Port workers going on week-long strike – Business – NZ Herald News

Port workers going on week-long strike – Business – NZ Herald News.

Oh for the love of…

You know what – I have had enough seriously of this industrial relations dispute I really have. Management (Port of Auckland), the Maritime Union and it seems Auckland Council are incapable of doing something to resolve this crisis.

So seems they are going for broke – it is time we ratepayers go and play our ALL OR NOTHING CARD.

Censure (or even rid us of) the Auckland Council Investment Limited Board for their rudderless direction as the Council Controlled Organisation that is meant to be looking after our prime investment – THE PORT OF AUCKLAND (which by now must be a net liability rather than a net asset), sack the entire management board of Port of Auckland unless they outsource the work soon, and get that enquiry going Auckland Council TODAY to see where to shift the port!!!

My patience is out and I think so is the majority of Auckland Ratepayers Auckland Council – your silence will be remembered as deafening come 2013 when the elections are up.


fiction city

fiction city.

Joshua Arbury – founder of Auckland Transport Blog decided he could not keep away from the blogging world so he decided to start up a new one based on a fictional city.

Check it out and take some time going through it – and if you like it – Follow it.

I will be following it as this will be a very interesting blog – especially when I have built fictional cities in the Sim City 4 World.

Auckland city ‘short 20,000ha’ for future housing – Business – NZ Herald News

Auckland city ‘short 20,000ha’ for future housing – Business – NZ Herald News.


Unless I am blind – I would say that was a “Red Light” on Chapters Seven and Eight of The Draft Auckland Plan.

This would be the second piece of “expert” opinion I have seen telling Auckland Council that what is proposed in Chapters Seven and Eight is just simply not viable AT ALL.

20,000ha short for housing – YET we have not even considered land for the extra commercial and industrial usage yet NEEDED TO SUPPORT employment in Auckland. Oh and lets not forget about Port of Auckland although that is quite happy to extend into the harbour and shrink it into a river with unfathomable consequences under this Council’s watch.

Time for a hard think Auckland Council – we are watching as you deliberate Chapters Seven and Eight, which would have the most profound impact – especially HERE with our apparent overcrowding problem.

For those who have forgotten here is Chapter Eight of The Draft Auckland Plan


Graeme Easte: Funding the City Rail Link – Opinion – NZ Herald News

Graeme Easte: Funding the City Rail Link – Opinion – NZ Herald News.

Interesting take from Mr Easte.

I am one for the CRL being built but we have to make sure the funding mechanisms are in place that will not bankrupt the city. I did suggest a three way PPP (Public Private Partnership) with Council, Wellington and a Private Provider and the ratios for the PPP and individual share for such a scheme.

Also of note while I do support the CRL, I did mention in my submission delaying it for five years while two more urgent programs (at the time before Port of Auckland decided to go wonky on us) were brought forward. That being the Rail Efficiency Program to get better efficiency out of the existing network, as well as The Eastern Highway – as the Sub Regional Option which was an expressway.

Will see in The Draft Long Term deliberations at Auckland Council on how Council will fund the CRL.


New Urbanism vs. Dispersionism | Newgeography.com

New Urbanism vs. Dispersionism | Newgeography.com.

A very interesting article covering a very interesting debate into urban planning in Florida for some academic students.

The way I interpreted it – no side actually “won” the debate convincingly enough as both sides had both excellent (and some horror) points.

Personally in that case with neither side winning convincingly enough – is the Best of Both Worlds approach I advocated for in my submission to The Draft Auckland Plan a solution. Using both what I called Centralised Master

A statue of Lord Auckland (?), the name patron...
Image via Wikipedia

(Community) Plans (New Urbanist in Florida) and Semi-Liberal Planned Districts (a derivative of the Dispersionist school of urban thought in Florida) for Land Allocation/Development/Utilisation. It could be very well be, I just hope Auckland Council gives the idea some serious thought and consulted some serious expert opinion on the matter.

Also seems Florida had this debate – Auckland needs to have the same kind of DEBATE NOW before The Auckland Plan is finalised next month. Once The Auckland Plan is in place – it will be very hard for future councils to “change” the direction if The Auckland Plan does turn out to be a LEMON.

