Blogging On Today’s Local Tax Discussion

Len Brown: 13 options to increase your tax | Whale Oil Beef Hooked | A blog by Cameron Slater.

The NZ Herald first mentioned of the announcement from Mayor Len Brown this morning with reactions coming in quick and fast all over the Internet (sorry I do not listen to Talk Back Radio).

You see on Whale Oil some of the reactions to the Mayor’s piece which was received negatively in general.

I have commented in that particular post extensively on a number of matters that were brought up by comments written.

Of particular attention was paid to The Draft Long Term Plan which sets about revenue and expenditure activities for the Auckland Council over the next ten years. I have provided the document of the draft plan below. Now I know it is mind boggling and even longer than The Draft Auckland Plan (which was 95% of pretty pictures any way) with heaps of things people do not like – NUMBERS. And by numbers I mean numbers that can run into the billions of dollars.

It seems Mayor Brown is trying to frame the debate where the lion share of our ratepayers dollars will end up in transport expenditure – I recommend people take a good look at The Draft Long Term Plan and prepare a submission on how you want your money raised and spent on Council capital and operational expenditure. I will be writing my submission and submitting it in due course – to which I hope it was not an utter waste of time due to a pre-set Council already predetermined on its action plan for 2012-2022.

Look there will be the traditional Stalinist vs Neo Liberal Cock Fight over how our money is raised and spent on Council operations, and it is that traditional cock fight that has already made us lose the debate before it even begun on how we are going get our House in order and deliver on things that are of sense to the City. Can leadership get us through the cock fight, give us a meaningful debate and propose, consult and deliver an economically and socially viable set of Budgets for the next ten years – WITHOUT BANKRUPTING THE CITY!.

For balance I include the link to Campaign for Better Transport and their debate on Len’s release of the discussion paper. I have time for CBT as they do great things like the Onehunga Line. I might not always agree with CBT but they hold my respect collectively in doing their best to better Auckland in the transport department. To be perfectly honest – a bit of my inspiration comes from those guys. Well not the Eastern Highway bit but for the rest yes 🙂

I will be running commentary into the discussion paper as well as POAL and The Draft Auckland Plan.

But it is a case of NOT ENOUGH TIME to write all this stuff 😦

The Draft Long Term Plan

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Fuel, GST hikes eyed for Auckland – National – NZ Herald News

Fuel, GST hikes eyed for Auckland – National – NZ Herald News.

It seems the debate is on and pretty extensive and white hot.

I am commenting and keeping an eye on the Internet as much I can about this issue but I can not be everywhere at once.

I have to go shred a tonne of garden waste so I will run commentary on the funding proposals later tonight.

In the mean time it seems the debate is already lost…

Time to Rethink This Experiment? Delusion Down Under | Newgeography.com

Time to Rethink This Experiment? Delusion Down Under | Newgeography.com.

Just give me a few moments while I recover from the best case of Rolling On The Floor Laughing My F—ing Ass Off I have seen in a very long time.

Right – back and with coffee.

You want to know why I had a bout of ROFLMFAO? Because the article I have linked is so true and so close to home that you could literally replace ‘South East Queensland‘ with Auckland (I will leave poor Christchurch out of this) with Auckland, the various Acts of Parliament in the article with either The Resource Management Act 1991 or The Local Government Acts 2002 and 2009 (Auckland Governance) and any “plans” made by local or the state government(s) as a muddle version of The Draft Auckland Plan AND the article would still be exactly the same no matter if it was for Queensland or Auckland.

Although after the fit of laughter came a bout of sadness and frustration – knowing the fact that two power house economies (South East Queensland and Auckland) have been or rather being strangled by excessive regulation set upon by Stalinist Central Planners and supporters in government.

I wonder if South East Queensland gave Auckland its inspiration for The Draft Auckland Plan, or Auckland giving South East Queensland inspiration for what they have done – or are they both co-conspiring?

Any case – a sad state of affairs over there and here… 

Trials, Tribulations and Middle Class Protest in Christchurch, New Zealand | Newgeography.com

Trials, Tribulations and Middle Class Protest in Christchurch, New Zealand | Newgeography.com.

 

An article from leading urban and transportation public policy analyst Wendell Cox on the true trials and tribulations down in Christchurch.

A very fitting and very refreshing article on the plight of the residents and businesses of Christchurch especially after I had made comment about the same situation in yesterday’s post about Christchurch.

As I said, my heart goes out to the people and businesses of Christchurch who are suffering from not only the aftermath of the quakes, but a Stalinist City Council who seems rather inept in their powers of General Incompetence given to them (Local Government Act 2002) of getting Christchurch back on its feet the way the people and businesses want it.

Workings on Relocating Port of Auckland

Work Starts on Draft Drawings for Relocating Port of Auckland to South East Auckland

 

As I chose South East Auckland (Clevedon) as my preferred site in relocating Port of Auckland, so that it can be a more healthier and productive port, I am beginning (albeit slowly) to draw up draft diagrams and maps on the relocation site as well as transit links and subsequent urban development. Now granted that I am no master urban designer or planner – although I did study geography and planning at the University of Auckland for five years, however I think it taught me the basic skills to do drawings basic for people to understand  (I suppose if you want to see my last two pieces you can go HERE and HERE).

