While Aucklanders wait in traffic, Auckland Transport spends $126k on office tapware
Phil Goff’s efforts to save money at Auckland Council are clearly coming to nothing, with the Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance revealing today that Auckland Transport is sparing no expense in its new office headquarters.
The CCO is spending $11 million to refurbish the old Vodafone building in the viaduct. The figure includes $3.2m on new furniture, $126,000 on fancy tap fittings, and $40,000 bike racks. Spokesperson for the Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance, Jo Holmes, is calling on the CCO to take measures to avoid unnecessary expenditure.
“Once again, Auckland Council and Auckland Transport have more money than sense on anything but core services. Sparing no expense on this move into the most costly piece of office real estate in Auckland offers ratepayers nothing. This $11 million fit-out even includes state of the art taps costing around $126,000.”
“Why Auckland Transport can’t reuse furniture from its former building, rather than sending it to the dump, is beyond belief.”
“The Council claims that their old furniture cannot fit into the new space. Surely this should have been a consideration in selecting the new site? On the one hand, they expel the virtue of moving into a smaller space, but what they’re trying to ignore is the fact that this building is costing $11 million to fit out, an extremely costly exercise.”
“Phil Goff was elected on a promise to cut unnecessary waste in Auckland Council and its CCOs. This shows that isn’t happening.”
Breakdown of budgeted expenses on Auckland Council’s refit:
See Auckland Transport’s LGOIMA responses here: www.ratepayers.nz/auckland_transport_refurb
- The total budget for the relocation is $11 million
- $6.8 million replacing the air conditioning, installing kitchenettes on each floor, installing bike racks and rebuilding the reception
- $583,000 updating technology
- $3.3 million on furniture and fittings, including $1.2 million on new desks and chairs, $126,000 on fancy tap fittings for the new kitchenettes, and $25,000 on internal building signage
- $313,000 is allocated to contingencies.
Auckland Transport consistently pleads poverty yet the Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance has discovered it is spending $126,000 on taps alone for its plush new offices, the most expensive in Auckland. Is this where the money from its targeted rate which added 3% to our rates for three years in a row, because one thing’s for sure it didn’t get spent on improving roads and ending traffic congestion.
Auckland Transport is the epitome of an empire building bureaucracy feathering its own nest while achieving the sum total of nothing. If the government wants to step in and fix Auckland’s traffic woes by spending billions of taxpayer dollars then it must side-line or remove Auckland Transport’s portfolio and do the job itself. The only service Auckland Transport is good at is taking ratepayers for a ride.
The whole Metiria Turei debacle has exposed the truth about the Greens. They embrace systematic fraud and deceit and are proud to do so. It defines them. The reaction of their followers on Twitter under the #IamMetiria hashtag is an admission that their followers too are beneficiary cheats. Green is indeed the new orange. They all belong in prison.
For the many who pay their taxes, feed their families, are honest, hard-working and do not resort to ripping off their fellow man, the Greens pose a huge threat to society. Their leaders send the message to all law-abiding citizens that there is one rule for the elite few lawmakers who do not have to abide by the law, and another for all you suckers out there who have your money confiscated by the State and are thrown in prison if you fail to pay up.
They are modern reincarnations of the robber barons of old, stealing the money from honest citizens so they can live the high life in their protected, pensioned, elite luxury. They know how to play the system form the cradle to the grave. They are rip off merchants, charlatans and parasites. Turei is the paradigm but take a look at any Green MP and you will find a similar story. They have found that being in politics is a very profitable enterprise.
Not only do they rip off the system but they teach their members how to do it through their charitable trusts. Here on Waiheke, where our Green MP manipulates the local board, her politicians feed ratepayers money in the form of grants into ‘charitable trusts’ run by the Greens . Under cover of these trusts are very profitable businesses which pocket the proceeds. They pay no rent or rates on their ratepayer funded premises, use volunteer labour so they pay virtually no wages, are unaccountable, compete with local businesses, and return no money to the ratepayers or benefit to who fund them.
Nobody should be surprised. The Greens philosophy is one of Cultural Marxism which embraces identity politics, promotes entitlement, and supports all causes that undermine western civilisation. They stopped caring about the environment decades ago, although their useful idiot followers are still fooled into supporting them because they want to feel virtuous. If they didn’t know it before they must know now that the Greens are the very antithesis of virtue.