I hold with abated breath on Auckland Council’s final decision – seeming a long and thorough debate was denied to the ratepayers. 


Manukau Line Opening Delayed – Again

Today I got wind of some updates about the Manukau Line and when it is opening


After reading the March Madness post at Auckland Transport Blog a comment (or few) was made the Manukau Line and the new timetable coming into effect.

For one I said 31st of March for the Line to be open and new timetable to come into effect (I was being generous in start dates here). Well no need to worry about March madness as from the latest to come out of the grind it has been told that the Manukau Line will not open until after the Easter Block of Lines in Mid April.

Talk about an effective SIX-NINE WEEK DELAY from the original (already postponed) operation date of – wait hang on we have had multiple postponement to my knowledge:

From what I can remember the original opening date was meant to be prior to the RWC, than before the Christmas Block of Lines, than February, then March and now post-Easter – good lord what is happening here Auckland Transport? Delays Delays Delays!

Map of the Auckland railway network
Auckland Rail Network current and proposed

For a simple project per-se we have had constant delays that is not going to put much confidence into the ratepayers on public transport especially rail – oh and lets not forget the cost over run and the fact the station was 110m short of the desired location due to costs under the former Manukau City Council Regime (Mayor Len Brown).


Also with the Manukau Line delayed opening – I would conclude that the new timetable is also pushed back to after Easter as the new timetable was designed with the Manukau Line operating. So an effective delay of upwards six weeks for our increased frequency in services. However I could be wrong in that conclusion there.

So another delay for the Manukau Line and “bets” already going for it to be delayed out until mid-year – sheesh with that kind of thinking and with HOP no where in sight with its constant delays I think Auckland Transport might need a royal bollocking along with the Auckland Council Transport Subcommittee to get things back order QUICK SMART.

You do not need a total loss of confidence in Public Transport – especially with a pro-roading government in power and local elections next year.

Auckland Transport – VOAKL and the ratepayers await your response please.


Your Port – Your Call Produces a Graphic

Could THIS what our Port would look like in its Expansion Program

The New Zealand Herald‘s ‘Your Port, Your Call’ produced an interesting graphic on what the Waitemata Harbour could look like if the Port of Auckland expands to its fullest potential.

Check it out here

(Sorry could not embed into Word Press)

Do not forget to check out the Port of Auckland Index here at VOAKL on commentary on the Port of Auckland Saga

And join the Your Port, Your Call campaign on Facebook.

Side Note: The Letter to Auckland Council expressing my concern over POAL and holding an enquiry was sent today to each individual councillor plus the mayor. I await responses to which out of the 21 elected members I would say I get five responses. Any more would be an honest surprise to me – but I have seen “move” at the Council from time to time. Lets see how this goes. You can see the Letter HERE. 


Auckland Plan Deliberations

On Friday Auckland Council (through its Future Vision Committee) began deliberating on Chapters 1-4 of The Draft Auckland Plan. As I speak today they are taking a look at Marine stuff and a reply to The Productivity Commission‘s Report into POAL and Housing Affordability. What is next after that I am not sure.

Can Councillor’s and the Mayor keep us apprised of the deliberations please – would be very much appreciated by all. 😀


The Court That Broke Jersey by Steven Malanga, City Journal Winter 2012

The Court That Broke Jersey by Steven Malanga, City Journal Winter 2012.

Could this happen here in Auckland?


Technically no as far as the courts are concerned as we have the Parliamentary Sovereignty (or Parliament is Supreme) system where our NZ Parliament can create any laws it deems fit including “challenging” our court system as Sir Robert Muldoon with compulsory super when he got elected in 1975. Something anyone will learn in NZ Politics or LAW 121 at the University of Auckland. However there is nothing to stop Parliament effectively carrying out what the Jersey Supreme Court did (and still does) upon Auckland and the Auckland Council due to a few quirks in our laws. Also there is nothing stopping Auckland Council running away with its own agenda if the mayor or council have a simple majority to do so. If Auckland Council stayed within the confines of the Local Government Act 2009 (Auckland Governance) and was deemed functional by the central government – then Auckland Council could do as it wishes as the we do not have “Recalls,” binding referenda (both as the Americans have in their State and City Legislatives), nor minority councillors calling for a vote of “no confidence” (well least I think they can not – never have seen it). All us voters can do is wait three years to try to turf out the sitting council members and the mayor on the vote. If Auckland Council did step outside its mandate per the Local Government Act (and in part the Resource Management Act 1991) the courts can challenge the council. It is of note that the Environment Court which oversees and interprets the Resource Management Act (the High Court can as well on points of law) can challenge and strike down Council decisions if the court believe’s the Principles of the RMA were breached (and the Environment Court has down so quite regularly). So basically our courts can challenge Auckland Council (and it is usually the Environment Court that will if a case is brought before it) but not to the active degree seen in Jersey. We also have other checks and balances such as the Ombudsman to “prod” Auckland Council from time to time such as Local Government Official Information Act requests.

