Fringe Benefit Tax for Carparks?

A (rare) bouquet for NZTA « Auckland Transport Blog.

 

Now this came across the Auckland Transport Blog feed last night while I was having tea at work.

Basically it is this:

A report prepared for the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) is recommending the government investigate changing the fringe benefit tax to include employer-subsidised parking because of concerns employers are undermining attempts to ”encourage more efficient commuting behaviour”.

More than half the country’s workforce are estimated to have access to free parks provided by their employer.

”The [tax] exemption of employer-provided parking is a widespread benefit that has a significant impact on transport choices,” the NZTA report says.

It calculates the value of employer-provided car parking in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch at around $2700 per employee and suggests the untaxed benefits total at least $675m annually.

”The availability of ‘free’ employer-provided parking in the CBDs of New Zealand’s main cities provides a direct incentive to drive to the very destinations that are most congested and best served by public transport,” the report says.

”There is a major focus on reducing congestion and increasing the use of public transport in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, yet parking provided on premises by employers is tax-free and at no cost to employees.”

 

It would work something like this:

In Australia, employer-provided car parking is taxed as a benefit but employers only have to pay it if there is a commercial car park within 1km of their business which charges more than $7 for all-day parking. That $7 threshold has been set so as to isolate the tax to urban areas where parking is valuable, congestion problems exist, and public transport alternatives are available.

”A similar amendment to New Zealand tax law would assist in aligning Australian and New Zealand tax law, and reduce the significant tax revenue loss that this untaxed benefit currently represents,” the NZTA report says.

 

I like the idea in general, however I would get caught out (via my employer) through such a scheme if the boss decides to pass the costs directly on to us workers.

The nature of my work can having me arriving or leaving the CBD outside public transport hours – to which the CBD car-park is needed. The boys at Auckland Transport Blog would have to think very carefully how such a scheme would work. The idea is not to piss off those who work in public transport but need to park in the CBD for various reasons (including working outside of public transport hours.

 

Although I can see the Citizen and Ratepayers group kicking a fuss over this?

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Designed to Fail – Honolulu Rail Saga Ctd

Designed to Fail

via Designed to Fail.

After I had posted on Honolulu’s rail woes on Sunday here at VOAKL, Councillor Quax had passed on a blog link giving further insight on Honolulu’s woes.

I can not comment much on it for various reasons. Needless to say Auckland with its rail is not in the same situation – especially with our peak commuters going from A to B and our off-peak commuters doing the same.

Put it this way, a heavy rail line replacing the Northern Busway with our brand new 3-car EMU‘s running as 6-car (double) sets running every 4-7 mins would increase the capacity of that particular line upwards of the 1000% mark. This is based on replacing a 72 seater large bus travelling down that bus way every 2-4 minutes (any more frequent and you get bus-jams) with a 6-car EMU holding 800 passengers every 4-7 minutes. So 15 buses an hour (bus every 4 minutes) at 72 seats each means a capacity of 1,080 potential passengers down that bus way an hour – double if every two minutes. 6-car EMU holding 800 passengers travelling every 5 minutes would mean 12 trains an hour – so 12×800 =  9,600 passengers on the move.  Looking at those numbers – you are going to need some serious crowd control at Britomart and the CRL stations 😛

Auckland's Northern Busway adjacent to the Nor...
Auckland's Northern Busway adjacent to the Northern Motorway, State Highway 1. Passengers boarding a 'Maxx Northern Express' service operated by Ritchies Coachlines. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In any case – Auckland can learn from Honolulu – BEFORE the ratepayers revolt!

Local Government Reforms

Minister of Local Government has Begun the Ball Rolling on Local Government Reforms.

 

And bang on cue, the Minister of Local Government – the Hon. Dr Nick Smith has released the ‘Better Local Government’ initiative. This initiative is designed to bring council debt and expenditure under control by giving black and white prescriptions on what councils can and can not do. There is also a door now open for other regional and territorial authorities to merge just as Auckland did in 2010.

I have not had a chance to read the paper yet from Nick Smith – busy flat-out trying to cover everything including a submission to the Draft Long Term Plan. However I will run commentary on it most likely this weekend after some time digesting the paper – and allowing the pure ideological shit-storm-cock fight to calm down as well (simply put let’s try for an objective debate, not a subjective one).

In the mean time some media articles on the proposed reforms, with the actual paper embedded below.

New Zealand Herald

The National Business Review

Scoop

 

Rates, Roads, Rubbish – the cry of the Centre-Right. How far will these reforms go without further buggering up the city…

 

The Better Local Government – March 2012 paper.