The Labour Party must be rueing the day they got in bed with these fraudsters. They too have been played for fools and are only now waking up to the mess they have got themselves into. The Greens have taken their votes, while Labour has got nothing from the deal they made earlier this year. Labour is rapidly backtracking but I fear it’s too late. The voters will think they are guilty by association.
The main worry is how her admission of benefit fraud is going down with voters.
It is becoming increasingly clear New Zealand First will hold the balance of power after the election. Winnie is no fool. Even for the baubles of office he would not taint himself by aligning with the Greens. A Labour/Green/NZFirst coalition would break down in days. They are incompatible. However, a coalition with National, however distasteful to National, could be very much on the cards. It would also be good for the country and drag National away from some of its dafter policies that have promoted racial disharmony and unbridled immigration.
This election might well see the end of the Greens. I fervently hope so. They are parasites on society who deserve nothing more than being sent back to the black hole of oblivion where they belong.
Tainui has pocketed $138 million and paid virtually no tax it has been revealed after Tainui gloated about their gains in the media. Yes, that’s right the media. The same people who only months ago were screaming how wrong it is that multinationals send too much of their NZ generated profits overseas without paying enough tax, are now silent about the rorts happening here. It turns out the multinationals pay considerable more than corporate giant Tainui.
Jordan Williams of the NZ Taxpayers Union has called for this outrageous unfairness to cease.
“While politicians complain about overseas companies like Google and Facebook not paying their fair share of tax, everyone is turning a blind eye to these enormous tribal and religious empires which pay almost no tax, despite only a tiny proportion of the profits going back into the communities they are meant to serve. It is a disgrace.”
Why the double standard in New Zealand? Because it isn’t politically correct to criticise race based elites. Hence the silence from Labour and the Greens who love calling anyone opposed to their politically creed ‘racist’ while refusing to tackle the real racism in New Zealand.
It’s is left to pressure groups like Hobson’s Choice and the NZ Taxpayers Union to speak out against this manifest and ugly wrong being foisted on the nation’s weakest.
The tribe reported a net profit of $137.8 million on the same day that Hobson’s Pledge released a poll that showed that 68.8 percent of New Zealanders oppose tax exemptions for tribal businesses.
Failure to collect tax from rich corporates means small business and low to medium income earners have to pay more than their fair share. It impacts adversely on the welfare system. It disadvantages the poorest in society far too many of whom will be Tainui’s own sect. Yet still politicians and the media remain silent on this appalling abuse of the tax system.
Greens Co-Leader, Metiria Turei, is a self-confessed thief. She has stolen $58000 from hard working Kiwis and is proud of it. Despite her bloated overpaid salary she is refusing to pay the money back. Her salary is around $178,500 plus $32,000 super contribution, $4,600 of perks and $17,000 of expenses for a total remuneration of over $230,000.
Her supporters in the Greens might see nothing wrong with this but I suspect the hard working Kiwi who has around 40% of their income forcibly taken by the State and then see some of it handed to this thief are far less happy. More so when they hear that she has done it not once but three times that we know of, maybe more.
Kiwiblog has been exposing the Greens for years. Today’s blog, Herald on Turei’s Fraud should be read by everyone.
The Herald editorial:
Defrauding the taxpayer is a way of life for the Greens. Kiwiblog has been unearthing wrongdoing for over a decade. Take this example from 2009
Q+A exposes Greens housing scheme
The fraudulent behaviour is systemic in the Party, not only in New Zealand but the Green movement worldwide. The public is familiar with the trillion dollar climate change scam that robs the poor and then leaves them in fuel poverty. Governments then give the money to rich Greenies to subsidise their ecologically disastrous electric cars, and solar and wind power, sometimes jokingly referred to as renewables.
The Greens are the party of fraud and deceit. They demonstrate again and again that they cannot be trusted on a personal level, and certainly could never be trusted with the public purse. Their 10% of the vote reflects the morals of their voter base, but for all hard working, honest, decent Kiwis the Greens are little more than money grabbing criminals.