However our Courts are the least of Auckland Council’s worries – if you look at Environmental Canterbury and Christchurch City Council our own Parliament would be more a worry against Auckland Council.

As a supposed safe guard in the Local Government Act (and presumably (someone correct me if I am wrong please) the RMA), the Minister of Local Government (current the Hon. Nick Smith) can either appoint a monitor to “monitor” a dysfunctional council or as happened with Environmental Canterbury (when the Hon. Rodney Hide was Local Govt Minister), the Minister can sack the Mayor and entire Council and replace it by Commissioners the Minister’s choosing until the next local elections are held. Oh and by the way Hamilton City Council is close to being sacked as well as of current. As a side note, the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority and related issues around that in Christchurch are unique given the double Earthquake and I would not use it as a focus point here.

Photo of the
NZ Beehive - home of the Executive Wing of Parliament

Now appointing a monitor or replacing a council with commissioners is a safeguard encoded in our legislation – in theory the Minister can not do it willy-nilly and would need the situation to fulfil criteria first including having confidence of the Prime Minister before installing monitors or commissioners. Now I said that in theory – there is alway politics and the Super City of Auckland is no stranger to politics especially around the Council Controlled Organisations and the City Rail Link. In theory as well especially if the the council was hung, in conflict with the mayor or basically infighting – more to the point perceived by Parliament, the Government could sack the council and install commissioners who would do (not so implicit) the government’s bidding. Effectively another version of the Jersey Supreme Court here in Auckland that has central government “policy” enthrusted up the city whether we like it or not.

Official logo of Auckland CouncilFortunately for Auckland we have not drawn the attention for commissioners to be installed – although parliament does try to rule Auckland out of Wellington in local government affairs (transport being the main one). However there is nothing stopping it from happening to which our Courts would be powerless as Parliament can write a law to over ride a court decision.

Maybe as a safeguard at our own end the Recall function should be added to our Auckland Council. Simply put if a petition of either 51% or 67% of eligible Auckland voters go for a “recall” then the Council is effectively sacked and we go to the polls early to elect a new Auckland Council and mayor. This has happened in California to mixed results. If Auckland Council did become dysfunctional then the Recall system might give us an opportunity to

reign in the renegade council before Wellington does.

So could what happen in Jersey State happen here in Auckland due to not our Courts but our own Parliament – and do we need a recall system as a check and balance for Auckland Council? An interesting question it might be.



2013? What will it give and mean for Auckland


2013 is when Auckland (and the rest of the nation) go to the polls to elect our: mayors, councillors, local board representatives and a few other things like District Health Boards.


For Auckland more specifically, we will be electing for the second time our Super Mayor and fellow councillors for the Super City. While it is a bit premature to look at the first term of the Super City under Mayor Len Brown and the left-wing dominated Auckland Council, I thought it might be an idea to look ahead to the next round and what could be on offer.

Essentially (and more to the point) realistically when it comes to electing the Mayor and Councillors we have four options to choose from with maybe two fringe options that often come about from time to time. These four options are based on The Political Compass “test” and theory of our true (expanded) political systems and ideologies. What The Political Compass says about our tradition and simplistic Left/Right views is true – so take a read and take the test on where you sit. I will tell where I sit on The Compass at the bottom of the post with a follow-up from a Wikipedia link.

So what are the four realistic and two fringe options we Aucklander’s have when electing our mayor and council – and where would potential incumbents and candidates stand on those 6 options. Well lets take a look.