Dr Smith – It will Simply NOT WORK

Minister eyes 10 per cent cap on Super City rates rises – National – NZ Herald News.

Any feeble attempt at capping rates will be nothing short of an utter failure – ok? You need to address the cause of runaway Council debt and expenditure

 

Local and Central Government need to effectively get rid of the Local Government Act 2002 and restart it with very black and white prescriptions on what Council can and can not do. None of this ‘General Powers of Competence (or rather Incompetence as the late Owen McShane said) which gives councils a free rein (without the money to back it up) seeming the Central Government shirk its responsibilities and plays pass the buck.

If one wants a starting point in some council budget reviews; ask yourself what should be CORE Council responsibilities? Do we include social aspects as outlined in Volume Two of the Draft Long Term Plan? If we were to wipe the Lifestyle and Culture budget line – could the $5.5b saved be of net benefit to the city fiscal and social wise?

 

These are all questions we need think of and answer before taking off on follies such as capping rates.

History is about to Repeat itself – AGAIN

Housing boom coming, says Key – Property – NZ Herald News.

 

Talk about Clowns here – the Prime Minister says one thing and his Minister of Finance says the exact opposite. Who on Earth are we meant to believe here?

More to the point the apparent housing boom is already here in Auckland – that is The Housing PRICE Boom that is.

 

Cause? Lack of supply from Stalinist Auckland Council Planning Rules to allow the market to meet the demand of where people want to simply live.

Effect: Go search the NZ Herald on rent prices running amok – or simply put housing becomes even more unaffordable.

Solution: Go read my submission on land use. 

 

It seems history is about to repeat itself – again, condemning even more Aucklander‘s out of the housing market and their first or even second choice on where they want to live…

Submission Time

Time to Write my Submission to the Draft Long Term Plan

The end of the business day this Friday (23rd March) is when submission close for the Auckland Draft Long Term Plan. The LTP being the “action-plan” of Auckland Council over the next ten years, it sets how much rates we are charged and where the money goes. This first LTP will (in theory) set in motion phase one of three of the Auckland Plan which has a 30-year life.

So over the next week I will be busy assembling my submission – topics that I will be covering are:

  • Land Allocation/Development/Utilisation in southern Auckland as the 60:40 ratio of Brownfield:Greenfield urban development is carried out
  • Local Board, touching on areas of interest in my local board area – Papakura
  • Transport: Setting out the “Priority One” projects per my submission to the Draft Auckland Plan
  • Rates and debt: scary stuff a 10% rate rise and a $8.4b debt isn’t? Time to get the finances back in order
  • Port of Auckland: I want it moved and so will lobby hard to get that port moved AWAY from the prime waterfront

The list seems long but I have adapted to the art of short, sharp and sweet – of which this submission will be.

VOAKL will be still running limited commentary on issues that come to hand while I am writing the submission.

VOAKL: MY Auckland, MY Rates, MY City, MY Call

Honolulu’s Money Train – Can we See Auckland Here Folks?

Honolulu’s Money Train | Newgeography.com.

Have a read folks – enough to make one cry, and you know what the funny thing is? Auckland is in the exactly same boat!!!

Why is that?

Take a look at each point (started in bold) that Professor Cox has risen. Now apart from a few differences (owing from our legal structure such as pensions and the USA being federal) you could replace Honolulu with the word Auckland. So let’s go through the entire article and try shall we. All references and rights of the original material belong to Professor Cox – I am drawing a comparison here (my points will be inside the [] brackets).

Honolulu’s [Auckland’s] Beleaguered Residents

Critically, there is plenty of competition for the scarce dollars that Honolulu [Auckland] residents have to spare. The city’s basic infrastructure is in bad shape.

(Sewer) Water, Water Everywhere: A consent decree signed between local officials and the Environmental Protection Agency requires major upgrades to the sewer system. Sewer overflows are not unusual. Just a few days ago, 51,000 gallon raw sewage spilled into a local stream. The state issued a brown water alert for the entire island of Oahu (which is also the combined city and county of Honolulu), including Waikiki Beach and all other beaches. As of this writing, the brown water advisory has not been cancelled. Just in the last year, the state has reported 17 sewage spills and four brown water alerts. For this to happen in a highly tourist dependent economy is nothing short of astounding. [Think Mission Bay and Takapuna Beach here]