Despite promising to find saving of between 3% and 6% in this year’s Council budget the hapless Goff has spent more on reports on how to save money than the Council has actually saved. This has been unearthed by the Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance from a report by consultants McGreedy Winder & Co.
Phil Goff has spent more on reports on how to save money than the Council has actually saved
Is anyone really surprised? Goff is a career politician with no experience in the real world. He has spent a lifetime taking other people’s money in taxes and spending it, firstly on himself to fund his fat MP’s salary and pension, and secondly to progress his Socialist agenda. He has used our money to build bureaucracies and extend the power of the State. Asking the same bloated bureaucracies to cut costs is like asking then to sharpen their pencils with blunt axes.
Sources inside Council tell me Goff has even less clue how to run the city that the idiot Brown. His record so far certainly bears this out.
The Spinoff, a left wing blog sponsored by Heart of the City, a group funded through an Auckland Council targeted rate, today accused me, Jordan Williams, David Farrar, the Taxpayers Union and Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance of sending Auckland Councillors ‘white feathers’, a symbol of cowardice.
The Taxpayers’ Union issued the following media release.
The Taxpayers’ Union, its founders Jordan Williams and David Farrar, the Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance, and its spokesperson Jo Holmes, totally reject the allegation made on the Spinoff website today that they have sent ‘white feathers’ (either physically or electronically) to Auckland Councillors or have acted in any unethical way in relation to the Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance “Ratepayer Protection Pledge” signed by approximately a dozen Auckland Councillors, prior to last year’s elections.
The childish smear campaign is aimed at deflecting attention away from the vote in the next few days by Auckland Councillors for Goff's 2.5% rates rise, plus a ‘bed tax’, in contravention of the Auckland Ratepayers’ Pledge, signed by many of them, to keep rates at or below 2%.
3.15pm. The Spinoff has retracted the allegations, taken down the original version, including allegations that the ARA is a far-right group, and issued this apology.
Threats, legal threats and cowardice: Auckland Council’s budget battle gets nasty [UPDATED]
After weeks of flip flopping on whether or not to allow the Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance (ARA) to make an oral submission on this year’s Auckland Council budget, its Budget and Finance Committee finally agreed to a meeting on Wednesday.
However, instead of presenting to an open Council committee, the meeting turned out to be a closed workshop. This allowed the Chairman, Councillor Ross Clow, to exclude the public and press. His first act as Chair was to declare the meeting ‘Confidential’. His second act was to forbid the taking of photographs.
This chilly reception only served to make Clow and Council look like they had something to hide.
Following the meeting the ARA issued the following media release.
RATEPAYERS TELL COUNCILLORS TO STICK TO PLEDGES - SPEND MORE IN INFRASTRUCTURE
The hostility towards Auckland’s largest ratepayer organisation was palpable. The message the ARA delivered was plainly one most Councillors did not want to hear
Who will be first to break the Ratepayers Pledge they signed when they wanted to get elected? .
Skypath, the cycle activist’s wet dream of a bridge just for them attached to the Auckland Harbour Bridge, has been dealt another blow. This time it’s the major public roading construction firm Downers that has pulled out of the deal citing complexity. The cycle activist directors are now saying the Public Private Partnership deal struck with Auckland Council can be re-negotiated. We all know what that means – more ratepayers’ money.
Skypath was sold to financially illiterate Auckland Councillors on the promise that it would be self funding. However, they made the stupid undertaking that if it wasn’t, Auckland ratepayers would pick up the tab.
Comments on the Whaleoil blog are spot on .
What that means is that the job is far more complex than planned, and experts like Downer say it can’t work…for them…or anyone else. But note that there are now talks of altering the PPP…in other words the project is now about to get a whole lot more expensive. This always happens with marginal projects like this…and the politicians don’t care, it’s not their money.
Nobody has caused more waste of money or traffic congestion in Auckland than cycle activists. They control the transport planners who have wasted hundreds of millions on cycle lanes designed solely to narrow roads and increase congestion with the aim of forcing the public to use expensive, subsidised public transport.