Starting with the four realistic (often mainstream) options – we have:

  1. Social Liberals (Left Wing)
  2. Social Conservatives (Also Left Wing)
  3. Neo Liberals (Right Wing)
  4. Neo Conservatives (Again also right-wing)

The two fringe options – we have:

  1. Libertarian (ultra liberals)
  2. Totalitarian and/or Fascism (ultra conservatives)


Doing your head in? Lets get some Wikipedia into here

Social Liberal

Social liberalism is the belief that liberalism should include social justice. It differs from classical liberalism in that it believes the legitimate role of the state includes addressing economic and social issues such as unemployment, health care, and education while simultaneously expanding civil rights. Under social liberalism, the good of the community is viewed as harmonious with the freedom of the individual.[1] Social liberal policies have been widely adopted in much of the capitalist world, particularly followingWorld War II.[2] Social liberal ideas and parties tend to be considered centrist or centre-left.[3][4][5][6][7]


Social Conservative

Social conservatism is a political, and usually morally influenced, ideology that focuses on the preservation of what are seen as traditional values. Social conservatism is a form of authoritarianism often associated with the position that the national government, or the state, should have a greater role in the social and moral affairs of its citizens, generally supporting whatever it sees as morally correct choices and discouraging or outright forbidding those it considers morally wrong ones.[1][2] In the United States during the mid to late 20th century, the notion of preserving traditional values was seen by many social conservatives as an ideal that had been gradually eroded by a number of federal legislative passages and US Supreme Court decisions, the result of which led to a shift in mainstream social conservatism that involved an increase in grassroots activism and lobbying efforts in an attempt to preserve traditional values at the federal level. This ideology typically saw social change as suspicious, and believed in returning what were referred to as fundamental values


Neo Liberal

Neoliberalism is a contemporary form of economic liberalism that emphasizes the efficiency of private enterprise, liberalized trade and relatively open markets to promote globalization. Neoliberals therefore seek to maximize the role of the private sector in determining the political and economic priorities of the world.


Neo Conservative

Neoconservatism is a variant of the political ideology of conservatism which combines features of traditional conservatism with political individualism and a qualified endorsement of free markets.[1] Neoconservatism (or new conservatives) is rooted in a group of former liberals, who in the late 1960s, began to oppose many of the policies and principles associated with President Lyndon Johnson‘s Great Society programs.[2] The term “neoconservative” was initially used in the 1930s to describe American liberals who criticized other liberals who followed a path closer to Soviet communism



Libertarianism is one of a variety of political ideologies that holds that the modernist project is fulfilled by individual dominance over the state formation. This may be a moderate solution where the state formation exists, or an absolutist formation where the state no longer exists. Alongside the statist and anti-statist conceptions, it may be an ideology where private property finds its perfection,[1] or where private property is abolished.

Philosopher Roderick T. Long defines libertarianism as “any political position that advocates a radical redistribution of power from the coercive state to voluntary associations of free individuals”, whether “voluntary association” takes the form of the free market or of communal co-operatives.[2] According to the U.S. Libertarian Party, libertarianism is the advocacy of a government that is funded voluntarily and limited to protecting individuals from coercion and violence.[3] Woodcock, an intellectual historian of anarchism, defines libertarianism as a critical individualist social philosophy, aimed at transforming society by reform or revolution, that fundamentally doubts authority


Totalitarian or Fascism

You can both look those up on Wikipedia


So how does this fit all into electing our Mayor and Councillors (and Local Boards to a very limiting effect) – well it goes something like this.

Auckland has been and is even more so quite split along ideological lines when it comes to electing our representatives and mayor to The Council – more so then when we often elect our national Parliament, although ideology sentiment seems to be returning to our central politics. Right now on the current Auckland Council we have a socially conservative mayor with more or less domination by socially liberal Councillors (Deputy Mayor Hulse and Cllr Cassy as an example). We do have a socially conservative councillor or two as well (Cllr. Mike Lee comes to mind). We do have in the minority a lean towards neo conservative Councillors (Cllr’s Wood and Brewer for example) and maybe the odd neo-liberal  (please let me know if I am wrong there and I will be happily to correct it). If you take a look at the mayor’s and each individual councillor’s voting and opinion patterns over the current term you should be able to find which of the four “points” each of councillor sits.