More than Leaky Pipes: The city’s water system is in need of major upgrades. From 2004 to 2009, water main breaks were virtually a daily occurrence. In an effort to solve the problem, the city has raised water rates 60 percent in the last five years and plans another 70 percent increase over the next five years. How much more will be required after that is anyone’s guess. “How are people going to make it? I just don’t know” reacted City council Budget Chair Ann Kobayashi. [Well we are not that bad with fresh water – as with storm water that is a different matter entirely]

High Cost of Housing, High Cost of Living: Honolulu [Auckland] residents already endure the most unaffordable housing  in the nation, with median house prices 8.7 [6.4] times median household incomes. That is three times Dallas-Fort Worth.  Honolulu’s [Auckland’s] overall cost of living is also the highest in the nation, outside six metropolitan areas in the greater New York and San Francisco Bay Areas. Honolulu residents pay $1.41 to buy what $1.00 buys in St. Louis, 1.24 for each $1.00 in Austin and $1.21 for each $1.00 in Phoenix [go to qv.co.nz is to NZ comparable values]

Choices: This is not about easy choices. The sewer remediation, water system maintenance, government employee pension and government employee retiree health care benefits are mandatory. The rail expenditures are not [Rates, Roads, Rubbish and Libraries anyone?]

The Rickety Rail Project

Yet the city of Honolulu [Auckland] would tax its residents even more to pay for a 20 mile [3.4km] rail line [tunnel] to empty farmland well beyond the urban fringe [under the CBD]. This is a project not unlike the early 1900s land speculation schemes of Henry Huntington in Los Angeles and the Sweringens of Shaker Heights (Cleveland). There is, however, one important difference. The Huntington and the Swearingens bet their own money. Honolulu is betting the money of its taxpayers. The city hopes to receive $1.55 billion from the federal government[50% from Central Government in Wellington], with local residents [ratepayers] left to pay a hefty 70 [50] percent of the cost. This $3.575 billion local [$3.6b TOTAL (after the rail fallacy is taken into account)] share would create the highest tax burden for any urban rail line ever built-in the nation, at more than $10,000 per household[$857 for every man, women and child in NEW ZEALAND]. But residents should “thank their lucky stars” if that’s all they have to pay, given the history of cost overruns on such projects around the world. [Manukau Line having cost 1.6x more than budget, over a year late and still 110 metres short to where the station should be]

Stacking the Deck: The Federal Court Challenge: The planning process is being challenged in federal court. The plaintiffs argue that the rail selection process eliminated more cost effective options with biased analysis. This would not be the first time.

Annie Weinstock, Walter Hook, Michael Replogle, and Ramon Cruz of the Institute for Transportation Development and Policy (with a foreword by Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenaur),  cited circuitous routing of a busway that biased ridership forecasts in favor of light rail for the suburban Washington Purple Line. Weinstock, Hook, Repogle and Cruz refer to a similar “deck stacking technique” that favored an expensive rail project over a busway in the suburban Washington Dulles corridor. They fault local officials more than federal:

While there is no outright pro-rail bias at the FTA, there is indeed FTA complicity in the rail bias of city and state level mass transit project sponsors. The FTA, when evaluating New Starts and Small Starts project applications, tends to bow to political pressure to favor locally preferred alternatives and ignore certain forms of rail bias by the project sponsors

[Think John Key vs Len Brown on that one]

Pulling the Plug on Rail? Former Governor Ben Cayatano has filed to run against Mayor Carlisle in the August 2012 election. In announcing his entry, Governor Cayatano said “I will pull the plug on rail.” Polls show Mr. Cayetano ahead of both Mayor Carlisle and a third candidate. [Have not seen anyone yet willing to do that and run for mayor – but elections are next year anyway]

Capital Cost Escalation: state report indicated that construction costs could rise well above forecast. Every penny above the $5.125 billion capital cost will be the responsibility of local taxpayers. Based upon the international experience, this could easily raise the per household cost from $15,000 to $20,000. [Original cost of the CRL, $1.4b, then $2.4b, then $2.8b and my bets are $3.6b after the Rail Fallacy applies and the first sod of soil has not been even turned yet.]

Ridership Optimism Bias: Echoing general concerns raised by Weinstock, Hook, Repogle and Cruz (above), the state report indicated concern over an optimism bias in the ridership projections. For example, the city expects 60 percent of rail riders to use the bus to get to the train.  This is four times the rate of the largest new rail system built in the nation (Washington’s Metro).  Using the bus to connect to the train makes travel much slower and this factor has often been over-estimated by rail planners. This unrealistic assumption alone could qualify the Honolulu ridership forecast as among the most inaccurate in history.  Fewer riders. more money out of residents pockets. [That is an issue and post in its own right – something I would leave Auckland Transport Blog to cover.]