The trouble is public transport is very, very expensive, especially when it has to be retrofitted as in Auckland. Expecting ratepayers to pick up the tab for massive transport infrastructure is one of idiocies of the age. All transport is inter-connected, from the road outside your house in Auckland to the highway to Bluff. It should be taken out of the hands of ratepayers and paid for by taxpayers. This would allow rates to be brought under control instead of forever outstripping inflation while money is directed to the most beneficial and cost effective transport solutions for the nation as a whole.
Cycle and pedestrian access across the Waitemata harbour would then be part of the next, long overdue harbour bridge. It would mean the snowflakes of Cycle Auckland would have to wait a while, but better that than create yet another long term burden for Auckland’s hard-pressed ratepayers.
How Skypath is fleecing ratepayers
Skypath another Heart of the City debacle in the making?
Goff is facing a backlash from Councillors over his proposal to levy a targeted rate on hotels and motels, referred to as a bed tax. According to The Spinoff he doesn’t have the numbers to pass it.
This follows intense lobbying from tourism owners in Auckland who say the tax would be unfair and probably illegal.
Goff is headed for his first major defeat, and it’s over the bed tax
The tax could only be levied on the property owner. Most big hotels are leased. The landlords have long term fixed leases with their tenants. It might be some time before the tax could be passed on in the form of higher hotel room rates. Meanwhile smaller mum and dad accommodation operators who own their own land and buildings could well find themselves out of business. Many operate on small margins. They would be forced to pass on the tax to clients making them more uncompetitive and that is blatantly unfair.
Len Brown bankrupted the city with his vanity projects, especially the City Rail Link. To ensure his ‘Think Big” projects lived on after his tenure as mayor he entered legally binding contracts that would prove too costly to cancel. In other words he handed his successor a poisoned chalice.
Brown racked up so much debt Goff cannot fund his own pet projects through more borrowing. The credit card is maxed out. Brown’s vanity projects are experiencing cost blow outs. The present government is not keen to give the mayor the power to raise new taxes. At the same time he is committed to a 2.5% rates rise which is insufficient to meet the needs of current let alone future projects.
Of course Goff does have options. He could find savings. He could decrease the budgets to his CCOs. ATEED, far from requiring more money from a new bed tax could find big savings by cutting its bloated bureaucracy, big salaries, overseas ambassadors, overseas jollies, name change think tanks, and other frills and furbelows that are not core business. The same goes for all CCOs. The same goes for Auckland Council’s own overpaid, under performing bureaucrats.
Goff should stop thinking up more, expensive grandiose projects like the waterfront stadium or moving the port, and concentrate in getting back to basics. Given the recent lesson handed to Council by the flooding following heavy rains it is more imperative than ever for Council to provide core services like adequate drainage and flood control.
If he pursues his bed tax idea he will most likely end up getting fleas.
Hard left Green Party List MP Denise Roche is one of the top ten most expensive opposition MPs with a carbon footprint that that could pollute the atmosphere all on its own. Whaleoil has been doing some fact checking on the travel and accommodation expenses incurred at our expense by opposition party MPs. These are mostly left alone by msm (mainstream media) because it’s much more fun for the leftist msm to target National.
You can read the full story with all the travel and accommodation expenses listed here. The blog concludes:
The dirty 11 who have hit the $200,000 mark. I wonder how many others get over the $200,000 mark before the next elections.
Roche is one of those sanctimonious people who can’t resist telling the rest of us what to do and how to behave. This is especially so on Waiheke where she has her main residence.
The problem with being ‘holier than thou’, as all Green Party MPs and their fellow travellers are wont to be, is twofold. Firstly, they are exceeding unlikely to live up to the lofty standards they assign themselves. Secondly, those who are the recipients of their disdain are the majority of the common, hard working taxpayers who pay their salaries and benefits but do not share their Cultural Marxist worldview. These Kiwis don’t take well to being lectured at by hypocrites, and Roche is a prime example of a Green hypocrite.
She is happy to shriek with disgust about the carbon footprint of those awful fossil fuel burning electricity providers who generate cheap electricity for the world’s poorest, yet here she is with one of the dirtiest carbon footprints of all the country’s opposition MPs.
She lectures the young and impressionable with horror stories about catastrophic climate change leading to sea level rises that will flood millions out of their homes. Yet she has chosen to live in a waterfront property on elite Waiheke Island. A cynic might suspect she’s doesn’t believe a word of her own hype.
