Month: July 2013

Waste Water Furore

Legit Concern


NIMBYism Striking Back


I noticed this cropped up in the Manukau Courier this morning via the Stuff Website:

‘Don’t dump it here’

Plans to release much of Auckland‘s wastewater into the Manukau Harbour have met a storm of opposition from waterfront residents.

Watercare has received 468 submissions from Mangere Bridge people and groups ahead of public hearings on its “central interceptor” project.


The feedback makes up the bulk of the 752 submissions on the project’s resource consent applications.


The interceptor, a 13km underground tunnel, will take up to two million cubic metres of sewage and stormwater to the Mangere treatment plant every year.


It will also include 6km of linking sewers and create a long-term replacement for an ageing 7km tunnel section – the Manukau Siphon – near the plant.


The $800 million proposal aims to improve the water quality of the Waitemata Harbour and reduce or eliminate 122 flooding spots, mostly in Avondale, Western Springs and Mt Albert.


But Mangere Bridge residents say those improvements will come at a cost to the environment.


Many of their submissions were completed on forms distributed throughout the community by the Mangere Bridge Residents and Ratepayers Association.

The form says the proposal could have dire effects for the water quality of the harbour and birds roosting in the area.

“It is not good ecological practice to transfer large amounts of water from its natural catchments to a shallow enclosed harbour with finite capacity to receive it,” the form says.


Te Akitai Waiohua Waka Taua Trust, which is associated with Pukaki Marae, has also lodged numerous submissions against the proposal.


The trust says there has been insufficient consultation with tangata whenua regarding stormwater discharge, air discharge, earthworks and coastal structures.


But Watercare chief executive Mark Ford says his organisation has a “strong record” of community consultation on major projects such as this one.


I’ll take the word of Mark Ford over the Trust and Resident’s Ratepayer’s Association on reflection of consultation “issues” with Maori Trusts, and Resident and Ratepayers Associations pigeon holing debates/feedback with Pro-Forma forms as seen in the Unitary Plan debate.

But my question to the objectors is: Where is all the waste going to go for treatment?

  • We have an extra million people and subsequent urban development to support it on its way.
  • Our waste water infrastructure needs upgrading including expanding the Mangere Waste Water Plant.
  • There will be later on a second treatment plant in Drury with an outfall again in the Manukau Harbour to deal with waste water in the Southern Rural Urban Boundary area.
  • We have to stop the overflow of the sewerage pipes in the isthmus area spilling untreated sewerage into harbours.
  • Some waste water is being diverted to the North Shore plant for treatment.
  • And the Mangere Plant is state of the art with its Bio Reactors that are extremely efficient in treating our waste water which will be expanded

The simple answer is the waste-water is best suited to Mangere at this point in time along with other current and proposal plants. There is simply no where else to dump treated waste-water from the advanced plant that will have minimal effects on the actual physical environment.

From the article again

The central interceptor proposal reflects international best practice and will save Auckland more than $500m going forward, Mr Ford says.


Major upgrades are also being planned for the Mangere treatment plant to address Auckland’s wastewater needs.


“These will ensure continued protection of the Manukau Harbour and enable the Mangere wastewater treatment plant to continue to operate within its current discharge loads into the future.”


Watercare also intends to divert the wastewater flows of about 75,000 existing households from Mangere to a plant in Rosedale by constructing another tunnel from west Auckland to the North Shore.



Unless you want the open oxidation ponds and sludge lagoon again as a method of treating our crap I’d suggest you let Watercare carry on unimpeded.



Auckland Plan Committee – Unitary Plan Deliberations – Take 3

Third Round of Unitary Plan Deliberations


This Thursday after the conclusion of the Governing Body meeting the Auckland Plan Committee will meet for the second time to deliberate over the Unitary Plan workshop recommendations.

Apart from the Rural Urban Boundary issue which saw the workshop recommend the “Corridor” option for the South, there is not that much “heavy” stuff on there – well for me to pay attention to any how.

However I will still go sit in the public seating area and see which Councillors will go and grandstand this time around (after Brewer and Coney did last time much to extreme annoyance).

You can see the Agenda and Recommendations for the Committee including workshop recommendations below:


Looking at the Workshop Timetable I see the next round is the Local Board/APC Combined session where Local Board resolutions are forwarded on the Unitary Plan. After that a major workshop covering:

  • City Centre (possibly Manukau as well)
  • Place based Precincts
  • Education Precincts (Usually areas around Tertiary Campuses)
  • Industrial Zones (that is a biggie especially concerning the Penrose and Wiri heavy industrial complexes)
  • Retirement Villages / Converted Dwellings


Which reminds me, I need to get back to the Deputy Mayor in opening up one of those combined Local Board/APC workshops open to the media for observation.

