Tag: Len Brown

THE ACHILLES HEEL OF C&R – CTD

Open Schism in C&R Exposed

 

And so I go trundling through Facebook and Twitter this morning (as I usually do) and I notice this crop up which links to an article from Bernard Orsman and the NZ Herald:

Council duo attack rail link spend

By Bernard Orsman

 

C&R ticket divided on Mayor Brown‘s $2.86 billion policy, with some comparing it to a ‘black hole of Calcutta‘.

 

Spending on rail in Auckland has been compared to a “black hole of Calcutta” as right-leaning councillors take an increasingly strident line against Mayor Len Brown’s $2.86 billion city rail link.

Communities & Residents councillors George Wood and Dick Quax are openly contradicting their ticket’s policy of support for the rail link by saying it does not stack up and calling for a halt.

C&R leader and rail supporter Christine Fletcher is playing down the divisions in the caucus, saying Mr Wood and Mr Quax have always had “extreme” views and the ticket is a broad church.

Mrs Fletcher insisted the C&R policy of supporting the rail link and land purchases, but not approving a start on construction until funding is in place, “was the policy” and had the backing of candidates chosen for next year’s local body elections.

The views of Mr Wood and Mr Quax – half the C&R caucus of four councillors – have hardened in the past week with the release of a Horizon Research poll showing 64 per cent of Aucklanders support the rail link and a leaked report saying rush-hour traffic in central Auckland will slow to walking pace in 10 years without the rail project.

Mr Quax said the rail project made little sense because it would gobble up 80 per cent of the public transport capital budget over the next 10 years when much-needed bus lanes and ferry terminals received a “paltry” 20 per cent.

“The Government has made it quite clear that it does not see the central rail link as a transport priority project. The numbers don’t stack up. For every dollar it returns just 40c and will only remove 1400 cars per day from the road.”

Mr Wood said he supported the project “sometime in the future”, which Auckland Transport said could be 2025 and the Government 2030, subject to it being financiallyviable.

“Rail is a ‘black hole of Calcutta’ and is soaking up 80 per cent of the public transport budget and costing ratepayers around $461 million over the next three years,” he said.

“There is a lot to be done in other areas before we get into sucking all the lifeblood out of Auckland into this one project.”

Centre-right and independent councillor Cameron Brewer is also becoming increasingly concerned about the cost of the rail link after initially supporting the project and work to secure the designation and buy properties along the 3.5km underground route.

Mr Brewer said he had yet to be convinced about the cost and benefits of the project, including the benefits to nearly 90 per cent of Aucklanders who do not work or live in the CBD who may have to pay for it through tolls or a regional petrol tax.

Mr Brown did not want to comment about C&R’s internal wranglings on the rail link, but said he could not see how councillors could ignore the latest poll.

“The poll showed overwhelming support for the city rail link and integrated bus and rail improvements to public transport across Auckland.”

Rail wrangle

•C&R councillors George Wood and Dick Quax blast the $2.86 billion rail link
•C&R leader Christine Fletcher says the ticket supports the link
•Mayor Len Brown points to a poll showing 64 per cent support

 

Did I not ask the last week to Communities and Residents (C&R) for a UNIFIED Policy Statement on the City Rail Link? I think I did in this particular post: THE ACHILLES HEEL OF C&R. With the question being in that post: “Is Communities and Residents (C&R) Actually Unified?”

Well if you read the article above, I think the answer is a firm ‘NO!’ Especially after the language exchange from Councillors’ Wood, Quax and C&R Council Leader Chris Fletcher…

 

And so where am I going with this?

Well if we want to avoid this parody below I think it might be seriously time to take the broom out, brush out the cobwebs and inject some new blood into Council. And by new blood I mean electing no-one that has served on a legacy Council prior to the current Auckland Council.

Yes that picture still gets the laughs every time someone goes at posts it.

 

But in any case, can Auckland really afford a fractured Council in the most pivotal period of our future (2013-2016). Pivotal meaning that what ever Council does in 2013-2016 will affect Auckland quite easily for the next 50 years. So no pressure there folks 😛

 

A schism has been exposed in the primary (heck that is loose when they only hold 19% of the voting power in the current Council) centre-right party “ticket” which can result in being the catalyst to a fractured Council after the elections next year. It is something I clearly do no want, and nor does Auckland!

I have warned aspirant Councillor Cameron Brewer about the City Rail Link on Facebook:

Cameron Brewer, I had noticed this after C&R developed a schism that the ratepayer has noticed: “Mr Brewer said he had yet to be convinced about the cost and benefits of the project, including the benefits to nearly 90 per cent of Aucklanders who do not work or live in the CBD who may have to pay for it through tolls or a regional petrol tax”

That argument about the CBD can be shot to pieces by anyone from the Centre like myself OR the Centre-Left with a simple and slick marketing campaign that would have Auckland Transport envious on the City Rail Link. This resulting in the Centre-Right’s flank being awfully exposed in the campaign next year.

I might go an expose that flank now in a post of mine and see where we go over the next 10 months

 

So as ratepayers and voters next year we have a collective decision to make; do we bring in a unified and progressive Council that will take us forward for the next 50 years, or a fractured Council that will cause us to backslide in the mud for the next 50 years.