A Billion Here, A Billion There: As if all of this were not enough, a report for the Federal Transit Administration, obtained by the Star Advertiser through a freedom of information request, indicates that the operating costs of the transit system may be understated by as much as $1 billion over the next 20 years. That’s $3,000 per Honolulu household (Note 1). [Remember the Rail Fallacy: always 1.5x the original cost and deadline for a rail project]

Federal [Wellington] Doubts: Federal Transit Administration Regional Administrator Leslie Rogers [Prime Minister John Key] expressed concern about Honolulu’s [Auckland’s] ability to afford the project in a letter to local officials, noting that the funding program is insufficient. Local taxpayers likely will need to pony up more.

Debt Limit Suspended: After having claimed it could afford the rail debt, the city suspended its debt limit — a fact discovered four months after the fact by the Star Advertiser.  Usually, breaches of trust like this become evident only much later in the rail construction process. A suspended debt limit means more money out of taxpayer pockets, or worse. Jefferson County, Alabama filed bankruptcy after not being able to afford payments on its sewer debt. [Our debt is forecasted to be at $8.4 BILLION by 2021 with the CRL making upwards of $3.6b of that debt. 25% of your rates people will be paying the $521 MILLION of interest on that $8.4b debt in 2021. Financial illiteracy much here?]

How Would Rail Change Honolulu [Auckland]

With rail, Honolulu [Auckland] there are two [well one as ours is underground] ways that Honolulu will be changed:

No Traffic Relief: Despite being only the 52nd largest metropolitan area in the nation, Honolulu has the second worst traffic congestion in the nation (see figure), according to INRIX, the leading international reporting source. Honolulu and Los Angeles are the only US metropolitan areas ranked in the worst 25 out of 200 in Western Europe and the United States. Even with the rail system, local plans call for traffic congestion to get worse. 

[I bet Queen Street will still be choked with cars as ever after the CRL]

Getting the Choices Right

Incumbent Mayor Peter Carlisle recently returned from a Potemkin Village tour of Manila, raving about that city’s rail system. Governor Cayateno, whose familiarity with Manila extends well beyond a scripted tour, called Mayor Carlisle’s comparison with Manila “comedic,” noting that most residents cannot afford a car or that Manila has more than 10 times as many people.  [Go read the actual article from Professor Cox as you need to see the pictures to understand the point. Basically rail’s reach in Auckland is limited, without feeder systems such as park and rides or feeder buses, our rail system could never achieve the numbers it needs to free up Auckland. Catch is how much are we willing to spend to do so. The idea is not to bankrupt the city on the way out folks…]

The article was an eye opener while making one cry on the way out. Auckland has a chance to NOT go down the Honolulu path but on current paths we ARE!

Auckland Council – think carefully here before you spend our money on potential follies – we are watching – so PLEASE LISTEN!

VOAKL: MY Auckland – MY Money – MY CALL


NBR has something to say on the Government

Key follows failed Blairite formula | The National Business Review.

 

Rather interesting article from Matthew Hooton who is a Centre-Right supporter. I am mentioning this article here at VOAKL as this comment struck a point – it was:

John Key was the best thing that happened to NZ politics in a 100 years – we voted him in and we watched him run a great PR programme for the first term – but little else.

He was the one guy who could transform NZ with new innovative world leading legacy policy. By the beginning of last year pre the last election it was evident that he had the intellect but not the balls to deliver.

He scraped in at the last elections but very nearly got the old proverbial caning from a group of opposition party lightweights.

Now we are well into his second term and still waiting for his legacy policy. The new Ministry is a lame aggregation of numerous lame ministries who never deliver and never will until they have a clear direction and focus.

Nick Smith restructuring Local Councils is another joke. Local Councils have only accumulated such large debt because successive Governments have transferred responsibility and costs for infrastructure like roading and social responsibility to the Councils – reduce Government debt increase local body debt ( net benefit nil to the taxpayer/ratepayer ). Now that lunatic Nick Smith is endeavouring to be the saviour to ratepayers by restructuring inept councils – give us a break Nick – you are an idiot.

So we all ask ” when is John key going to transfer his energy from good guy/great public speaker at business functions ( which by the way isn’t representative of the majority in the street who don’t get free corporate functions to listen to John ) into the “REAL DEAL” – we want and deserve a period where NZ Inc has once again led the world with legacy policy – once again in the upper levels of the OECD wealth tables.