She has been seen loading her plastic bags full of shopping into her virtue signalling electric car, while she lectures the country about the environmental disaster that is, you guessed it, plastic bags.
No wonder Generation Zero, Auckland’s inner city Green hipster snowflakes, wanted the ageing hypocrite Roche replaced as Green Party candidate for Auckland Central. They wanted bright, young, Chloe Swarbrick, who attracted 30,000 Auckland votes in the recent Mayoral election. The best Roche was able to do in the last general Election was get 2000 votes, mostly from her support base of old hags on Waiheke. Roche’s intervention last time split the Left vote allowing Nikki Kaye to be elected for National. The Greens have certainly missed a trick in not opting for Swarbrick.
Roche’s carbon-emitting, jet-setting elite lifestyle at our expense has served her well. She has become very rich at our expense. She doubtless considers it her moral duty to take another $200,000 plus from the taxpayer on top of her $160,000 plus annual salary and other allowances worth around half a million a year. Then there’s the pension.
Occasionally, he drives her ebike around Waiheke to show how much she cares for the environment. It's all about looking the part, but her dirty little secrets tell the real story.
The Government has rejected the Auckland Mayor’s revenue raising regional fuel tax. In a statement yesterday Stephen Joyce and Simon Bridges said ‘any road pricing initiative on existing motorways and highways would be as a replacement for petrol taxes and road user charges not in addition to them.’
The news has been welcomed by the Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance
DECISION TO RULE OUT REGIONAL FUEL TAX WELCOMED
Labour’s solution for every situation is to tax, tax, tax, and spend, spend, spend. The simple matter of affordability and budget constraints never enters its head.
I expect Goff knew full well his ‘regional fuel tax’ idea would never fly. The government had already told Goff’s failed predecessor the same thing. It will all be a set-up so he can say to ratepayers when he justifies breaching his 2.5% rates rise promise, ‘It’s not my fault. The government refused to let me raise alternative funding leaving me no choice but to raise rates above the promised threshold. Blame the government.’
We’ve all heard it so many times before from Labour that such an outcome would come as no surprise. In fact, Goff has already signalled he has massive rates rises in his sights. This is what he had to say.
“Putting the burden of resolving transport funding deficit onto ratepayers would push rates up about 16% next year.’
As I said before the election, Phil Goff is Len Brown on steroids.
Trying to pick winners and losers with taxpayer dollars is not something the Government should be doing, especially when it comes to foreign policy. The consequences of getting it wrong have already harmed New Zealand’s overseas interests and will prove costly for this export dependent country. Sadly for New Zealand this fact appears lost on our political masters.
The NZ Taxpayers Union continues exposing National’s attempts to influence the outcome of the recent US Election. It has discovered that $7.7 million was handed to the controversial Clinton Foundation affiliate, the "Clinton Health Access Initiative". Now it has revealed a further $5.5 million is to be handed over.
On Wednesday the Taxpayers' Union revealed that the Government has budgeted to give another $5.5 million dollars of taxpayers’ money to the controversial Clinton Foundation affiliate, the "Clinton Health Access Initiative". This is on top of the $7.7million already forked out. Click here to read the details.
Taxpayers are not happy. Watch the video.
noted If you’re not happy with abuse of your money you can sign the petition here.
National’s recent forays into foreign affairs have been disastrous not only for trade but also for the country’s standing as a democratic nation. John Key twice picked the losing side while he attempted to interfere in recent overseas elections. He openly sided with the Remain camp in the Brexit vote and then with the Democratic Party in the recent US Presidential Election. Both have damaged New Zealand’s overseas standing. But nothing will prove as damaging as this blatant bribe to the losing side in the US Presidential race to curry future favour with what National had hoped would be the incoming Clinton administration.
The consequences have been swift and harmful to New Zealand interests. This week President Trump consigned New Zealand’s long fought for international trade partnership, the TPPA, into oblivion at the stroke of his pen. The main plank of National’s economic plan was gone, just like that.
New Zealand has further enraged the Trump administration with its sponsorship of the UN Security Council resolution against Israel in the last days of the Obama administration. The Huffington Post noted Murray McCully’s well known anti-Semitic, pro-Arab sentiments presumably following the scandal over the Saudi Sheep saga.
