Governing Body Agenda – December 2013

Annual Plans

Censure Motions

Sky Path

 

On Thursday the Governing Body of Auckland Council will be meeting for the final time of the 2014. It is a pretty action packed with matters such as: Sky Path, the 2014/15 Draft Annual Plan, and the Censure Motion against the Mayor all to take place at the meeting.

The agenda and the draft Annual Plan are in the embeds below respectively. A warning both files are large (22MB and 44MB respectively) if you decide to download them. However, you can read the documents via the embed in this post (provided by Scribd) without blowing your bandwidth out.

 

The Governing Body Agenda

 

The 2014/15 Draft Annual Plan

 

 

The 2014/15 Annual Plan

The Annual Plan is a yearly document that sets about the budget for Auckland Council and the CCOs in the July 1, 2014 to June 30, 2015 year. Your OPEX and CAPEX as well as revenue raising instruments (usually experienced by rates, charges, fees and development contributions) are set about in the Annual Plan and is derived from the operative Long Term Plan (master budgetary document). Currently we are in the 2012-2022 Long Term Period and any budget goals set in the LTP are translated back into the Annual Plans.

The Annual Plan is too large to go through bit by bit before the Governing Body meeting however, I will highlight key points before the submission process starts early January 2014.

Speaking of hearings this is from page 157 of the Governing Body Agenda in regards to the Annual Plan Process:

  • The submission period commences on 23 January 2014 and runs through to 24 February 2014. This will be followed by local hearings (17 – 28 March 2014) and regional hearings (7-11 April 2014).

  • Governing body discussions will take place with local boards and CCOs late April to early May, prior to the Budget Committee meeting to make final budget decisions on 8 May 2014.

  • 7. Work on finalising budgets for 2014/2015 will continue through to 8 May next year. Key areas of focus will include Auckland Transport operational funding, CCO capital expenditure timing the Auckland Airport return to stakeholders. 

  • 8. The final Annual Plan 2014/2015 documents will be presented to the Governing Body for adoption on 26 June 2014.

Source: http://www.scribd.com/doc/191985984/Governing-Body-12-2013#page=156

 

I would also like to bring you to pages 163-166 titled “Submissions and Hearings process for the 2014/2015 Annual Plan” where the type of hearing will be decided if you submit to the Annual Plan. You will essentially have two choices either at Local or Regional level for hearings (actually Council will tell you with method it is), either Forum or Traditional. It is explained in pages 163-166 and I have attended both for different things over the last three years. Both the forum and traditional method of hearings for your submission have advantages and disadvantages which are set out in pages 163-166. For the Annual Plan hearings forums will suit me fine as a complement to my written submission although I might be pushing for a traditional when I saw this:

East West Link Annual Plan

 

Click for full resolution

Would someone in Auckland Council please explain what “Investigating an East-West Link to enhance connectivity between SH1 and SH20 corridors in Manukau” in the Annual Plan draft means please? Unless someone is playing semantics with Highbrook being in the old Manukau City Council area (thus South Auckland) I though Option 4 which ploughed through Highbrook, Otahuhu and Mangere was a non starter per the mayor’s declaration in the NZ Herald.

To play further semantics here Option 8 if it were to go ahead runs from Highbrook, underneath Otahuhu, through Westfield and then along the northern shore line of the Manukau Inlet at Southdown and Onehunga. No where near Manukau which by proper definition is about 4.5km south of the Highbrook Interchange. And to make a further point on semantics last I looked the east-west situation at Manukau is well served with the State Highway 20 motorway running along the southern flanks of the Manukau City Centre connecting up to the Southern Motorway.

So can someone in Council explain what is going on please. Last time Council played loose with comms it was the Weymouth-Karaka Bridge saga earlier this year with the Unitary Plan feedback and THAT caused a lot of unnecessary grief to everyone…

 

As for rates rises as a final note around the Annual Plan on Thursday, I believe the average was 2.9%… Feel free to leave non flaming comments below around that matter as you wish.

 

Skypath

 

I have no idea why the boys at Transport Blog were getting exciting or rather hitting up with Twitter about the Sky Bridge report hitting the GB on Thursday. I was expecting some sort of resolution, not a reception of a report and a recommendation to start another round of reports… So talk about death by committee and a few forests felled on reports before the first sod for Sky Path is ever turned (which in this rate will be late 2016) (meaning there better be something good that comes out of the confidential section of the GB on Thursday, but I highly doubt it at the moment).