Apart from that – some heavy stuff coming up with the Unitary Plan



Talking Auckland: Blog of TotaRim Consultancy Limited

TotaRim Consultancy
Bringing Well Managed Progress to Auckland and The Unitary Plan

Auckland: 2013 – YOUR CITY, YOUR CALL



What Would Happen if Wellington Was Totalled

Serious Question folks in light of the continuing Quakes in the Capital


So while central New Zealand including Wellington continue to suffer from the shakes (thoughts go out to the residents and visitors alike) a thought popped into mind. What back up systems do we have for the “Big One.”

The Big One being a quake that basically totals Wellington, our capital home to Parliament, the National Crisis Emergency Centre (The Bunker), our main financial institutions’ NZ headquarters, the Stock Exchange, National Train Control Centre, and the Cook Strait power cable moves power usually from the South Island to the North Island could all be “out of operation.” In saying that it would take quite a strike to knock The Bunker out of action.

That is quite a bit of national core civic and physical infrastructure concentrated into one geologically vulnerable spot..

So while Civil Defence constantly tells us to “Be Prepared,” I do wonder what preparations we have in place if our civic institutions fail from The Big One.


I remember a mini-doco-drama series screened on TV not so long about Wellington being pretty much flattened by The Big One and subsequent Tsunami and fire damage that followed. While The Bunker remained and Civil Defence operations were under way, you see at the end of the series that Parliament had moved to Auckland. That in end would have pretty much proved a death knell to Wellington and most likely some annoyance to Auckland on the way out. 


So the question is What Back Ups do we have in place?

A question so often ignored until disaster does strike and it becomes “ah crap.”


I would like to take this moment to remind us Aucklanders to make sure your Civil Defence plans are up to date in light of Wellington. While we might not suffer from a 8.0er in a hurry we do have around 52 known volcanoes, two of which are supposedly active and bubbling away under the Gulf. If one decided to let rip we will ALL know about it one way or the other.

So take time and be prepared!


The international civil defence symbol, as car...

Manukau Timeline

The #SuperManukau Work is Independent to the 2013 Elections


With the election campaign under way for the 2013 Local Elections, existing projects such as the Unitary Plan can get caught up in campaign politicking. Essentially it means projects can get kicked around like a football for political mileage and potentially damage the said project.

I am keeping a very close eye on the Auckland Local Elections not only for the commentary running but also business reasons as well.


When one is advocating on behalf of clients or themselves with a project involving Council – including the Councillors (who are facing elections), an election can throw a spanner in things if not managed properly.

The Manukau Super Metropolitan Centre is one project at the moment and one being watched with the elections now on.

I am aware a certain mayoral candidate is touting as a policy at “developing” Manukau to take pressure off the Isthmus area as the city grows an extra million.

In keeping a very close eye on developments I did see this in the Herald this morning: “Cities need mayoral contests.

It does cover things I have mentioned before such as one horse races and some policy aspects being touted around.

I also caught this in the comments box which has me on “alert” at the moment for reasons explained in the opening paragraph:

I for one, prefer John Palino’s vision for Auckland. He is the first to publicly espouse the idea of shift the jobs to the people, not the people to the jobs. His vision, and New York experience, would create a more vibrant, livable place. 

Build a major commercial complex in Wiri where there is space and suitable terrain. Do the same on the Shore and out west. Save people having to travel into the CBD.


Turn the CBD buildings into mixed use. Make the upper floors into nice apartments for those who do work in the CBD. Imagine commuting by elevator, or just a short walk down the road. It makes much more sense, but then Loopy Lenny and co have never been noted for that have they ??


Yeah I knew that was going to happen when either a project is happening behind the scenes or there is an actual information vacuum out there. Fortunately my reply did get through the Herald’s moderation department:

Westie Bryan
I for one, prefer John Palino’s vision for Auckland. He is the first to publicly espouse the idea of shift the jobs to the people, not the people to the jobs. His vision, and New York experience, would create a more vibrant, livable place. Build a major commercial complex in Wiri where there is space and suitable terrain. Do the same on the Shore and out west. Save people having to travel into the CBD. Turn the CBD buildings into mixed use. Make the upper floors into nice apartments for those who do work in the CBD. Imagine commuting by elevator, or just a short walk down the road. It makes much more sense, but then Loopy Lenny and co have never been noted for that have they ??
Quoting: “Build a major commercial complex in Wiri where there is space and suitable terrain. Do the same on the Shore and out west. Save people having to travel into the CBD.”