 

Again as candidate to the Papakura Local Board in next year’s Local Elections you can check my baseline policies and stance on the City Rail Link

 

2013 – Your City, Your Call

 

 

Pukekohe Electrification Ctd

Pukekohe Electrification Case Took Some Legs and Ran

 

After the news of Auckland Transport releasing the business case for extending the electrification all the way to Pukekohe, so that ALL Auckland Metro Rail services will be covered by the new EMU’s (replacing the existing diesel fleet), the entire concept has seem to grown legs and gone for a run on its own steam (excuse the pun).

From Auckland Now:

Electric trains could reach Pukekohe

SARAH HARVEY

Electric trains could run to Pukekohe if Auckland Council approves a $102 million upgrade to electrify the line past Papakura.

The electrification of Auckland’s train system is already well underway and an Auckland Transport spokesman said today they were “looking at options” to extend the project to Pukekohe.

“This would see trains running from Pukekohe to Britomart every 20 minutes at peak times and every 30 minutes at other times.”

The extra stretch is expected to cost $102.3m including buying two trains, creating park and ride facilities, new stations at Paerata and Drury and a major station upgrade at Pukekohe. Three bridges would be raised and the lowered.

Almost $19m has already been set aside in Auckland Transport’s long term plan for the project, which is expected to save $2m a year by having electric rather than diesel engines.

Mayor Len Brown welcomed an investigation, saying it would mean people in Franklin would be able to make full use of the rail network along with the rest of Auckland.

“This would mean quieter, faster and more efficient trains all the way to Pukekohe.”

Brown said Pukekohe was a key centre for residential and business growth, and there would be a rapidly growing need to move people to and from homes and jobs.

The area’s population is predicted to more than treble in the next 30 years to close to 80,000.

Franklin Local Board chairman Andy Baker said electrification was something the board and community had advocated for for a long time.

“We are extremely pleased that the investigation is happening now as it makes sense to do the work while we have contractors and systems in place to build Auckland’s electric rail network. ”

The first electric train is due to arrive in Auckland from Spain in the third quarter of 2013 and will undergo significant testing before going into public service in 2014.

 

 

And so it seems Auckland, especially South and Counties Auckland are all abuzz with the real possibility that by 2016, electric trains could be running from Pukekohe all the way to Britomart and Swanson (out west).

In saying that we in South and Counties Auckland must also not lose sight in all this excitement on the Manukau South Rail Link which would allow EMU’s to run Pukekohe to Manukau direct services, giving easy and fast access for South and Counties Auckland to their major service and employment hub – Manukau City Centre.

 

Exciting times ahead for this part of Auckland in regards to rail and efficient, accessible public transport.

 

You can see the Auckland Transport Business Case for Electrification to Pukekohe at my PUKEKOHE ELECTRIFICATION CASE post.

 

The CRL and That Poll

Debate has Cropped Up Again on the City Rail Link

 

Thanks to Bernard Orsman from the NZ Herald and Horizon Research (a polling company), debate has flared up again on the City Rail Link. Is there any thing new in this debate? Currently no so I wont bother going into it much unless you like to go around on a Merry-Go-Round with the emergency stop button absolutely stuffed beyond repair…

 

Here is The NZH article from Orsman however:

Aucklanders want Govt cash for rail

By Bernard Orsman 

5:30 AM Monday Nov 19, 2012

Survey finds most want loop link built now and see direct funding as best way to pay for it.

A majority of Aucklanders want the Government to make a significant contribution to the $2.86 billion city rail link, a poll has found.

The poll, by Horizon Research, also found that 30.4 per cent of Aucklanders support tolls to help pay for the rail link and 24.9 per cent support targeted rates for those who benefit most.

They are more lukewarm about a regional fuel tax, asset sales, higher rates and a higher departure tax as funding mechanisms.

This is the first poll on funding options for the rail link since Mayor Len Brown issued a discussion paper in February on new funding sources to stop dodging what he said were the tough decisions to get Auckland moving.

Mr Brown has encountered a brick wall of resistance from the Government for the 3.5km underground route from Britomart to join the western rail line at Mt Eden. The Government refuses to back the project beyond designating the route and successive Transport Ministers have said there would be no tolls or a regional petrol tax. Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee declined to comment on the poll.

Mr Brown has established a “consensus building group” costing $1.1 million under the guidance of environmentalist and political activist Guy Salmon to try to persuade the Government to support one or more funding options.

The poll, of 1099 Aucklanders, found that among those who supported the rail link, 64 per cent wanted it built as soon as possible, 22 per cent by 2020 and just 3 per cent did not think it needed to be completed by 2020.

The poll also found that 75 per cent of Aucklanders wanted better integrated bus and rail services.

Last night, Mr Brown said it was no surprise Aucklanders overwhelmingly continued to support major transport projects, including the rail link, and wanted them built as soon as possible.

However, the left-leaning Mr Brown continued to rule out the sale of core strategic assets – “they bring in tens of millions of dollars a year, taking pressure off rates” – but would not rule out using the proceeds of non-core assets, such as surplus property, to fund transport.

The poll was taken between October 31 and November 12 and has a margin of error of 3 per cent.

The NZ Council for Infrastructure Development has proposed a regionwide toll on every on-ramp to the motorway of $3 in peak hours, $1 in the off-peak and $2 at other times.

Getting around Auckland

Main findings of survey
* 75 per cent support for improved bus-rail public transport
* 64 per cent support for city rail loop
* 14 per cent opposition to city rail loop

Of those who support the rail loop
* 64 per cent want it built as soon as possible
* 22 per cent want it built by 2020
* 3 per cent do not think it is needed by 2020

Funding options
* 56.2 per cent significant government funding
* 30.4 per cent tolls
* 24.9 per cent targeted rates
* 17.6 per cent asset sales
* 16.9 per cent regional fuel tax
* 8.3 per cent higher rates
* 7 per cent higher airport departure tax
Source: Horizon Research

 

If I feel like on Wednesday I will sum up the arguments on Facebook and post them here at BR:AKL.