Now this first picture if of the actual site in the relocated port and three transit links combining both road and rail. The jpeg picture does not do the drawings justice so I will try to upload a ZIP folder with the Google Earth shot that has full descriptions and distances of the proposed POAL relocation and associated transit links. [Note from Admin: I have uploaded the file successfully to a file sharing site, you can access it HERE – no apologies made about the pop-ups though as I need a place to upload Google Earth files]

Now if you use Google Earth (which I would recommend as I will be using the application a lot for my POAL Mock-up work) you can download the file, extract it to a documents folder, open Google Earth, Select File > Open and select the Google Earth file (Draft Transport Workings in POAL Relocation Program) and it should open with all my “drawings” and annotations attached. 

With Google Earth you can see in detail where I am suggesting the port to go and the accompanying transit links (both road and rail). You can probably work out that I have a small problem of existing urban areas at Takanini and north east Papakura in trying to get the new transit links hooked up to either State Highway One or the North Island Main Trunk Line (Rail). However with a bit of creative thinking and acknowledging some sprawl was due to occur in the area (my own submission called from extensive urban development in the entire area) it can be done especially if the market calls for it.

However this is what my enquiry would look into with fine detail: the exact site for the relocated port, the required transit links and their location, subsequent urban development, environmental mitigation requirements and the Benefit:Cost Ratio for the entire scheme (or more to the point the cost of an ambitious scheme).

Over the next half-year (yes it would take this long) I will continue to work on the drawings and other work on the Relocation Port of Auckland Project (I will think of a marketing name soon) and post them here at VOAKL as well as share with interested others.

Port of Auckland has provided us an opportunity like The Auckland Plan did – lets not scotch this opportunity (as the Plan was) and work together in getting our sick Port of Auckland back into health (and the benefits that will flow on from it.

A new comment form is attached below to garner feedback and support on this exciting project.

 

What does density look like? « Auckland Transport Blog

What does density look like? « Auckland Transport Blog.

 

An alternative perspective to what I wrote yesterday about the same NZ Herald Article. However check my comment on that particular Blog post below asking a question about “classes” of housing.

I asked:

Quote: While these places may not appeal to everyone aesthetically, that is something that could be improved, what is important is to understand just kind of densities are being discussed.

That be rather true there – our urban design has not quite matured compared to the rest of the world just yet ;) but I say we are getting there :)

Wait you said two bedroom apartments for 70-80sqm would be quite livable? Errr who for exactly? If I was reading the Overcrowding article properly it is the fact we are lacking 4-6 bedroom houses at the 250-350m2 range for our extended families which we seem to be getting more of especially as this city becomes more multicultural.

Which begs the question – who are we trying to house here? Singles, Couples with no kids, the typical European Nuclear family or the Eastern and Polynesian family of mum, dad, the kids, grandma, aunty and uncle and maybe some cousins or grand kids.

I don’t quite think that question has been answered yet with housing in Auckland.

If you read this article here from the NZ Herald titled “Divided Auckland: Overcrowding a hotbed for infections” you could probably appreciate where I am coming from with respecting to our poor housing and health issues which cost us far too much for something that is entirely preventable.

Now I would support this:

“A basic thing would be a housing warrant of fitness that covers health, safety and sustainability issues, a bit like the five-star approach with appliances.” He believes that could be run by the Auckland Council.

So enough bedrooms, maybe some land for the crops (no pigs guys we are inside urban limits), fully insulated and a HRV system with a dehumidifier as minimum basics for ALL housing in NZ to get our health issues under control.

Of course the issue of housing and health is complex when you look at: cost, planning regulations, cultural factors, land available to build, housing stock – however we as a city must tackle this problem as basic and healthy shelter for healthy people is a basic right. To shun it would cost us (and it already does) dearly both economically and socially.

City rebuild plan ‘unworkable’ – Christchurch earthquake – NZ Herald News

City rebuild plan ‘unworkable’ – Christchurch earthquake – NZ Herald News.

It seems Christchurch City Council (with the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority being also implicit) is adopting the Stalinist Command and Control Central Planning Ideal in the effort to rebuild Christchurch.

Heck almighty Christchurch City Council seem to be doing a better job then Auckland Council at Stalinist Central Planning – what an embarrassment for Auckland that is.

Graeme McDonald of the Property Council’s South Island Branch was quoted in saying:

“The current draft plan includes ideological restrictions on building height, placement, floor area, and parking needs, favouring a green city over an economically viable city,” he said. “There is insufficient incentive for property owners to rebuild or reinvest back into the CBD. The local economy will be severely at risk if capital exits the Canterbury region altogether, hindering the rebuild efforts even further.”

With reply from Christchurch City Council stating:

But the council says it has spent the past eight months developing the plan in consultation with the greater Christchurch community, key stakeholders, and partners Te Runanga o Ngai Tahu, the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority, and Environment Canterbury.

Now where I have heard that (in particular “consultation”) before – wait could it be our very own lemon called The Draft Auckland Plan which has ideals very similar to what Christchurch City Council is belting out on the hapless residents and businesses of Christchurch.

I always having a feeling that consultation in Council terms means: “We dictate to you, we might have a listen and a monologue conversation to you but at the end of the day this consultation was a formality by the requirements of the Local Government Act 2002.”

Now dialogue is where there is a two-way conversation and “adaptations” and changing are made willingly when public opinion or expert advice says otherwise to the original plans.

What is happening in Christchurch should be a lesson for Auckland on a path it should not go down today or tomorrow. I think my submission into Land Allocation/Development/Utilisation might be of benefit to Christchurch as much as (if not more than) Auckland.

I feel for my Garden City compatriots having to go through the crap down there from your City Council that you are.

Time to replace the Council? I think so…

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.