space, or even move the shipping to Whangarei where there is a deep-water port ready to handle the bigger boats.

Basically sums up the entire argument in a nutshell – with me personally wanting to see the Port relocated to that Firth of Thames location in the south-east of the city.

There was some concerns though in relocating the Port away from its current position:

Swney concedes the loss of an inner-city port would mean a loss to the Auckland Council in the dividends it currently gets, which, it could be argued, will put more strain on the rates coffers. The port currently hands over a dividend of 6 per cent and has been told to increase that to 12.

Maritime Union spokesman Garry Parsloe points out that, on top of that, the port creates manufacturing jobs and factories and helps the city grow.

“It’s very important for the city’s revenue,” he says. “It returns many millions to Auckland every year.”

There’s also the issue of jobs. Parsloe says without the port there would be massive unemployment.

Auckland Mayor Len Brown has said a working port is critical to the health of Auckland economy.

Ports of Auckland chief executive Tony Gibson has said the port needs to grow to meet economic growth goals in the council’s own plan, not be sidelined

 

Gentlemen – you concerns are well founded but somewhat misplaced. If the port was relocated to south-east Auckland at the Firth of Thames, the port would be still within Auckland territorial authority limits. Thus there would be no revenue loss to Auckland Council at all, if anything there would be a revenue gain from a larger, more efficient, more productive port. Same to Mr Parsloe of MUNZ, relocating the Port to south-east Auckland actually allows for growth at the port as well our manufacturing and transport facilities. Commercial and industrial development would follow the relocated port to flat, blank, virgin Greenfield sites between the new relocated Port and the eastern fringes of Takanini/Papakura. New road and rail links would also bolster urban development creating more jobs and revenue for the city. Mayor Brown, relocating the Port to south-east Auckland would still allow a functioning if not BETTER functioning port which as you said “critical to the health of the Auckland economy.” I challenge you Mr Mayor to lead and facilitate all that is required in conducting that Independent Enquiry I have repeatedly asked for on POAL to see and prepare for any port relocations. Mr Gibson – I think you have other things to worry about right now such as your job and the industrial relations dispute that is not helping the city.

 

So then, its time to get some serious (earth) moving going and deal with this waterfront issue once and for all.

The following links lead to commentary or work on Port of Auckland relocation ideas:

Draft Drawings of a relocated port in south-east Auckland. Note requires Google Earth for the file extension attached in the post

The Port Relocation Options and Letter to Auckland Council on The Independent Enquiry – as part of my submission to the Draft Long Term Plan

For those who can not access Google Earth, a smaller picture of the first draft drawing on relocating POAL to South East Auckland – note there are no annotations in this picture

Draft Non Annotated Drawing on POAL Relocation to SE Auckland

Whoops at Sunnynook Station

Ghost Bridge?

This came across my Facebook Box this morning:

Bridge – where?

Apparently according to Councillor George Wood of the North Shore Ward, there is no such bridge – in existence yet. It is planned and most likely being built (or about to) however the point being it is not quite there just yet.

Bit of a typo? VOAKL thinks so in jumping the gun with ghost bridges and bridges to no-where.

But then again – the typo in the picture above was not as bad as the typo I saw on Friday – and that one had far more serious consequences.

Oh well – back to reality folks?