So again how does this effect us 2013?

Well as I said earlier – we get to elect our second Super Mayor and Auckland Council. Many Aucklander’s will use it as an acceptance or rejection tool of the policies of Mayor Brown and his council supports (the left), while political commentators (we never seem to be short on those) will use it to evaluate the first term of Auckland Council and take a pot-shot guess on what the second term will hold. Also with The Auckland Plan and first Long Term Plan being in effect come 2013 – the election will be a gauge of whether we (Auckland ratepayers per se) “accept” The Auckland Plan and Long Term Plan (which both get finalised and “validated” this year) or utterly reject it as failure.

English: Len Brown - New Zealand politician ht...

If you watch the current debate on The Draft Auckland Plan and The Draft Long Term Plan you can (or should be able to see) the clear political divide on Auckland Council on which way both plans will go (refer to The political points above to give an indication).

Thus using the four mainstream points – I will try to frame which way a candidate will swing in supporting The Auckland and Long Term Plans – especially when candidates gun for your vote (remembering we might not have all four points of the compass utilised from candidates – especially if the mayoral race becomes a two-horse race (which the media love)). Oh this might be simplistic – but most of us vote and think when voting along simplistic ways – not everyone is a political buff 😀

A Social Liberal Candidate

Being of the left, Social Liberals are more likely to support the collective over the individual as a higher priority. Economics wise social liberals are likely to spend your rate payers dollars on capital projects that support the collective. This usually means public transport over roading (per se), large community centres like pools and libraries, community type things like theatres and large-scale parks, shy away from user-pays systems like rubbish and libraries, and will support welfare initiatives such as Council Housing. Social Liberals will also see (for the public good) things like the Port of Auckland being in “public hands” (entirely council owned) as can suspicious of the private sector although minority shareholdings are more tolerable than Social Conservatives would allow.

Values wise: social liberals are tolerant to most things within reason and are easily adaptable to change. Theoretically things like brothels and booze outlet locations (or even being allowed in the first place) would not bother them. Being liberal they are more like to rehabilitate then punish offenders.

Political and rights wise Social Liberals can be individualistic – but as a rule of thumb they support the collective first. In Auckland’s terms that means Heritage Houses are protected even though that can impinge on the property rights of the owner. However Social Liberals if they were true social liberals – would allow the continuation in the freedom of the individual which includes their basic property rights (allowing to do whatever on their own land (within reason). However being of the left, Social Liberals in the name of “Common Good” will use “state” redistribution of wealth, goods and services and that is where impingement on the individual could happen. In saying that though if we use The Draft Auckland Plan and Draft Long Term Plan as an example; social liberals would focus on things like public transport, community type things and using ratepayers dollars to help fund Council Housing, homeless shelters and maybe hold minority stakes in infrastructure such as ports and airports. The belief behind that is that social liberals allow the private sector and market to operate but have the regulation and safety net there to take the sharpest edges off the free market and catch those who are downtrodden and need a hand. Social Liberals if true to their word would not support the 75:25 development ration and allow a softer RUB (the right would eliminate both) so that the private sector can operate more freely (property rights prevail) – but there is a slight moderator so things do not run away (like a nuclear reactor or a total free for all). Any candidates claiming social liberal you should check against the definition of social liberals – the western world per se has been operating on a Social Liberal bent since 1945 to around the neo liberal era beginning 1987. So for most – you have experienced it.

So which candidate is a social liberal.

Social Liberals believe in theory a medium or moderate government.


A Social Conservative Candidate

Being of the left also, Social Liberals are more likely to support the collective over the individual as a more TOTAL priority. Economics wise social conservatives are likely to spend your rate payers dollars on capital projects that support the collective. This usually means public transport over roading (per se), large community centres like pools and libraries, community type things like theatres and large-scale parks, shy away from user-pays systems like rubbish and libraries, and will support welfare initiatives such as Council Housing. Social Conservatives will also see (for the public good) things like the Port of Auckland being in “public hands” (entirely council owned) as they are suspicious of the private sector (more so than social liberals).

