Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Who pays for Len Brown?


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.

first_train_set 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.”

_Quote 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?


  1. Big surprise. Sandra Lee and Judith Tizard will be thrilled. A council in their image, and it happened because the Nats pushed it, and ACT voted for it.

    Labour-lite? or Labour Chili flavoured?

  2. On the other hand, for Auckland to function as a city, the lack of collaboration across 8 councils was also a pressing issue, and it also led to wastage and worse - no real progress.

    The Super City may not be the answer, but the Status Quo certainly wasn't either.

    Not that I disagree with your points about bureaucracy as such. The issue though is to continue with Rodney hides push to constrain Councils with hard and fast legislation to delivering only on "core services".

  3. @Zen Tiger:

    I'm all for log-jams and "lack of collaboration" for bureaucrats and central planners. The more barriers to them getting things done, the better.

    Instead, in Auckland, Rodney has removed the few structural barriers
    that remained after Sandra Lee's 2002 Local Govt Act.

    "The issue though is to continue with Rodney Hide's push to constrain Councils..."

    What "push"? Do you live in some kind of alternative universe?

    Instead of overturning the "power of general competence" that Sandra Lee's new LG Act gave councils --- allowing them to do whatever they like, unless prohibited by law (while property owners are able to do only what this scum allows them) -- your hero spent his time and all his political capital setting up this super-sized monstrosity.

    He deserves to hang for it. At the very least, he might get the push--and deserves to.

  4. And the blame for the failure of this morally and intellectually bankrupt monstrosity will be laid at the feet of Len Brown by the Right. They are gearing up already.

    Yes - Hide and his enablers should be hung, drawn and quartered.

  5. The problem with the old council was not the competition between the city councils but the ARC trying to be the master planner of everything.
    This city is a monster.
    The average Swiss commune is 2000 people.
    There are 1300 municipalities in Paris alone, and there is a Mayor for every 350 people in France as a whole.
    The average municipality in the US is 6,000 people.
    Sydney and Melbourne have about 40 councils (shires) each from memory.
    MOntreal de-amalgamated only two years after their amalgamation which was similar to Auckland although I think Auckland;s remains the largest ever.

  6. Already I have noticed the Manukau Libraries website has changed to a hopeless messed up Supercity website. Not a good sign of things to come.

  7. As I look back over my shoulder to what is happening in the city of my youth, I find it all a little hard to take in. That a member of a party which supposedly espouses minimal government should come up with this quasi state-within-a-state (for that is what Auckland now appears to be), is quite extraordinary. If I'm reading between the lines correctly, the Auckland "Super City" is now of such a size and thus the site of such a large proportion of NZ's population, wealth and economy that its mayor is essentially a de facto shadow prime minister. Hide must have lost his mind.

    Large bureaucracies are never efficient and the larger they are, the worse they become. Ditto for the larger the area and the more people they .......*cough*........"serve".

    Another poster said Brown will get the blame for this. It's true that this wasn't his idea but I know he loves it. When all is said and done, Brown is a firm believer that the "gubmint" is in the end, the solution, whereas the sane belief is that it's the problem. Big government gives him a chance to indulge in his real passion; social engineering. This comes through in his "all things to all men" rhetoric. It's clear he's a firm believer in the idea that a valid function of government is to help us all to become "better" people (whatever that might mean) and to help us realize our "dreams".

    His grandiose plans for running railroad tracks all over and underneath Auckland will be an economic black hole which will swallow Auckland's ratepayers. I don't see that Auckland has the population density to make this work. Then again, maybe I'm out of touch. Has the attitude of Aucklanders to rail undergone a change? As a student at Auckland Uni in the '80s, I commuted by train every day and often luxuriated in the splendid isolation of my own personal carriage on the journey home in the evenings.........

    Good luck with that, Len.


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