But in the mean time, go enjoy dinner or what ever meal of the day is next when you read this folks as you are not missing any thing new – yet!

 

Although whoever commissioned Horizon Research for the CRL poll – I am not impressed with given Horizon’s dodgy Colin Craig polling in the past…

 

Oh and I have sent this to Communities and Residents Auckland via social media on the CRL:

By the way, has Communities and Residents passed a resolution or motion yet on either supporting or being FULLY against the Auckland City Rail Link?

Getting a bit of crossed wires and messages here folks and that will create confusion with the voters next year

 

Let’s see what I get from that department…

(South) Auckland Gets Shafted – Again (Ctd)

Someone Flushed Good Money Down the Loo – on a Possible White Elephant

 

I got wind of this particular story last night on $14 million of our ratepayers cash being spent on a possible (heck it is actually) White Elephant called a car parking building.

From Bernard Orsman of The NZ Herald:

$14m empty carpark – that you paid for

By Bernard Orsman BernardOrsman

Rates slashed but Manukau’s $14m parking building remains almost empty daily.

A carparking building in Manukau that cost ratepayers $14 million to build is sitting virtually empty and slashing prices to attract vehicles.

The building has been called a “dog” by councillor Dick Quax and lauded by Mayor Len Brown as a transformational project for the Manukau community – few of whom are using it.

When the Herald visited yesterday, the top two levels of the seven-storey Ronwood Ave carpark were empty and there were just 10 vehicles on the top five levels, including five Auckland Council cars.

The first and second floors had 62 and 18 vehicles respectively, but overall the 680-space carpark hadan occupancy rate of just 13 per cent.

It is understood the occupancy rate has improved since Auckland Transport cut the hourly rate from $3 to $1 and the all-day casual rate from $19 to $6 and $4 for an early bird special.

The transport body is matching and, in some instances, undercutting its own on-street rates to lure vehicles to the carpark. The on-street charges are $1 an hour and up to a maximum of $5 for all-day parking.

The $14.05 million carpark opened on June 18 as a revenue-gathering, commercial operation by Auckland Transport.

An Auckland Transport spokeswoman yesterday said it was performing below budget while the new Manukau Institute of Technology campus – which is leasing 240 carparks – was still under construction.

It was also built to free up valuable land in the city centre for future development to provide another 354 leases and act as a park-and-ride facility for the new Manukau branch line railway station with 86 public spaces.

The pro-public transport Auckland Transport Blog has called the carpark a disaster and an appalling waste of money, and published aerial photographs showing it set in a “sea of … car parking” at Manukau central.

Mr Quax said the carpark was a dog and he did not believe it would reach capacity for a long time, and councillor George Wood described it as a strange project with few vehicles using it.

But Mr Brown, who encountered strong resistance to the carpark when he was Mayor of Manukau City, remains bullish.

“This project is an investment in the future of Manukau City along with the neighbouring train station and MIT campus currently being built,” he said. “It is an example of our commitment to our growing metropolitan centres across Auckland.”

A planned $6 million expansion of the carpark has been cancelled.
Carparking woes

$14m cost to build

680 parking spaces

90 spaces in use yesterday

$19 original all-day casual rate

$4 new all-day early bird rate

 

Oh dear, oh dear what has the Mayor and Auckland Transport done with this folly.

 

My reaction of Facebook reaction was rather swift as well as Twitter comments on what $14m could of been better spent on:

Meh – the Mayor is full of crap (even more so than the Mangere Sewage Plant) with his comments on the AT public parking building in Manukau City Centre. If AT are having to slash prices to even undercut its own street parking that is already existing then we have a problem.

Note to AT Planners, Manukau is a destination station – not an origin station so a Park and Ride is next to useless here regardless of the Manukau Tertiary Campus

 

As I have said before; people COME TO Manukau as it is a major service hub, not start their journeys from the station (well there are a few but more of a rarity there) so a public car parking building acting as a Park and Ride is nothing short of a daft idea. In a conversation I had with a Councillor last night; I said that even with the Tertiary Campus being built, the parking building is in the wrong place let alone the fact no student is going to pay $19/day (although that has been slashed now) when they can park on the street for $5/day. Also the fact that most students are most likely to catch a bus or a train (Manukau South Link anyone?) to the campus might be an indicator that this new parking building is going to remain under utilised.

 

Now as for this AT parking building in the wrong spot, let me show some pictures for you to illustrate my point (click for full resolution):

The annotated pictures show what is currently happening and what SHOULD of happened to get better bang for our buck in ratepayer investment!

 

So what could of $14 million could of got the ratepayer instead of this parking building? It could have got the following (the newer Avondale Train Station cost $2 million as a base price comparison for a new station)

  • Close to a 1% reduction in our rates bill
  • The Walters Road Rail Station behind the Mitre 10 MEGA at Takanini, complete with Park and Ride, Kiss and Ride and even a shuttle bus facility
  • Upgrades to Papakura Station Interchange including again Park and Ride, Kiss and Ride and Bus Interchange
  • The Manukau South Link (4 times over)
  • Upgrade to the tired Otahuhu Town Centre Bus Station
  • New Bus Stops at Addison and East Takanini (which has no bus routes currently)
  • Deposit on the Selwyn Station complete again with Park and Ride, Kiss and Ride, and Shuttle Bus Facility (Selwyn Station is the relocated Meadowbank Station)
  • Decent lawn mowing and garden services for Papakura and Manurewa Local Boards

 

But no, we won’t be seeing any of those investments (apart from Selwyn Station and the Manukau South Link) any time soon!