If one reads the Unitary Plan and keeps an eye towards the Unitary Plan processes and social media those aspects you mention are already under way. There is already a major commercial complex out south – Manukau City Centre waiting to be unleashed in its development. Wiri (the industrial complex) is up for expansion in a plan change to its west.

The west will have the New Lynn and Westgate Metropolitan Centres which will become major mix-use hubs serving their areas. For the Shore we have Takapauna and Albany as Metropolitan Centres, one which could be pushed even further as a “third CBD” in 25 years.

These aspects are already under way independent of the election cycle and candidate whims 😉
Just a case of watch and patience


The above shows there is still information vacuums with the Unitary Plan at the moment. This can make worthwhile projects prone to electioneering currently out there. So a word of caution, just because a candidate has touted it as original policy does not mean it is already under way.


So in regards to #SuperManukau, that work carries out independently and regardless of the electioneering out there. For a #BetterAuckland


You can keep track of the Manukau project via this link:


First Critique of a Candidate

It Pays to do One’s Homework when “One” is Paying Attention


And yes I (and others as Twitter lights up) am paying attention at the moment thanks to Orsman’s Tweet yesterday on Palino and Transport.

And so Orsman has written his piece about mayoral candidate John Palino and his transport “ambitions” for Auckland. The back part was good as anyone with half a brain attached would know that the current Integrated Transport Program Mayor Len Brown pigeon holed Auckland and Auckland Transport into is an utter joke. How can someone spend $65 billion with a $12 billion funding gap on transport solutions that make congestion worse in 20-30 years? Not very intelligent stuff here – especially as Car Capital City Detroit just went bankrupt this morning.

As for the rest of the article? Well it might either show bad advice or plain laziness to go suss the situation out proper before dropping a comment in the NZ Herald.

The Herald article is somewhat a scatter gun here so I will try to make top and tail of it best I can.

From the NZ Herald

Candidate favours park-and-ride

By Bernard Orsman @BernardOrsman

John Palino wants to take pressure off transport network and make it easier for commuters to leave cars

Building park-and-ride facilities is the first transport priority for Auckland mayoral candidate John Palino, whose long-term solution is to build satellite centres where people can live, work and play.


Speaking ahead of his campaign launch tomorrow, Mr Palino told the Heraldthat Auckland must make the most out of rail electrification, saying park-and-ride facilities are the quickest, cheapest and most practical way to relieve pressure on the city’s transport network.


As I am debating with ATB’s resident socialist Patrick Reynolds, Park and Rides do have their uses. Typically in the outlying stations such as Papakura and Pukekohe where the stations serve a dispersed rural and urban population. While feeder buses and active transport can serve up to a 1.6km radius from the said station, the Park and Ride can serve a catchment 10x the distance which is what rural based commuters would do. So Park and Rides can have their uses.

As for cheapest method mentioned by Palino – err okay?

From the article again

“Let’s stop trying to get people out of their cars completely when it doesn’t suit them, and just make it easier for them to take public transport.


“I will subsidise parking where cost-benefit analysis shows park-and-rides provide a positive impact on the transport network.”


He said park-and-ride facilities might have to be multi-storey and cost between $20,000 and $40,000 per space.

That is some expensive parking. I would be inclined to charge Park and Ride users $2-$4 a day and have an option where you could use your AT-HOP card to “tag in and out” of the PnR.

As for making easier to get to the train station; AT is already ahead in that game as they prepare for the first time feeder buses into major stations and bus interchanges. Some new interchanges like Otahuhu are on the cards as well. So it will be easier to get public transport once the new interchanges and feeders are fully working.


“If we are ever to have the city rail project, we’re going to have to get the patronage required to justify spending ratepayer money,” he said.


That line suggests someone has not either done their homework or is in fact being lazy in obtaining the required information. How hard is it to send and email, make a phone call and have a coffee with people in the actual know behind the CRL and growth targets – the people being AT themselves. Oh and not reading the Prime Minister’s speech properly does not help either as he did lay down the challenge.

FFS doing my own reading and coffee sessions with those in the know I discovered that to bring the CRL forward all AT really need to do is show strong growth above a set percentage year in year out towards 2020. If Auckland Transport can do this then we might just see the first dirt sod turned around the 2017-18 mark.

