Rodney Hide’s super-sized city bureaucracy was sold on the basis of greater “efficiencies” for the bureaucrats, and greater cost-savings for rate-payers.
Virtually the first statement by the vertically-challenged new Auckland mayor Len Brown is to confirm that whatever savings do emerge (if any) they won’t be used to reduce your rates, they will be rolled instead straight into monument building by those bureaucrats that have just been empowered.
This is what Rodney Hide delivered.
So much for your hopes for lower rates—which for every New Aucklander are going to go up in any case just to pay for the billion-and-a-half debt that Banks and Brown (the two most spendthrift mayors in the previous city setup) managed to rack up over their last terms.
Just one of the many monuments talked up by the midget mayor is an underground rail loop around the inner city. A monument with a price tag of $2 billion, plus cockups.
That’s big money. And that’s just one of the many monuments Brown wants to erect in the next few years—train sets for everyone—a “world-class” convention centre (another one?)—cruise terminals—eco this—sustainability the other—any one of which will easily suck down any savings that might emerge from the merger, let alone any hopes you or the local govt minister might have had of rates decreases.
"There will be a cost,” says the midget mayor, “But we will do it.”
There sure will be a cost. And we will be the ones have to pay for it. (And how long before Brown demands a flash new building to accommodate an ego pumped up by the power to dispose of that which he has not earned, and by the view of himself as the embodied voice of “the public.”)
The only question is whether we pay for it as rate-payers, or as taxpayers.
The Prime Minister reckons it won’t be taxpayers. Put down your plan for monument-building, says John Boy, and get on instead with implementing your “long-term spatial plan for Auckland.”
What’s a long-term spatial plan, you ask? Let me tell you. Section 79(2) of Rodney Hide’s Super-Sized Bureaucracy Act says:
The purpose of the Spatial Plan is to contribute to Auckland's social, economic, environmental, and cultural well-being through a comprehensive and effective long term (20 to 30 year) strategy for Auckland's growth and development.
And section 74(4)(d) says the Spatial Plan must:
identify the existing and future location and mix of—
(i) residential, business, rural production, and industrial activities within specific geographic areas within Auckland…
As Owen McShane says of the powers given the central planners, “Even Stalin might blush.”
The Spatial Planners are invited to contribute to “Auckland’s social, economic, environmental, and cultural well-being” rather than let the people take care of themselves…
These new Spatial Plan’s requirement to specify the mix and location of land-use activities throughout the region is much more far reaching [even] than the Resource Management Act, which never mentions land use planning at all.
…These highly detailed three-dimensional plans leave little room for private innovation or change. Forget about spontaneous order…
This is what John Boy reckons the midget mayor’s new council should be doing—instead of building monuments themselves, they should be writing plans ensuring property-owners may not build anything at all except with the express permission of a central planner.
In other words, all Rodney Hide has delivered to Auckland is a battle between monument builders and central planners.
Guess who loses out in that one?