 

Come on Your Worship and Auckland Transport, get it together with better investment and planning of our scarce ratepayer dollars on WORTHWHILE projects – for which that new Manukau Parking Building is NOT!

An Investigation

Rates Due to Hike Again – So Time for An Investigation

 

Okay, some idiot in Council mentioned rates and rates rises again giving the hapless ratepayer a sour stomach as we approach Summer and the Silly Season (although for Council, it is always the Silly Season with the Ratepayer Credit Card). Here is a piece from Councillor Cameron Brewer via Facebook with all the comments below (I am pasting this to draw context on where I am going with this):

  • Despite inflation running at just 0.8%, rates keep going up and on the isthmus service levels fall. In the Mayor’s draft 2013/14 budget released today road-side berm mowing will be axed in the old Auckland City area. Wards like Orakei will soon be paying more for even less.

    Another service reduction for old Auckland City area | Voxy.co.nz

    http://www.voxy.co.nz

    Auckland Mayor Len Brown’s draft budget for 2013/14 released today will cut out a long-held lawn mowing service for residents living in the old Auckland City area who are the same ratepayers stung the hardest with ongoing rates increases, says Auckland Councillor for Orakei Cameron Brewer.
    • Andy Cawston and 3 others like this.
    • Lea Worth Really….. why are we not surprised!!
    • Desley Simpson Pay more get less ! So again Orakei gives and doesn’t receive
    • Ben Ross Give the money to Local Boards away from the Governing Body seeming the Mayor and side kicks can’t budget. Bulk funding Local Boards with 33% of the total rates intake any one?
    • Stephen Maire Yes Ben.
    • Lea Worth At least that way Ben we would be protected from being seen as the cash cow to fund Len’s crazy ideas
    • Stephen Maire Yes, its OUR City not his.
    • Desley Simpson Cash cow and like all cows now need to eat ( mow) its own grass!
    • Ben Ross Just a refresher (just in case) Bulk Funding the Local Boards goes like this. Orakei currently pays $106m in rates to the “Council” yet “Council” only gives $10m (about 10%) back to Orakei to run its Local Board and services. The proposal I am running with is Orakei pays $106m to “Council” and Council gives back (and that is a must, no if’s buts or maybes) 25-33% (up to Local Board’s decision on level) back to Orakei so Orakei can run and maintain its Local Community Services, Events plus any CAPEX spending as it sees fit (of course with dialogue with its residents and businesses).

      The Governing Body can not touch the 33% as it is ring fenced to Local Boards. This also includes the Governing Body unable to hike the rates beyond 1.6x the rate of inflation at max with all spending spelled out per the current Better Local Government MK II Bill/Act/Paper
    • Mark Donnelly Desley – isn’t berm mowing in only a few local board areas a LB decision per the Act? ie not “regional” – and you could go to local govt commission for a ruling? This isn’t about a “cost” but about making a cut in just one or two board areas?
    • Cameron Brewer Good work George Wood. The Mayor botched that one – he didn’t even have the numbers to refer his budget to Strategy and Finance committee. He is very poorly supported by his political inner circle who don’t know how to whip or secure the numbers. Beautiful to watch.
    • Andy Cawston (shakes head in disbelief…)

      It would have been reasonable to expect significant cost efficiencies to arise from the Auckland SuperCity merger — reduced duplication of effort and infrastructure being the efficiencies that spring immediately to mind.And it would have been reasonable to expect the rate take to stay stable and/or for services to be improved for the same cost, or more likely to decrease in cost as these efficiencies filtered their way down…

      …but no. Exactly the opposite has happened.

      (Makes marks of the Balanced Scorecard)
    • Tracy Kirkley out west , we have mowed our own berms…forever…its not that hard.
    • Nigel James Turnbull 2.9% is actually pretty good as a rates rise. I wonder how much more could actually be found? And berms are generally mowed by most of us arent they? i mean i do my own berms because council did such a poor job normally…i would be incensed if the whole region got it and only we were getting this cut. I do understand how bearing the brunt of rates increases coupled with the highest rates rises is a bitter pill to swallow.
    • Andy Cawston Service cuts + rates increases + increases in debt burden is not on.
    • Penny Webster A good thing this is ony the beginning Cameron. We look forward to your considerable input and suggestion of further cuts.
    • Cameron Brewer Bernard Orsman covers yesterday meeting in today’s Herald. The good thing about the Mayor’s budget now staying at the Governing Body level is that he has to own it and front the meetings over the next 8 months, and not just kick it to Strat & Finance. This is primarily why a majority of us voted for it not to go to S & F. It was not really about excluding the Maori Statutory Board.http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10842948

      www.nzherald.co.nz

      Auckland Mayor Len Brown is proposing a rates rise of between 1.9 per cent and 2.9 per cent in next year’s election-year budget.
    • Andy Cawston I’d quite like to see Brown strive for a 5% rates DECREASE. It’s time we saw some Efficiencies of Scale arising from the merger of the Auckland-based councils. Any competent business would have found such efficiencies within weeks of a merger, yet the exercise appears not to have happened yet with Council.

