Shift Over Auckland Council

Time For the Private Sector to get involved

 

With The Clunker

 

Disclaimer: I haven’t had to put one of these in here but in this case I do. I do declare a ‘Conflict of Interest’ in this post as I am the Managing Director of TotaRim Consultancy Limited – a consultancy firm that does deal with Urban and Transport Planning/Management. However the point made in this post does stand with bringing in the private sector for the next round of engagement processes. 

 

 

I have been watching the developments of Councillor George Wood’s Notice of Motion involving The Clunker and the results that have come from it. The Notice of Motion per page 7 of the Auckland Council Governing Body Agenda was the following:

10 Notices of Motion
10.1 Notice of Motion – Cr Wood – Unitary Plan notification
In accordance with Standing Order 3.11.1, the following Notice of Motion has been received from Cr George Wood for inclusion on the agenda for the Governing Body meeting being held on Tuesday, 23 April 2013. There has not been a similar notice of motion within the previous six months.
Motion
That the Governing Body:
a) consider provision is made for a more in-depth mediation between Auckland Council and submitters to occur before the Unitary Plan is formally notified and therefore the current time frame planned for deliberations on the submissions and the September notification date be extended.
Background
Cr George Wood has provided background information in the attachment.
Attachments
A Cr George Wood’s Notice of Motion……………………………………………………. 39

 

Page 39 can be accessed from the hyperlink above in blue.

 

The result from yesterdays Notice of Motion was the following:

I am happy that what I set out to achieve with my Notice of Motion has more or less been accomplished. Further interface with the community will occur following the closure of the current submission period on 31 May. This is a major improvement on the process and one that will give a lot of the community comfort.

This backs up what was in the NZ Herald‘s article titled “Unitary Plan deadline will stay – Brown” this morning:

A group of councillors, led by George Wood, yesterday tried to extend the timeframe for the rulebook – or Unitary Plan – beyond the local body elections in October.

Most councillors voted for a compromise solution that will include further engagement with Aucklanders after the May 31 deadline for feedback on the draft plan.

It is possible this solution could have the same effect of delaying formal notification of the Unitary Plan – set down for September – until after the election. This would push it out until next year.

Mr Wood cited community concerns at Milford and Devonport in his North Shore ward for the council playing a game of “Russian roulette” before the Unitary Plan was notified.

 

Okay so this has come about with some “further engagement” to happen post May 31 – the deadline for the first round of feedback but before formal notification of The Unitary Plan (whenever that now is).

Personally to me this is more of an annoyance than anything else what has come about from the Notice of Motion. My reaction from what came out of the Governing Body yesterday was the following:

Ben Ross : Auckland · 61 like this

13 hours ago ·

  • I am beginning wonder if the nine Councillors concerned should be spending more time with the community and less time on the waves about the UP. Short of Central Government pulling one off I do not see anything changing soon so it is time to best use with the cards we have here.
    If I can make heads and tails of this and run informative commentary on the Unitary Plan – then I don’t see why the Councillors can not. (Either that or I start billing them $500/hour + Disbursements + GST to do their informative and consultation work for them)

    Ben Ross : Auckland And TotaRim Consultancy Limited is already geared up to take on such affairs here in Auckland

 

(And yes folks I am GST registered with the company also registered with the Companies Office – so all legit and above-board)

 

So for those that can adapt to having some of the rules changed – but still with the same cards still in your hands it is time to best make what has resulted. What does that mean this end? BR:AKL and Unitary Plan Community Meetings wise it means carry on as normal. However, on my entrepreneurial side it does mean position oneself to take an opportunity presented by the Governing Body.

 

Meaning?

 

If Council is dead serious with pursuing “further engagement” post May 31 but prior to notification then I am calling for Council to shift over and let the private sector step in for this “further engagement” phase.  As I said: ‘I am beginning wonder if the nine Councillors concerned should be spending more time with the community and less time on the waves about the UP. Short of Central Government pulling one off I do not see anything changing soon so it is time to best use with the cards we have here.

If I can make heads and tails of this and run informative commentary on the Unitary Plan – then I don’t see why the Councillors can not. (Either that or I start billing them $500/hour + Disbursements + GST to do their informative and consultation work for them)”

 

So I do honestly wonder if the Councillors can not grasp this now then how on Earth are they going to grasp it post May 31 in the “further engagement” process. Thus I call for Council to shift over and allow the private sector to undertake the process of this “further engagement.” My reasons (but not limited to)?

  • Neutrality away from the Councillors, Local Boards, Mayor and Bureaucrats (nothing stopping them representing but a “one step of separation” measure has been introduced to take off the direct effects situation)
  • Nimble and flexibility (including use of resources) to the changing environment when out consulting the communities. This includes pulling off a better result in getting feedback from RIGHT ACROSS THE CITY – something the public meetings are failing at rather badly (and as I have commented on before)
  • Fresh set of eyes, ears, and (hate to say it) brains to go over the complex document and all the feedback collected thus far
  • Professional second opinion
  • [will add more as it comes to mind]

 

Before someone quotes Conflict of Interest in getting the private sector to undertake the next round of “further engagement” rather than Council; I can fire right back that Council in its entirety has a larger conflict of interest when ever the line between bureaucrat and politician starts to get blurred. Specialist consultancy firms are already bundling up submissions on behalf of their private sector clients as one would expect. So it is up to Council to be more proactive and search out more reputable sources who can act neutral and undertake the “further engagement” round. Either that or Catch-22 will apply to this UP process.

 

Some might agree (looking a feedback received thus far it would seem that way) with the sentiment I have, others might not. Even though I am running commentary flat tact with the Unitary Plan through the blog and community meetings as noted in my “A CASE OF CIVIC DUTY,” there will be a time where I will flip over from “civil duty” to a more “professional” tact for my Unitary Plan work.

 

Above all else though; my own submission writing for the Unitary Plan continues as I hit draft version 8 at this point and time.

 

BEN ROSS : AUCKLAND

BR:AKL: Bring Well Managed Progress

The Unitary Plan: Bringing Change

Auckland: 2013 – OUR CITY, OUR CALL