So with that non starter being pushed into the Confidential section of Council we come to the second actual major highlight of the Governing Body (Annual Plan being first) – the Censure of the Mayor.

 

Censuring the Mayor

Tomorrow the Governing Body will move formally to Censure the Mayor as a consequence of the EY Report that was released on Friday afternoon.

The Censure motion was predicted early on by me when the EY report broke and it has been apparent the Councillors have been number crunching to get the motion put through on Thursday. A reminder that a censure is:

 A censure /ˈsɛnʃər/ is an expression of strong disapproval or harsh criticism.[1] Among the forms that it can take are a stern rebuke by a legislature, a spiritual penalty imposed by a church, or a negative judgment pronounced on a theological proposition.’

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censure

A censure would be an equivalent of a dressing down finalised by a Written Warning in the private sector work place.

Apart from the Censure a range of other measures will be attempted against the mayor (but he can not be sacked – legally unless by the Minister for Local Government (and then it would be the entire Council any how)). Bernard Orsman listed them out:

From the NZ Herald”

Mayor Len Brown told: Shape up or ship out

By Bernard Orsman

 

Next steps
Recommendation for Thursday’s council meeting

*The governing body receives the independent review (the EY report) commissioned by the chief executive.
*The governing body expresses its profound disappointment and disapproval of the mayor’s inappropriate conduct and undeclared conflicts of interest, which are the subject of the report and which have caused damage to Auckland Council’s reputation and widespread concern among the public.
*Accordingly the governing body censures the mayor for his behaviour that in the view of the governing body breaches the council’s code of conduct.
*The governing body requests that the mayor make full reimbursement of all remaining personal costs and also make an appropriate contribution to other costs incurred by the council.
*The governing body requests the incoming chief executive, in consultation with the office of the Auditor-General, to review the process for managing and overseeing members’ interests both in the mayoral office and with elected members.
*The governing body now signals its willingness to work with the mayor and establish better liaison between the mayor’s office and governing body in the best interests of Auckland and its people.

Source:

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=11173529

 

Two rather specific comments on the Saga so far (that carry weight and actual meaning) and the ones to watch is our Deputy Mayor (who by the looks of it the City and bulk of Council have rallied behind as the Mayor gets censured) and the unofficial leader of the opposition on Council – Cameron Brewer.

From the same article quoted above this was the written comment from Deputy Mayor Penny House:

“Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse said councillors expressed to Mr Brown their profound disappointment and disapproval of his actions with regard to his conduct and undeclared conflicts of interest and the damage to Auckland’s reputation.

Asked if Mr Brown should continue in the job, Mrs Hulse, Mr Brown’s deputy for three years, said: “It’s his decision to stand down or remain there.”

Further video comments from our Deputy Mayor can be see here on this TVNZ link: http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/auckland-councillors-censure-mayor-video-5779846

 

As for Councillor Brewer, Cameron has piped up as expected and gave a six minute interview to Ducan Garner on radio yesterday. You can see Brewer’s comments from the audio link here: http://www.radiolive.co.nz/AUDIO-Auckland-Councillor-Cameron-Brewer-claims-the-Mayors-issues-are-affecting-the-councils-daily-business/tabid/506/articleID/39670/Default.aspx

I listened to Councillor Brewer’s comments and despite some on the Centre Left lampooning him rather than sensibly piping down this morning (I am rather not mincing words with this saga at the moment), what Cameron said was measures, expected and similar to the lines I have been running commentary on – most recent here: “Further Action in the Len Brown Saga

 

It seems I will be trundling long to Town Hall on Thursday to listen in on both the Annual Plan and the Censure Motion against the Mayor. If I do rock up (which is likely) I will be running live Tweet and Facebook commentary through the open session of Council. A blog post will follow-up the next day.

 

So it is all on for the final Governing Body meeting of the 2013 year. It is going to be a cracker of a meeting – although not all for the right reasons – sadly. 2014 we enter the City Building phase fully – lets hope we can get on with it – WITHOUT any more distractions please

 

 

 

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