      A 2% increase, within that context, is utterly unnecessary and obscene.
    • Ben Ross I have a debt and spending policy I might go pitch to voters when I run for Papakura Local Board next year. Fiscal Conservatism (hey Andy I am a conservative after all 😛:P ) is the name of the game and something those serious about fiscal prudence need to adhere too. The idea was in my submission to the (now failed) Long Term Plan. Busy writing post now on this

Okay so that is the discussion as of when I was writing this post. But the situation that I think is worth investigating is bulk funding Local Boards as I have suggested above:

Just a refresher (just in case) Bulk Funding the Local Boards goes like this. Orakei currently pays $106m in rates to the “Council” yet “Council” only gives $10m (about 10%) back to Orakei to run its Local Board and services. The proposal I am running with is Orakei pays $106m to “Council” and Council gives back (and that is a must, no if’s buts or maybes) 25-33% (up to Local Board’s decision on level) back to Orakei so Orakei can run and maintain its Local Community Services, Events plus any CAPEX spending as it sees fit (of course with dialogue with its residents and businesses).

The Governing Body can not touch the 33% as it is ring fenced to Local Boards. This also includes the Governing Body unable to hike the rates beyond 1.6x the rate of inflation at max with all spending spelled out per the current Better Local Government MK II Bill/Act/Paper

 

That policy piece stems from at least half of my What I Believe In for a Better Auckland fundamentals which I am going to pitch to voters at next year’s Local Government Elections (running for Papakura Local Board). The fundamentals being applied here are:

  1. Strong but no interfering Governance: Meaning Council  shows active and real leadership but does not interfere with the daily lives of residents and businesses
  2. Finances: If my family has to live within its means then so does the civic institutions that impact on us greatly (that being Council and Government). You work out your income, then what you can spend on – NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND as with Auckland Council
  3. Keeping It Local: Large centralised civic institutions seem impersonal (if not frightening) to most us. So how about keeping it Local and allow our Local Boards to be resourced properly so they can execute their true functions of local advocacy and providing our local community parks and services for us.
  4. Basics first: One thing I learnt when I moved out from the parents’ home and struck it out in the real world (including getting married and owning our first house) is that with the limited resources you have got, you did the basics first then with anything left over you just might be able to afford a luxury. Same applies to our civic institutions; they have limited resources so get the basics right first then “treat yourself or others” to a luxury if you are able to do so once the basics are taken care of.
  5. Listen and Engage: God gave us two ears and one mouth. In my line of work you actively listen with both ears THEN engage in dialogue with your one mouth. Not the other way around as that is usually monologue and the fastest way to get your ears clipped. Same applies to civic institutions:  you actively listen with both ears THEN engage in dialogue with your one mouth unless you like getting your ears clipped… Oh and remember some days all the person wants you to do is JUST LISTEN to their little piece – as all we want some days is just to get it off our chests.
  6. Stay out of my way: I believe in the following strongly “Individual Freedom -> Individual Choice -> Individual Responsibility (oh and do not forget the consequences)”   I am an adult who can make choices for myself (whether it was right or wrong), treat me as such rather than a child.

Actually that is 3/4 of my fundamentals being applied from the bulk funding of Local Boards proposal.

But the point I am going to pitch strongly to Papakura (in fact most likely to be the strongest as all other fundamentals technically stem from it) is Point Three (in bold):

Keeping It Local: Large centralised civic institutions seem impersonal (if not frightening) to most us. So how about keeping it Local and allow our Local Boards to be resourced properly so they can execute their true functions of local advocacy and providing our local community parks and services for us.

It is of my strongest belief that the Local Boards are in a better position than the main council and bureaucracy to deliver your local community services as well as being the main calling point from local residents (so you) in advocacy issues. And none more so with being the main calling point for advocacy that urban development within their jurisdictions.

 

In my submission to the Auckland Plan, and in my pitching to the Civic Forum of the Unitary Plan; I pushed for Local Boards working with planners in delivering the urban development outcomes in Auckland. An excerpt from my submission:

The main crux of the SLPD would come from the: decentralised, semi-regulated, collaborative, efficient, simplistic and affordable approach to LADU. This is how the crux or ideal would be achieved:

  • Under SLPD’s the decisions and/or oversight would be with the Local Community Board rather than the centralised Council
  • Council provides  a statement of intent (The Auckland Plan) and action plan for Auckland (Auckland Long Term Plan) over the next period of time
  • Council provides a mediation service when there is a dispute with an SLPD
  • Council assists Local Community Boards with resources required when an SLPD is being carried out
  • SLPD follows the Philosophies of Land Allocation/Development/Utilisation (mentioned page 14)
  • Simplified Zoning
  • Collaboration between the Local Board, Community and Developer (allowing greater flexibility and response to community concerns and needs/desires)

As well as

So in the end the SLPD-LADU model follows a hybrid of Houston’s method of urban planning and (to a limited extent) the (although simplistic and maybe crude compared to reality) techniques used in Sim City Four!