Values wise like Neo Conservatives, social conservatives are more authoritarian and suspicious of “change.” Social Con’s again like their neo con’s support tradition values and will regulate activities they seem offensive – such as booze stores, brothels and to a degree the Occupy Movement. However the difference between a social and neo con is basically on what their economics are – social wise they are the exact same. Fascism and Totalitarian are the ultra forms of social conservatism.

With things like property rights, social conservatives will regulate what an individual private property owner can do with their capital and land – this often mean either a crap load of paper work and hurdle jumping to do something simple as building a deck on your property or complex as a housing sub division. Social conservatives will often “enforce” their way of doing something – something you can see in The Draft Auckland Plan through the strict Rural Urban Boundary that will strictly enforce city urban limits, as well as the 75:25 Brownfield:Greenfield development ratio.

Social Conservatives will punish rather than rehabilitate or “compromise” unlike Social Liberals.

Social Conservatives believe in big government.

So which candidates would fall into the Social Con box?


A Neo Liberal Candidate

Social wise – neo liberals practice the Individual Freedom, Choice and Responsibility (National Party Motto) rationale that dictates the individual is of higher priority than the collective (opposite to the Social Liberal). Effectively you are free to do as you chose and want (within reason) as long as you bear basically responsibilities (such as punishment for yelling BOMB in Britomart Train Station). Neo Liberals believe that your individual conscience would assist those in need (private charity) rather than having the state either doing it or telling you to do it for you.

Economics wise the neo liberal allows for unfettered enterprise, the free market and the invisible hand to guide course and actions of individuals, businesses, governments and their transactions. Neo Liberals in the strictest sense again allow for private charity more than social charity that social liberals believe in. With Neo Liberals focusing on the individual over the collective, as well as the free market; Neo Lib’s would focus on reducing spending the operation of the “state” to basic levels – effectively rates, rubbish (although that even can be contracted out), roads (“cover” capital projects for core infrastructure) – with everything else provided for mainly by the private sector (public transport, theatre, pools and libraries) under a user pays or private sponsorship system

Property Rights wise, neo liberals believe the state should not interfere in one’s private property rights and that an individuals conscience along with the market would “regulate” the individuals actions upon their private property and land. Auckland Plan wise  – the entire Plan would be chucked and a new one written with no Brownfield:Greenfield ratios and no Rural Urban Boundaries. The free market and individual conscious would dictate development for the city rather than centralised central city planners and councillors.

Neo Liberals believe in small limited government.


Neo Conservative

Neo Con’s in NZ are funny – in the USA the Neo Con’s like big government and some good old fashion totalitarianism (The Bush years of 2000-2008). However Neo Con’s here believe in the neo liberal prescription in economics and small limited government but are the exact same as social conservatives in the social values department which means big government.

Property Rights presents a really humdinger to the points of contradiction. Our Neo Con’s believe in freedom and property rights but unlike neo and social liberals they will regulate which often runs against freedom of property rights. In theory a Social and Neo Lib would allow development to occur and places such as booze and brothel outlets to set up more freely than a conservative would. However that can be explained by Demerit Goods and Consumer Sovereignty – effectively put if the good or service is deemed bad for society which booze and sex for money is deemed to be (so a demerit good) then Consumer Sovereignty is  thus removed for those demerit activities and thus regulated.  So free market, fiscal prudence and pro property rights one side, but regulation on the other when the good or service is deemed  a demerit good therefore consumer sovereignty has to be removed rather than allowing the free market to remove it.

Auckland Plan and Long Term Plan wise – cross between a social and neo liberal. Neo Cons would more likely go for the soft RUB and 50:50 development ratio, while regulating certain activities such as sex and booze; then advocate the “rates, roads, rubbish” persona of the neo liberal for small and fiscally prudent governance.

So who are our Neo Conservatives?


For our two fringe options – I might cover them at a later date

Although you can check out a pitch on the Libertarian front here at LIBERATENZ


Where Next?

Time for you to take the test and see where you land – then when the candidates come forward for you vote measure their “policies” against your “beliefs” per the political compass so you can vote for your “right” candidate to represent you. Candidates should take the test as well to see where they stack up and assist us voters of where they lie economically and socially.

2013 will be a closely watched and fought race – the question is who deserves your ticks on the ballot paper.

Where do I sit – I will cover that in my next post on 2013.