We need a number of new ” Fisher & Paykel“s ” ( which once had world leading technology and all production was based here ) – Rakon’s etc etc. We need exports full stop. That is the only way to get this country forward.

So things like Nick Smith juggling money between local councils and central government and creating a new Ministry are pathetic examples of what little this National Government is achieving so far – absolutely no innovation or visionary thinking

The Doctor | Saturday, March 17, 2012 – 8:45am

 

The comment is worth its weight in gold – but it was the bits I have put in bold that are worth their weight in platinum! Why? Because what this person said is beyond 110% true in regards to Central Government reforming in a meaningful manner Local Government. Look Auckland alone is facing some nasty rate rises pushing 10% and debt blowing out to $8.4b by 2021. Effectively (according to Cllr Cameron Brewer) in the year 2021 $521m of our ratepayer’s money is going to pay JUST the interest of $8.4b debt – or 25% of my rates bill for that year. Central Government needs to reform Local Government  to get costs and debt under control.

Black and white prescriptions need to be set out on what councils can and can not do: starting with an extremely close look on “social” aspects of council responsibility and doing away with this ‘Powers of General Competence (or rather Incompetence as the late Owen McShane would say) crap. Look if the Rates, Road and Rubbish philosophy (and battle cry of the Centre-Right) was ever carried out – automatically $5.5b of expenditure (from the Culture and Lifestyle budget line) would be wiped off the Auckland Council main budget. The savings could be used for that City Rail Link or giving us a rates decrease.

However I seriously doubt we will get any meaningful reform so issues such as: rates, road, rubbish and even urban/transport planning are still going to earn the ire of Auckland.

VOAKL does push for meaningful reform to local government powers and responsibilities – as we do seem to have the Power of General Incompetence at the top.

We have Already LOST? – The Port of Auckland Debate

The Insider: The real storm in Auckland ports – Politics – NZ Herald News

 

Reading across The Herald this morning while having morning tea and saw this:

THE REAL STORM

The Ports of Auckland dispute with the Maritime Union is a sideshow compared with the looming battle over the port’s container business and expansion plans.

Last week’s Auckland Council decision to review the port’s future only postpones the big fight, and the powerbrokers are arming themselves with lobbyists, PR companies, law firms and economists.

Backing the port is Wellington-based multinational SweeneyVesty and former Act press secretary Trish Sherson.

At Waterfront Auckland, which backs the port and its growth plans, is former National Party president Sue Wood and media supremo Bill Ralston.

Against the port is Heart of the City’s Alex Swney, supported by Auckland marketing gurus Pead PR.

So far, Wellington lobbyists Saunders Unsworth have remained on the sidelines, given their long association with the 14-member port company CEO group

While I have already foresaw this after the MUNZ vs. POAL issue finally subsides, this is still not the news myself and ratepayers want to exactly here. Effectively in the big guns are already squaring up then we as the little people – the individual ratepayers who OWN Port of Auckland have already lost.

It is sad but true – we of Auckland will lose out to the money and PR machine of the big guns and most likely have an outcome lugged upon us that is of no benefit to the city nor us (however I can stand to be corrected at the end of this). I shall tell you why we have already lost in the Our Port, Our Call debate that is Port of Auckland’s location.

One reason is the big money that is about to be thrown in this three-way debate that does not even cover the entire scope of the question that needs to be asked. The question being and that I (and another person) asked (well five actually):

1) Is the Ports of Auckland investment achieving approx 6% ROI, or isn’t it? And if not, what is its ROI?; and

2) Were there any significant work performance issues at the Ports of Auckland that would justify the Board of Directors and its Chairman contemplating a move to contract out the stevedoring function? And if so, what were those performance issues?; and

3) Is what McCarten claims true, about the current Board of Directors having a relatively-thin level of experience in operating a Port? And if so, why are they on the Board, and what possible value do they hope to bring to our valuable Public Asset?

4) For the sake of optimal Return on Investment and Productivity in benefit to the wider economy and social environment: Which ownership model would be considered best for Port of Auckland Limited.

  • 100% Council Owned
  • 75% Council Owned, 25% Private owned
  • Mixed Model: 51% Council Owned, 49% Private Owned
  • Minority Holding: 75% Private, 25% Council Owned
  • Full Privatisation

 

5) For the sake of optimal Return on Investment and Productivity in benefit to the wider economy and social environment: What location would be most suited for Port of Auckland:

  • Port stays where it is and infrastructure upgrades are committed
  • Port gets relocated to somewhere INSIDE Auckland, example south east Auckland
  • Port is relocated somewhere OUTSIDE Auckland. That would mean Port of Tauranga, and Marsden Point in Northland – which would also give way to subsequent infrastructure upgrades as well.