In short this is how the SLPD-LADU would work:

  • Council provides its goal/vision for the wider city over a period of time
  • Council provides a framework on how it would like to reach that goal
  • Council and the Local Community Boards begin the SLPD-LADU Process by:
    • Created a SLPD which “maps out” the local area’s intentions
    • Zoning or rezoning begins
    • Memorandum of Understanding between Council (if required), the Local Community Board and developers in developing the land (but complies with the Region LADU Philosophies previously mentioned)
    • Development begins
  • Development is then underway with the developer having to provide these basic provisions inside the zoning area – effectively zone or zoned district or districts:
    • Water infrastructure for the district
    • Electricity infrastructure (in coordination with the local lines company)
    • Telecommunications infrastructure (in coordination with whoever is contracted to provide phone/broadband cabling
    • Basic park/recreation facilities (set a minimum percentage of total developed area within the zoned district (except for “pure” industrial land)(percentage to be determined at a later date))
    • Basic street network (that can be readily connectable to the main transit system)
    • Allow for provision of a mass transit system if one is required (often in medium and higher density zoning districts)
  • After completion, the corresponding infrastructure of the zoned district would be allowed and capable of connecting to the existing city infrastructure

You can see the rest of the Submission that covers Land Use (urban development) in the embed below.

 

But as you can see I am pushing for democracy to return to the Local Boards and costs to be brought back under control. I will run further commentary in my Civic Forum update but in regards to Council finances and debt, check my submission to the LTP via the link below as both submissions are interlinked.

2013 you will need to decide how you want your Local Board(s) to work for you (and how it should be resourced). We all have a long road ahead but I advocate for local (community) democracy and basics first in regards to finances for you the Papakura ratepayer. Yes we all need to work together for a better Auckland, but also we need to work and focus closer to home – a better Papakura. Because a Better Papakura that you love and enjoy to live in contributes to a better healthier Auckland!

Check my commentary on the Unitary Plan and the pitch for local democracy and moving away from big stick regulation in building outcomes for housing, transport and the (physical and human) environment!

 

Submission to LTP where I mention a Debt and Finance Policy for Council

 

Submission to Auckland Plan

Causalities of – The LTP?

And Here Come the Causalities

 

 

The Long Term Plan 2012-2022 was adopted into existence earlier this year, setting the Council’s course on all things revenue and expenditure (yeah lets ignore the V8s and White Water-rafting for a few seconds). On the rates side; some of us got stung with large rates rises while others got nice rates decreases. All of us though got service and capital expenditure cuts when our respective Local Boards had to follow through on a 3% cut in their budgets per the Mayor’s “orders.”

Manurewa Local Board have been very vocal on what the funding cuts have meant capital expenditure wise (so money for community projects like playgrounds and upgrades to community facilities). Well it seems I have stumbled (via the NZH) across our first OPEX (so facilities funding in the operational costs side) casualties in the form of POSSIBLE library closures.

 

From the NZ Herald:

 

Cost cuts threaten two libraries

By Bernard Orsman

5:30 AM Monday Oct 1, 2012

 

Pressure goes on after mayor’s directive for all areas of city council to trim budgets by 3 per cent in election year.

 

Libraries in Snells Beach and Grey Lynn have been marked for closure as the result of a directive from Mayor Len Brown to reduce costs in what will be election year.

Snells Beach residents, many of whom are retirees, are bewildered and angry at murmurings the refurbished Mahurangi East Library in the community centre is closing.

More than 300 locals have signed a petition deploring the proposal and there is fighting talk by local politicians of chaining themselves to the building.

“We love our bright, welcoming, well-used library, the heart and soul of this mixed and growing community,” said local Sandra Garman.

The other locality in the cost-cutting sights of council library manager Allison Dobbie is the Grey Lynn library, housed in its original 1924 building on Great North Rd.

Waitemata Local Board chairman Shale Chambers said closing Grey Lynn library would be unwarranted, completely wrong and would cause pointless grief.

Mr Brown, through chief executive Doug McKay, has directed all council departments, local boards and council-owned bodies to cut their operating budgets by 3 per cent next year.

This is so Mr Brown can reduce the projected rates increase for his election-year budget to “well below 4 per cent”.

Mr Brown and Mr McKay have boasted about making $1.7 billion in savings and efficiencies over 10 years.

And for the first time they are calling for cuts to service levels. This has led Ms Dobbie to look at closing two of the council’s 55 libraries.

She did not return calls to comment about the pressure she was under to reduce library services.

In a written statement, Mr Brown said he doubted any libraries would be closed to reduce next year’s rates.

But he would not give a firm guarantee to Snells Beach and Grey Lynn library users

 

Article continues at NZH site

 

Okay so which way is it, we looking at library closures or not? And why is a guarantee not able to be given here – that to me sounds like that the libraries will close but not one has the balls to say so from the outset. Gee I feel the communities affected through being left in limbo over the state of their libraries.

 

But we all knew this kind of thing was coming under this Council with this failed Long Term Plan.

I suggest that we divert money from the CAPEX budget and sink it into the OPEX budget. The money for the Cruise Ship Terminal and the money for phase one for the Quay Street Boulevard would cover the libraries and other Local Board budgets for the next wee while to come (oh say 10 years).

And what about Quay Street Boulevard? Defer all work on it until 2020 but leave enough money behind for our engineers to get the traffic light phasing RIGHT and maybe some extra signage and pot plants.

 

Hey we all got to make sacrifices here and I am making a few suggestions that are win-wins all round here.

But then again win-wins and the simple things often escape Council and the bureaucrats – otherwise we would not have these problems would we?

 

 

 

 

 

Council and The Auckland Waterfront

What The Mayor and Councillors Think  – In Regards to The Auckland Waterfront

 

Today is the last day of the NZ Herald‘s campaign about The Waterfront – to which I have run on commentary here. My basic take on The Auckland Waterfront can be seen in my “PORT OF AUCKLAND – CAN IT BE MOVED?” post from yesterday in which I spell out where I see The Auckland Waterfront by 2040!