Here is the The Taxpayers Union again.
Given the lessons of the Saudi Sheep saga, we are staggered that MFAT appear to still think handing out money for diplomatic purposes is sensible. Even worse, this money comes from the NZ Aid budget which should be going to programmes which are the most effective at helping the world’s poor - not sidetracked into political objectives.
Making an enemy of the world’s most powerful economy while being openly hostile to democratically elected nations is an indication of just how out of touch the National has become during its third term The long term health of the nation is at risk as long as National persists in its policy of undermining democracy.
Two events last week marked a climatic shift in science, politics and economics. First there was Theresa May, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, marking out the path for Brexit. Then there was the inauguration of President Trump. Both marked a distinct cooling towards globalism and progressive liberal doctrines, especially political correctness and the myth of man made global warming.
May’s Brexit speech was music to the ears. It marked a complete rejection of the European Union, and a return to sovereignty for the United Kingdom, something I had desired since 1973 when that paternalist, Edward Heath, took the UK into the EEC without a by your leave. It was a rejection of globalism, of unelected institutions, of other people’s laws. But it was also outward looking seeing the whole world as potential trading partners rather than just the narrow self absorbed EU. Her speech heralded a return to life as the British people had known it before the progressive liberal elites took over.
In similar fashion Trump also put America First in his inaugural address. He, too, signalled an end to globalism, to unrestricted freedom of movement, and a return to how it was before the elites took control. And lest anyone be in any doubt that he means what he says, the White House website was changed to reflect the new reality just as soon as Trump had sworn the oath of allegiance.
Of particular interest was the removal of any reference to ‘climate change’, that great monument to the Left’s hatred of mankind. Twitter erupted with joy as we climate sceptics knew it was all over for the global warming scam that has been so costly in terms of jobs, the environment, and cheap energy.
Trump sealed its death warrant a few minutes later as he signed the executive order committing his presidency to eliminating ‘harmful and unnecessary policies such as the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the U.S. rule’. Trump had stopped the pernicious doctrine of ‘consensus’ science cold in its tracks. The chill will be felt in the bloated ‘climate’ departments of the universities, in NASA, in NOAA, and through the IPCC, all the recipients of billion upon billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars to prop up the myth of man made global warming. It will be felt most keenly at the United Nations, sponsor of the man made global warming myth.
Meanwhile, the actual climate on Earth continues to do what it has always done; sometimes it warms, sometimes it cools. When I was young and studying geography, including meteorology, predictions were focussed on the imminent return of the next Ice Age. The scorching days of the 1930s (the hottest days on record in the US) had given way to substantial cooling from around 1940 to 1975, hence the worries about another Ice Age. There then followed another period of warming for the next twenty years. That is when global warming became all the rage.
Money poured into newly formed ‘climate’ departments, especially through the United Nations who had chosen the doctrine of man made global warming as its leverage to persuade the world’s governments that only a new world order with the United nations at its head could solve the impending catastrophe facing planet Earth.
Unfortunately, the trend stopped in the mid nineties since when there has been no noticeable warming. At present the lack of sun spot activity is giving rise to predictions of cooling not rising. Thus the natural ebb and flow of warming and cooling that has characterised the earth’s climate for all of geological history continues.
Making costly policy decisions on what temperatures might be over a century from now has been a disaster for the world’s poorest nations. This is especially true in the emerging nations of Africa. To quote Nigel Lawson from his ‘Cool it: an essay on Climate Change’
“Asking these nations to abandon the cheapest available sources of energy is, at the very least, asking them to delay the conquest of malnutrition, to perpetuate the incidence of preventable disease, and to increase the numbers of premature deaths. Global warming orthodoxy is not merely irrational. It is wicked.”
Once the funding dries up so will the river of wasted money. Trump has already done what trillions in foreign aid has failed to do. It will free poorer countries to allow cheap energy to flow once again. Now there’s something to really celebrate.
Tomorrow Auckland Council Finance Committee meets to set next year's budget and rates. Goff has said he wants a 2.5% rates rise but many Councillors have signed the Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance Pledge to keep annual rates rises to 2%. Will they capitulate to Goff’s demands and fall at the first hurdle? It looks like some might.