And yes AT are putting in some strong initiatives from 2014 to make that growth happen to the point I can display confidence in them doing it.


And for this from Palino:

• Long term, build new satellite centres.

That is already on its way via the Unitary Plan through the Metropolitan Centres and twin Satellite Towns of Pukekohe and Warkworth. Although in saying that some polishing needs to occur first there before the Unitary Plan becomes operative.

As for Manukau, advances continued to be made there quietly behind the scenes as Auckland’s first Super Metropolitan Centre is drafted then brought into existence.


Coverage of the Local Government Elections 2013 will continue as development happen.



Close Election?

Rudman Says No, Orsman Says “Could”


NOW the commentary starts ramping up on the Auckland Council Elections in the main stream media. This after I believe I started it quietly back in 2011 and ramping it up more recently.

We have heard some commentating writing off the elections already especially in the Auckland mayoral race with myself at this point in time giving Len an 85% chance of getting his re-election. As for Council Ward seats (those wanting to become a Councillor) this is proving to be more interesting (not that I don’t mind even with our shills).

Resident Unitary Plan writer Bernard Orsman thinks different to his counterpart Rudman and offered this insightful piece on the upcoming elections.


From the NZ Herald

Split vote could lead to close mayoral contest

By Bernard Orsman @BernardOrsman

As the race for the Auckland mayoralty begins, Bernard Orsman looks at the big issues for candidates and voters

And even if the mayor gets re-elected, he might find a different hue around the council table, one less friendly to the “inclusive” team he has come to rely upon.

The failure of the centre-right to unite around the Communities & Residents brand (with subsequent desertions from C&R this month) and the mixed bag of left-leaning councillors have worked in Mr Brown’s favour in his first term.

It would take only a handful of new, right-leaning faces to tip the balance and make life difficult for the mayor. Pro-Brown councillors Michael Goudie and Des Morrison are stepping down in the respective conservative wards of Albany and Franklin. The centre-right is also targeting Cathy Casey (Albert-Eden-Roskill), Ann Hartley (North Shore) and Richard Northey (Maungakiekie-Tamaki).

Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse has taken umbrage at a call from Herald columnist Brian Rudman for candidates to embrace the labels of National, Labour and the like.

She says this would see a return to the bad old days of the former Auckland City Council with secret caucus meetings, one-term councils and three-year planning horizons.

She has coined the term “Auckland Party” for people who want to focus on the city and building for the future.

But even minus the C&R tag, there are enough issues uniting centre-right candidates – such as a low uniform charge that leads to bigger rates for high-value home owners and debt levels – to potentially scupper the “Auckland Party”.

The looming election is already seeing changes made to the Unitary Plan, with word leaking out that height limits are being reduced in many town centres and “small-scale” apartment buildings banished from many residential areas.

Modifications to the draft Unitary Plan for formal notification in September is a political test for Mr Brown and his inner circle of Ms Hulse, Ms Hartley, Penny Webster and Mr Northey. Get it wrong and the Unitary Plan – the new planning rulebook that affects every Aucklander and every property – will become a big election issue.

I did leave the first half out as it was covering the mayoral stuff.


Orsman does have a legitimate point (if not a slight slant due to perceived bias against the Unitary Plan and Deputy Mayor (Bernard have you asked me yet for those secret papers – I do have all 7,000 pages of them sitting here)) though that Council could change its make up (regardless of who is Mayor).

Right now to get a true Centre-Right “dominance” around the Council table you would need a swing of 6 to 7 seats from the Centre Left or pro-Brown supporters in the election. That is one heck of an ask and would need pretty much a city-wide revolt for that to happen. I do not see such a revolt towards the Councillors let alone the mayor at the moment.

But, what makes this more uncertain is what kind of Centre-Right person could land a spot at the table and what they might actually do.

I’ll give an example using me in contrast to a shill. While I have no intention of running for a Local Board or Council seat until 2016 if I did decide to run this could happen.

I am a Social Liberal which naturally puts me Centre-Left on the Political Compass tests. However, I am perceived to be a “young Tory” that would hark back to Golden Era of National from 1936 to 1972. This means I would be cast as a Centre-Right candidate. In saying that unlike the Right Wing shills out there (just look at their stance on the Unitary Plan), I would be more inclined to work with the Deputy Mayor and push through the concessions for my area and the wider city. This is already occurring and I am not even a Councillor nor running this round.