 

These five above questions need to be answered sooner rather than later – especially as these questions and possible outcomes would have major bearing on The Draft Auckland Spatial Plan and The Draft Long Term Plan. Enough of a major bearing that no matter which way the enquiry recommends in questions four and five – it could basically force a total re-write of both draft plans.

 

As for who would conduct this enquiry and the time frame needed, the enquiry board would consist of up to seven people drawing on from: business, industry, engineers and academics to give as broad-range yet expert research advice as possible. The time frame for such an enquiry would be around six to nine months, be fully autonomous from Auckland Council but funded by the Council. The enquiry would be allowed to draw on lobby and public input if deemed required and the final research report plus recommendations should be made public from the onset – as this is of high interest to the wider city and economy.

So big money will be able to lobby, campaign and frame the opinion on Port of Auckland to Auckland Council, we the little people – the individuals, families and local communities will simple get drowned out. Drowned out (and the second reason) as all we can do: is either write a letter to our Councillors, maybe a letter to the editor, hold a Facebook conversation or write a submission to the Draft Long Term Plan. We just simply do not have the measured resources to go up against big money.

By the way as a side note (and a rather massive one at that) – why is the Council Controlled Organisation – Waterfront Auckland partaking in this debate siding with THE MOST CONTROVERSIAL OPTION OF THE ENTIRE LOT? That CCO should be dead-set neutral and facilitating the debate – not participating in it by being on one of the three sides. Conflict of Interest MUCH with the CCO, Auckland Council and Aucklanders who OWN THAT WATERFRONT. By owning it means Waterfront Auckland follows OUR WISHES – not their own.

With big money and big resources being summoned in this Port of Auckland container debate, we effectively get three pre-determined outcomes of which one will be chosen. There will be no debate, no discussion – just a monologue from the PR firms and a token sham of consultation where we might have a “say.” With the three pre-determined outcomes there is no chance of bringing in new ideas for a robust debate – an idea that could be the best idea of the lot for all of Auckland. So in that regard are we stuck with a second or even third-grade choice with POAL.

The funny thing is all this could have been avoided if Auckland Council held that independent enquiry I asked for – to which all I got was this from ACIL.

So time to square myself up for a good old fashion fight. Time to sharpen that pencil and get cracking with my submission on Port of Auckland in the Draft Long Term Plan. Time to get VOAKL ready for being the portal of alternative commentary in the POAL debate:

VOAKL:  MY Voice – OUR Auckland – OUR Port – OUR Call.

Auckland Council does have Leadership – unlike CTU

Auckland Council lacking leadership to help resolve Ports | Scoop News.

 

I was going to comment of this yesterday but ran out of time. However Cameron Slater at Whale Oil did manage to pick up on the matter this morning in his Blog.

 

However reading the Council of Trade Union’s press release I noticed some misinformation from its President – Helen Kelly.

Ports of Auckland workers are disappointed that the Auckland Council has lacked the necessary leadership to help resolve the current employment negotiations at the Ports.

Today the Auckland Council voted down motions from Cr Richard Northey calling for resumption of collective bargaining, and from Cr Cathy Casey calling for a review of the Ports’ requirement for a 12% return on equity.

 

I was reassured by two councillors yesterday that Cllr Northey’s motion was WITHDRAWN not voted down. As for Cllr Casey’s motion – that did get voted down although a shame it was (something I might be changing after seeing the Official Minutes of that Meeting) my letter which ACIL replied to did want to look at the 12% Return on Investment from Council.

 

I have also noticed this:

Bit inappropriate for Councillors to be having a scrap on Facebook. I see it as Conduct Unbecoming and Bringing a Company or Institution into Disrepute. Of which earns a Warning or Dismissal in the Private Sector. For the Public Sector time for a Censure of the wayward Councillors (some be their third one in three weeks)?

 

Look, Council and Mayor Len Brown have done the right thing in the POAL industrial relations saga to which I applaud them for. The one thing maybe Council should have done is seek advice and services of the Minister of Labour and Department of Labour to help resolve the dispute. Sadly we do not have something like Fair Work Australia that settled the QANTAS industrial relations dispute.

However we have a bigger fight coming up with POAL. Something I will be covering soon at POAL.