Inside sources have told me that Goff is running Council as if it were central government. Apparently, he expects those he’s handed lucrative positions to as Chairs and Deputy Chairs of the various Council Committees to toe the party line, as if they were members of cabinet where collective responsibility is expected. This is putting enormous pressure on Councillors to breach their commitment to ratepayers and those who voted them into power expecting them to exercise fiscal responsibilty.
Without the steadying influence of financially prudent Councillors like Cameron Brewer and George Wood to stiffen their moral resolve, it seems some will be only too willing to go along with the new mayor in order to curry favour or promote their political ambitions.
Goff is already signalling that his 2.5% is mere smoke and mirrors. He intends to increase the financial burden of ratepayers through a series of indirect taxes and levies. Instead, he could have given the hard pressed ratepayers a rates holiday by cutting out the myriad of wasteful projects left behind as the legacy of the failed Len Brown era.
Find out who sold out ratepayers and who didn’t tomorrow.
This afternoon new Mayor Phil Goff has announced he wants to place a visitor levy on every tourist coming to Auckland so that he can pay for his wish list of expensive new projects, like light rail along Dominion Road to the airport, moving the port and a new waterfront stadium.
As predicted pre-election, Goff will be looking for new taxes, levies, and charges to fund his wasteful spending so that he can keep his promise of rates rises no greater than 2.5%.
Less than two months into being elected, Goff wants Auckland Council to consider pegging Aucklander’s annual rate to 2.5 per cent while accommodation providers must collect a visitor levy.
That’s right, let’s add to the tax and collection burden of countless small business and damage the main driver of the Auckland economy, tourism, at the same time. Good thinking, Batman.
The plan, along with other Goff proposals such as a targeted rate for new large-scale developments and a regional fuel tax, would support Auckland’s growth, he said.
Why doesn’t Goff opt for the more obvious way of raising money, which is to cut wasteful spending, instead of increasing taxes. Goodness knows there’s enough wasteful spending around, what with ATEED’s proposed re-branding, as well as paying for the re-branding of lobby groups like Cycle Action to change their name to Bike Auckland.
The Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance has issued the following press release.
HOW ABOUT A STOP TO RIDICULOUS SPENDING RATHER THAN A TAX ON TOURISM AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP?
Only a dyed-in-the-wool Socialist could believe that increasing taxes will be good for the Auckland economy.
Goff’s ‘big’ idea is light rail (trams). Like Len Brown before him Goff wants to stamp his mark on Auckland with a vanity project that will cost megabucks and do nothing to relieve the city’s worsening traffic congestion. With Brown it was the black hole under central Auckland, the tunnel for the City Rail Link: with Goff it’s light rail –which he thinks is a road.
Kiwiblog takes up the story.
Did Little even talk to Goff on his bribe?Radio NZ reports:
The truth is there is no money in the kitty. The cost of the CRL continues to rise while Auckland’s credit card is maxed out. Auckland Council debt per household is over $20,000. A pathetic Goff has only one solution – get everyone in New Zealand, courtesy of central government, to contribute. Goff is already blaming his failure as mayor on central government, like any failed Labour leader would.
His lacklustre performance at his swearing in ceremony yesterday doesn’t bode well. His speech was summed up in one sentence by the left wing Radio NZ: ‘in a speech uninterrupted by applause, Mr Goff failed to commit to specific goals’. Ouch!
Goff the Gormless, Goff the Grey.
The justification for more state intervention in our lives is nearly always a desire to do good, but alas the law of unintended consequences almost always ensures lasting harm.
Take the taxation of smoking.
Smoking is harmful to health. Smokers were not paying the full heath costs of their treatment when they became ill. Increasing tax on cigarettes had the double benefit of reducing demand for cigarettes as the price increased and raised sufficient revenue to pay for the health costs of those who continue to smoke. So far so good.
But successive Governments have gone much further. They have raised taxes on cigarettes way beyond the point of covering health service costs. They have raised tobacco tax to the point where it has become oppressive and counter productive. Each new draconian increase is having a decreasing effect on stopping smoking but is leading to unintended consequences that are very harmful to society.