Effectively rather than sit, their arms crossed and looking like a permanent sour-puss grumpy going “No, no, no” and not put any non NIMBY alternative forward (enter the Shill), I would work with the hand I got dealt with and make something useful out of it. So far working with that I have has worked as an advocate and consultant in gaining concessions for a Better Auckland through a better Unitary Plan – all while I am Centre Right.

So in Orsman’s case being Centre Right might not upset the cart per-se in Council business. Sure the sharper edges of the Mayor’s policy might be sanded back but no whole scale change that having a bunch of Right Wingers would foster (and damage the city due to instability – yes I am pointing to you C&R)!

Speaking of C&R – what on earth happened? Never mind!


Now what about this Auckland Party concept the Deputy Mayor brought up? Orsman said the concept would not work if the Council make up swung to the Centre-Right. I would correct him and say the Auckland Party would not work if the Council got dominated by Right Wingers for which in any case the City would be royally buggered.

I would say that the Auckland Party would be made up of both Centre Left and Centre Right Councillors who can work in a Grand Coalition sort of manner and advance the interests of the Auckland region. Rather than have factional politics and a divisive Council that marred the Isthmus for the last 50-60 years.

Lets see how this pans out as we draw closer to October 12 – Election Day



Pre-Election Reports from the Council

The State of Council before the Elections


Auckland Council as per the Local Government Act has released its very first Pre-Election report for your consumption.

From Council

First pre-election report released

Auckland Council has today issued its very first pre-election report.

A new requirement of all councils under the Local Government Act from this year, the pre-election report is prepared by the local authority’s chief executive and must be politically independent.

“The purpose of a pre-election report under the Act is for councils to provide information to promote public discussion about the issues a council faces ahead of the local body elections, so voters can make more informed choices,” says Doug McKay, Auckland Council Chief Executive.

The Auckland Council Pre-Election Report 2013, prepared to meet the requirements of the Act, includes financial results for the three financial years immediately preceding the date of the election and latest projections for the three years immediately after.

The report includes a forecasted result for 2012/2013 year; given the final audited financial results for this period will not be reported to council until September 2013.

The report is prepared on a group basis, including council-controlled organisations, and covers operating expenditure, major projects and capital expenditure, debt projections and rates projections for 2014-2017.



You can read the Report HERE (opens in new tab)


Election coverage will continue here on Talking Auckland as it happens.


Happens When you Pigeon Hole a Debate

Why the CBG Failed at a cost of $1.5m of your money


[Note: CBG figure moved from $1.1m to $1.5m]

I already posted today on my consensus of No Confidence against the Consensus Building Group’s Final report based on a failed Integrated Transport Program. You can see that commentary here: No Consensus in Funding the Integrated Transport Program

In that commentary I did mention how the Mayor through the Auckland Plan and his brief to the CBG pigeon holed the debate into looking at basically one option: TAX! Whether that be an increase in rates (which is a property tax), petrol tax or road pricing (crude congestion charging). Left out were asset sell downs, a lottery, departure and bed taxes, and a regional sales tax.

Problem? The Government as widely expected blasted down what the Consensus Building Group “came to” with the opposition effectively doing the same although for different reasons (Julie Ann Genter’s piece for example).

In saying that the Government rather than looking at a regional fuel tax as part of suite of options, it has decided on a nation-wide petrol tax increase as a sole option which besides many other things will rightfully annoy the rest of the country!


By the looks of things as well the Government could “hint” at Council moving on its existing asset base to help pay for some the transport projects. But, again we have a problem. We have no idea on how the city truly feels towards the asset question nor the to lotteries (and other options) because the Mayor denied our democratic right to have an effective say via a submission – if the CBG were allowed to look at such a scope.

The Mayor’s ideology is to me irrelevant and can be kept at home. What I want is vision dosed with pragmatism and all options on the table for OUR consideration free of the mayor’s ideology.

One thing would have been for certain; if via the submissions to the CBG we overwhelmingly rejected the assets question then it could have been further ammo against Brownlee. However, we will never know that answer thanks again to the piegon holing by the Mayor.

And so we are stuck with really no options at all to the point it is the Worst of All worlds. Effective taxed out of existence…

Vancouver looks mighty fine at the moment…

Note: Answering a question from another article; The Consensus Building Group was stacked with effective lobbyists rather than professional consultants, civil engineers and Geographers (who look at the Physical and Human environments and consequences of our actions)



Talking Auckland: Blog of TotaRim Consultancy Limited

TotaRim Consultancy
Bringing Well Managed Progress to Auckland and in support of a #movingauckland

Auckland: 2013 – YOUR CITY, YOUR CALL