 

In today’s particular article in the Herald, Auckland Councillors plus the Mayor were asked where they see The Auckland Waterfront now and where they think it should be going in the future.

From The NZH:

 

Creating right balance for future of waterfront

By Michael Dickison

5:30 AM Friday Sep 28, 2012

 

What our city’s leaders think

Council members’ views City leaders comment on the best idea for the waterfront and the balance between public spaces vs industry, where
0 = Put all emphasis on public spaces
5 = The balance is just right
10 = Put all emphasis on industry, including the port.

Len Brown Mayor
len.brown@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz
Ideal balance: 6.5

The Waitemata Harbour was a stunning backdrop when the world came here for the Rugby World Cup. The event’s legacy is that Aucklanders now see the waterfront as our waterfront. People from across the region tell me they are proud of Wynyard Quarter. It’s becoming the place to take visitors, and gives us a glimpse of what is possible.

We have a way to go to realise our waterfront’s potential and truly connect the city with the sea but we are on the way to getting it right.

We want fishing boats and ship chandlers mixed with parks and cafes, hotels and apartments, markets and open spaces to attract as many people as possible.

We want real connection with the harbour, so people can walk right down Queen St to the water’s edge and dip their feet in the sea.

With extensive input from the public, the council has formed a suite of plans giving us a co-ordinated vision for our waterfront, rather than the piecemeal approach and lost opportunities of the past.

Our waterfront has an important and evolving part to play in the life of Auckland, and while the port plays a vital role in our economy – it’s up to us to structure that role. The best is yet to come.

Councillors:

Christine Fletcher
Albert-Eden-Roskill
christine.fletcher@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz
Ideal balance: 2

I’m proud of being part of kicking off our waterfront development with Viaduct Harbour and Britomart. In its next phase let’s consider its role as gateway to the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park. Tourism and recreational activities make a significant chunk of the total pie. Marine reserves, island sanctuaries, great walks, multisports, volunteerism, cultural journeys, education programmes, historic places and top recreational fishing spots should draw visitors to and beyond the waterfront.

Link this to high-value, uniquely marketed seafood, boutique wines and foods, a regulatory framework demanding environmental integrity and investment and we have a powerful engine for growth.

Arthur Anae
Manukau
arthur.anae@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz
Ideal balance: 3.5

The waterfront is an iconic asset, and I’m in strong favour of a cruise ship terminal and attracting as much of the cruise ship market to downtown Auckland as we can.

I also support all the projects in the pipeline – the Wynyard Quarter, opening up the wharves, having pedestrian areas – to attract domestic visitors, who are an untapped market.

Sandra Coney
Waitakere
sandra.coney@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz
Ideal balance: 4

The waterfront is a working waterfront, not just an entertainment zone. It has a port, ferries and fishing vessels. These things make the waterfront gritty and interesting. A huge amount of waterfront has been opened up to the public and more will over time. But it all costs ratepayers’ money, so a “big bang” approach is unpalatable.

Cathy Casey
Albert-Eden-Roskill
cathy.casey@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz
Ideal balance: 4

I spluttered over my cornflakes this morning to read the vision of Tony Gibson (Ports’ chief executive): “This year’s industrial dispute is a distant memory. We reached an amicable settlement with the unions …”. That vision is easily achieved if the Ports engages in good faith bargaining. For me, the most pressing need on the waterfront is for the Ports to end the prolonged industrial dispute.

Penny Hulse
Waitakere
penny.hulse@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz
Ideal balance: 4

Having been born in Cape Town, where I spent a lot of time on the V&A Waterfront, my vision is an open, vibrant waterfront and port that can be a tourism attraction and an area loved by locals. Let’s cut holes in the red fence and get people to the waterfront. It doesn’t have to be either/or with the port. We just have to be more imaginative about how we use our assets.

George Wood
North Shore
george.wood@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz
Ideal balance: 5

Opening up the harbourside area between the Ferry Building and Britomart Place must be given the highest priority. Allowing Aucklanders and our visitors to break through the red fence to gain access to this part of the waterfront will be a huge accomplishment. The main attractor is the wonderful location itself. Integration to cafes and bars with outdoor dining should be part of the presentation. We have a plan – let’s do it over time.

Sharon Stewart
Howick
sharon.stewart@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz
Ideal balance: 5

Most people would agree what has been achieved in the Viaduct/Wynyard area is a vast improvement. However, I am against over-developing the waterfront, creating public space to the detriment of the ports. I was pleased that the cruise ship terminal was scaled down. I am not convinced further development in public areas will improve Auckland as a tourist destination. The CBD/waterfront areas will still be used by a small proportion of Aucklanders. Let’s not put the city into huge debt with further grandiose ideas.

Wayne Walker
Albany
wayne.walker@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz
Ideal balance: 5

The boulevard along the waterfront gets my most backing. It ties the waterfront together and will make it buzz with life more than anything else. People like to see other people and be seen themselves, walking, sitting, eating – having fun. They will be able to browse through pop-up weekend markets, enjoy the busker musicians and artists playing to the crowds and dine out or catch a coffee at a waterfront cafe. All of this for modest money and cheap running cost. Create a welcoming free public space and people will make it work for themselves.

