Monday, 30 July 2012

An affordable Auckland even further away

Aucklanders were sold the Super-Sized City on the basis of promised "efficiencies" and putative cost savings. With the arrival in their letter boxes this week of their rates bills, Aucklanders will for the first time see for themselves how effective these "cost savings" have been.

Fact is, there have been no savings. The costs have all been the other way.

For some Aucklanders, their rates increase will be more than ten percent—and with the promises doled out in the Super-Sized Council's super-sized Ten Year Plan, it's clear this will be a year-on-year increase.

Ten percent this year.

Ten percent next year.

Ten percent the year after, and every year thereafter for the foreseeable future...

For this disaster, there are several people to thank:

  • Mayor Brown for having an ego the size of the super-sized city, with plans to match.
  • Rodney Hide, for pushing through the farce.
  • John Key, for making him.

Aucklanders should vent their rage in whatever way they can.

If Auckland is ever to be an affordable city, one place to start is with the size of their rates bill. A simple fact of which those responsible for this super-sized debacle are still wholly ignorant.


  1. I remember ACT people at the time saying that it made logical sense that the creation of the Supercity would see a decline in rates. This was due to the efficiencies that could be achived. I pointed out to them many times that this was not the way that councils work - that all that would happen would be that we were going to lose the competition between cities in Greater Auckland. Rates would rise as they worked to grow their empire.

    I hope they have learnt a lesson about local and central government.

    As you state, the responsibility lies with ACT, National, and all those who vote for these politicians.

  2. I find it interesting how the media are not making mince meat out of Key & Hide over this, considering how they went on and on about how rates would drop. I'd love to know WTF Key & Hide thought they were going to get out of it.

  3. As an ex Act supporter Rodney pushing the Super City was the end for me. I understand that there are political compromises to make, but some are not worth it. "We had to kill the village to save it". The very end came with Don Brash taking over. Then John Banks being handed Epsom for which I had worked siince 1995 - we were highly successful in 1996 and subsequently. Richard Prebble being handed the reins was the start of the slide.

    It was super obvious that the usual electoral process would see a super expensive huge empire. Did nobody remember the big amalgamation of One Tree Hill, Onehunga, Newmarket and all the others into one big city and how that was supposed to bring "efficiencies" but it really brought huge expenses and laws like "you can't cut that tree without paying us a lot of money and you still can't".

    As if that wasn't enough, we got the Auckland Regional Authority grandiosity too with a very fancy swanky building to make them feel really expensive and important.

    They can't even organize rubbish collection and road repairs on a rational basis let alone their days of glory fantasies.

    They have seen the London Underground and think they can replicate that, and the Yamanote line and the like in large cities. So they plan to spend $billions they don't have to duplicate the perfectly good underused Queen Street which has buses every few seconds going from Britomart to Karangahape Road, without having to be in a tunnel, stuck when the thing breaks down, if it does run sometimes, having hiked down deep into the ground and having to hike way up to the surface again. And it will take a long time. Not to mention cost $100 a ticket if the true costs are allocated to the passengers and lots of people go on it. How full are the buses going up there now? Why would somebody choose to go on the train instead of the bus, or walk, or catch a taxi?

    I didn't even vote for John Banks to be strategic in Epsom.

    Soon we will have Tohungas and Taniwhas putting a toll on Waikato water to Auckland. I worked 12 hour non stop shifts pouring concrete [by wheelbarrow] from 6pm to 6am to build the Mangatangi valve tower. That provided enough water for Auckland when it was pleasant enough.

    Bringing more and more people to NZ to be taxi drivers and welfare recipients is not an economic plan. If having more people is a good idea, Bangladesh and Pakistan would be rich. Luxembourg is rich, Singapore is rich, they have few people and are very small.

    There must be something in the Waikato water poisoning Aucklanders' brains.

  4. I don't know why that came out 'anonymous'. It was me, I would like to do a huge rant. There is some rich irony for me in Rodney ending up promoting the super city. Hoist by my own petard.

    In the early 1980s, a kiwifruit syndicator friend and I were sitting outside Queen Elizabeth Park hall having played badminton. He was moaning about Muldoon's clawback on kiwifruit investors. I told him to not moan but to start a political party to draw votes away and cost him the election [in 1984]. I even suggested the name "The New Zealand Party".

    His lawyer [who provided him office accommodation too] was Bill Taylor. Not long later I had left Tauranga being transferred to Wellington so we didn't discuss things. Next thing I know, Bob Jones and Bill Taylor and others have formed The New Zealand Party and Muldoon did lose and the deregulation started. Hooray...

    But then there was a cup of tea. NZ Party fizzled without the purpose and character of Bob [The Bob Jones Party]. But then in 1995, Derek Quigley and Roger Douglas did the same thing with MMP giving a real hope of having some influence. Derek was well worth backing though Roger Douglas always seemed over rated with ridiculous worshipful attitudes as though he was Kim Il Sung It didn't take much intellect to say "Let people do what they like such as take their money overseas, buy margarine, truck goods more than 100 kilometres, sell Telecom and whatnot".

    A group of us got Epsom to vote in a big way for Act. Then the bludger politicians saw that and took it over ending in the farce of John Banks taking it over. For a while there, with Stephen Franks, Muriel and co, Act was really doing well. But Richard Prebble is not an appealing politician despite loving politics since his student days when I was forced by AUSA and the university to pay student union fees to fund his glory.

    Moan moan....

    Now I have to pay super rates to fund a super city. Will Richard Prebble see an opportunity as Auckland's mayor to have one last go at my money?

    What is it with politicians?

    Maybe I'll start "The Workers Party". Several years ago a friend thought we should start that. But he broke his neck and is now partially paralyzed and in pain. I have other fish to fry. People in NZ wouldn't vote for that.

  5. Richard McGrath31 Jul 2012, 20:59:00

    Maurice I enjoyed your rant - more of them, please!

    Julian - Your comments on the Supercity are spot on. I wonder why Rodney couldn't see that the Big Merger would destroy competition and push prices skyward. Economics 101, I would have thought.

    Maurice - I was always entertained by Prebble, and admired him for his self control after getting hit by an egg during an outdoors interview (anyone got a link to that video clip?). The rot really set in when Rodney Hide was somehow seduced into accepting a cabinet post and being the poster boy for the Supercity. I didn't think Prebble and Brash were that bad.


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