The NZ Herald is running some separate pieces on Auckland today ranging from; the cruise ship terminal to Council Assets.
Lets take a brief look at two articles shall we?
Auckland Mayor Len Brown says Aucklanders have made it clear they do not want strategic assets to be sold, and other alternatives to rates rises are being considered to fund the city’s projects.
His comments come after Local Government Minister David Carter hinted at a Government preference for councils around the country to opt for asset sales to fund projects, rather than increase rates.
The $2.86 billion central rail loop remains the prime project in Mr Brown’s first 10-year budget, which faces a bumpy ride from councillors on Wednesday.
The day before Finance Minister Bill English unveils the Government’s Budget, Mr Brown and councillors will lock horns in the Auckland Town Hall over a $58 billion Super City budget.
Seems the first half of the article is looking at the eventual pistols at dawn style shoot out coming up on Wednesday as Auckland Council firms up the 2012-2022 Long Term Plan. A shame I have to work that day as it is bound to be a lively meeting at the minimum – however VOAKL will run commentary on this situation as it happens. I also notice Main Stream Media are using the $2.86b (up from $2.4b last year) figure for the CRL – only $740m short to the Fallacy figure I have given. Of which I urge the boys at Auckland Transport Blog to get a credible CRL proposal for the tunnel and ALL three stations, plus Aotea Station being future proofed for the eventual North Shore Line together sooner rather than later. I urge you gentlemen as I have complete and utter faith that you guys can keep the CRL on the straight and narrow 😀 – no pressure 😛 .
To the topic of asset sales though:
Asset sales urged
Ahead of the council’s budget announcement, Local Government Minister David Carter urged councils around the country to consider the sale of strategic assets rather than rates rises to fund projects.
Mr Carter told TVNZ’s Q & A yesterday that local governments were in a similar position to central government, which intends to balance the books by selling up to 49 per cent of shares in the state-owned energy companies, and a further stake in Air NZ.
“If they [local governments] find a way where they can sell down some of their assets to maintain the funding, to deliver some other infrastructure required within in their communities, in principle, I would support that. But having said that … it would still be a decision for local councils to make,” Mr Carter said.
“If they had shares in an airport or shares in a port company, they may well decide they could sell down some of those shares to help them provide the infrastructure which their community’s demanding of them.
On asset sales, I have advocated in an enquiry on the Port of Auckland ownership model and whether Council should sell down its POAL stake. The comment was made during my Port of Auckland Relocation coverage as a way for assisting in moving the Port as well as introducing Private Sector discipline and freeing up cash for a deposit on the CRL. I believe if the conditions are right that Auckland Council could reduce its holding in POAL by 25-75% to use the cash for investing in other infrastructure assets of high value such as the CRL. It will need skill and conviction but can be done. Pragmatism against ideological dogma…
New $18.6m design for terminal
It’s back to basics for a cruise-ship terminal on Queens Wharf after the sinking of grand proposals costing $49 million and $29 million.
Faced with community and political resistance, Mayor Len Brown has leaned on Waterfront Auckland to come up with a new design costing ratepayers $18.6 million.
Instead of demolishing the century-old Shed 10 for a $49.2 million new terminal favoured by the Government in 2010, or choosing an $28.7 million makeover of Shed 10 promoted by Waterfront Auckland last year, the council will decide on Wednesday whether to proceed with an $18.6 million design.
Shed 10 would still be more than 50 per cent bigger than the current cruise-ship facility on Princes Wharf but have a more basic fit-out that leaves much of the ground floor as is and refurbishes the upper level to unveil its wooden floors and steel trusses.
Windows would be added to open up harbour views. The two floors would be linked by two internal staircases.
Well credit is due to our resident Prude – Mayor Brown for down-scaling the costs here. However the answer from VOAKL is still NO! Want it? Then slug a $20 per passenger on a Cruise Ship Tax (much like an airport tax) to pay for the “temporary” terminal until THIS ONE is built further east. We have other projects that are sorely needed and sorry a Cruise Ship Terminal being built with ratepayers money is just not on.
So Wednesday is all go with pistols at dawn as the Mayor and Council face off in firming up the 2012-2022 Long Term Plan.
VOAKL will be keeping an eye – especially as the first rates instalment hits our letter boxes in July.
BE WARNED AUCKLAND COUNCIL – we are watching