Alf Filipaina
Manukau
alf.filipaina@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz
Ideal balance: 5

I just agree with the direction we have at the moment. I voted for the Waterfront Plan and I support it. There will be interaction between our public and our assets down at the waterfront. Business and the public aspect will both be there – there has to be a good mix.

Cameron Brewer
Orakei
cameron.brewer@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz
Ideal balance: 6

It’s great that Aucklanders love the opening up of the waterfront around the old Tank Farm. However, it’s important we now activate the other part of the Wynyard Quarter plan, which was always to have the private sector move in. That’s who the council needs to start paying the bills. Ratepayers have poured in tens of millions of dollars lately to create some fabulous public spaces and amenities but it’s probably time for a cup of tea. The 25-year vision for Wynyard Quarter was never about transforming it for the general public alone. Rather, this area promises to accommodate a mix of residential, retail and commercial development.

Richard Northey
Maungakiekie-Tamaki
richard.northey@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz
Ideal balance: 6

What is most needed is a long-term plan and vision for Queens Wharf. This space, the continuation of our main street, Queen St, into our Waitemata Harbour, should be the jewel in the crown for publicly accessible, exciting vibrant public space on the harbour. Let us have a thorough, creative and participatory look at what will succeed the Cloud. The next thing to do is to develop an equally exciting, albeit cheaper, vision for public spaces on the Manukau Harbour at Onehunga and Mangere Bridge.

Dick Quax
Howick
dick.quax@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz
Ideal balance: 6.5

People at work and people at play. That’s my vision for the waterfront. People create atmosphere, not buildings. Too much of the waterfront is lifeless. Over 70ha have been opened up and that’s a lot of space. Give the new Waterfront Plan time to work before we open up more. Let’s not kill the goose that lays the golden eggs. The commercial port pours millions into the council coffers. Every container, every car, every cruise ship, is a few more dollars off our rates bill.

Ann Hartley
North Shore
ann.hartley@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz
Ideal balance: 7

The best idea for the waterfront was recognising that one, single governance agency would take responsibility for its redevelopment, avoiding the piecemeal actions of the past. The waterfront is much loved by its owners – the people of Auckland – however, the public purse will never be able to afford the revitalisation of this whole area. It needs commercial support and Auckland needs to start thinking about what kinds of private investment it can court to share the rewards and the risks of the redevelopment.

Mike Lee
Waitemata and the Gulf
mike.lee@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz
Did not give a rating

Over the past six years, a significant amount of waterfront space has been opened to the public. More is to come. Remember, the port occupies only 2km of a continuous recreation waterfront of 13km from the harbour bridge to Achilles Point. While I oppose further encroachment of the port into the harbour, it would be foolish to talk about closing it down.

Calum Penrose
Manurewa-Papakura
calum.penrose@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz
Did not give a rating

If Auckland Council think that we are exempt from what is happening across the globe then they live in dream land; the spinoff is hitting our shores daily. I would like to see the council defer the waterfront projects for the next 3-5 years.

Noelene Raffills
Whau
noelene.raffills@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz
Did not give a rating

The waterfront is one of the truly amazing features of our city. For Kiwis the coast and beaches are part of our lifestyle, family life and informal enjoyment – and for the first time on the waterfront there are some family-friendly places for eating. The mix feels about right.

Did not contribute:

Michael Goudie, Albany
michael.goudie@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz

Des Morrison, Franklin
des.morrison@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz

John Walker, Manurewa-Papakura
john.walker@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz

Penny Webster, Rodney
penny.webster@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz

The campaign

This week, we examine the key issues in a campaign to break open Auckland’s waterfront. This means:

1 Opening up what’s already there for everyone’s use – particularly Queens Wharf, which is still far from reaching its potential.

2 Looking ahead to more wharves being opened, notably Captain Cook Wharf.

3 Planning the entire waterfront – importantly, including ports land – as urban space, whether or not the working port is retained or developed.

Monday: What readers want on the waterfront
Tuesday: Auckland Architecture Association sketches the all-time good ideas
Wednesday: Tourism on the waterfront
Yesterday: The working port and its vision for Auckland
Today: Where our city leaders stand.

 

Interesting and a rather mixed array of results which will make December rather interesting when PwC report back on their review of the upper North Island ports including POAL.

I suppose if I gave a rating it would not fit on the Herald’s scale as I am for shifting the port south and redeveloping the ENTIRE Waterfront with both urban residential and commercial development, AND civic/public/green spaces to boot.

But enough of me giving my spiel on The Auckland Waterfront, what is your spiel? Comments can be left below as always!

Follow Up To Mayor Has a Moment

Following Up on Milford and The Mayor

 

After comments both here at BR:AKL and BR:AKL’s Facebook Page (by the way I checked three times over – The Auckland Plan is Operative or we have a a few Councillors and bureaucrats giving out wrong information here) I thought in doing a follow-up post to the MAYOR HAS A MOMENT (AGAIN?) post published on Monday.

 

The actual post is still being composed (got a few other tasks at hand taking up scarce time) but what I will cover is the following:

  • Difference between Low, Medium and High Density in regards to developments
  • Why I think Milford can support some taller residential buildings (not as tall as what is proposed in Takapuna)
  • Some replies to the comments generated from the Moment post
  • And observations around current situation with the Unitary Plan and The Environment Court

 

So stand by while I get the post composed (should be up tomorrow)

 

BEN ROSS : AUCKLAND

Shining The Light –
To a Better Auckland

Auckland 2013: YOUR CITY – YOUR CALL