This was pointed out by the Taxpayers' Union last January when National increased tobacco tax by a draconian 10%
While politicians cry crocodile tears about the harms of smoking, they are refusing to allow the sale of healthier alternatives. It appears the only reason is to protect the revenue stream from the taxes on traditional cigarettes.
ACT Party leader David Seymour has gone further this week blaming tobacco tax for increasing crime.
"A carton of cigarettes is now worth nearly $300 due to the tax increases, and we've had 17 robberies in Christchurch in the last seven weeks targeting tobacco. You don't have to be a genius to work it out."
Taxes are now prohibitive and prohibition leads to increasing crime. It creates a ready black market in stolen cigarettes. The easiest targets are local superettes. These are owned predominantly by new immigrants, especially Indians.
The increasing crime against racial minorities has led to the formation of a new race-based political party, The New Zealand People’s Party.
The acting leader is Roshan Nauhria - successful Indian businessman and member of the New Zealand Order of Merit.
The People's Party was announced this week with a narrower focus than its name suggests. Its target is Asian and ethnic voters and its issue is fighting crime.
Like Hide I expect to see more race based political parties all screaming about their special needs. It has been successful to the tune of billions for Maori. Why not for other race based groups?
It’s all very sad. Once the principles underpinning the rule of law and democracy are removed it is a slippery slope to an uncertain and dangerous future.
I leave to the last word to Ben Franklin one of the Founding Fathers of the US Constitution.
History affords us many instances of the ruin of states, by the prosecution of measures ill suited to the temper and genius of their people. The ordaining of laws in favor of one part of the nation, to the prejudice and oppression of another, is certainly the most erroneous and mistaken policy. An equal dispensation of protection, rights, privileges, and advantages, is what every part is entitled to, and ought to enjoy…
These measures never fail to create great and violent jealousies and animosities between the people favored and the people oppressed; whence a total separation of affections, interests, political obligations, and all manner of connections, by which the whole state is weakened.
The Taxpayers’ Union is calling on the Government to withdraw its draconian proposal to give itself the power to amend tax laws without any consultation or parliamentary scrutiny. The TU is calling this Government proposal ‘the biggest threat to taxpayer rights in a generation’, which it is.
Those of us of a centre right disposition, like myself, who believe in less state interference in our lives, lower taxes and the widest possible extension of individual freedom of choice have become increasingly dismayed with the Key government as it lurches ever more to the left with its love of state control of everything.
This latest Stalinist proposal has, like too much legislation, been shoved in at the last moment in the hope of hiding it from public scrutiny. Even the former head of policy at the Inland Revenue is aghast at the brazen audacity of this latest move to undermine the rule of law, as is Labour.
Proposed law the biggest threat to taxpayers’ rights in a generation
Around New Zealand National it is clear middle New Zealand has had a gutsful of National's lurch to the Left. Check out the number of Facebook 'likes' on this blog.
If it continues alienating its natural voters with race based privilege, undermining the rule of law, and imposing draconian tax laws then National will find it is no longer able to form a government without the help of NZ First. It will have only itself to blame.
Council has used its might against its ratepayers by forcing those opposed to the cycle bridge across the Auckland harbour (Skypath) to withdraw from pressing their cause through the Environment Court. The Northcote Residents Association cannot afford to financial costs of fighting the four top law firms employed by Council.
Kevin Clarke of the Northcote Residents Association (NRA) had this to say
Northcote Residents have withdrawn their Environment Court appeal against SkyPath, which they consider to be a financial, functional and environmental failure. They also consider that SkyPath is unlikely to ever be implemented and that its blatantly obvious safety hazards alone, should have prevented it from seeing the light of day in the first place. Although Council tells itself that SkyPath is merely a $33M project, its real costs are set to deliver yet another Council blowout, this time set to amount to hundreds of millions.
Skypath is a rort. If it ever goes ahead it will cost the ratepayers of Auckland and taxpayers of New Zealand hundreds of millions. The Public/Private Partnership arrangement is all downside risk for the public and upside profit for the private enterprise trust behind the project. Warning bells should have been ringing loud and clear throughout Council when it found out one of the original Trustees was convicted fraudster Alex Swney.
Alex Swney created the Heart of the City Trust, was its Chief Executive, got Auckland Council to fund it through a targeted rate and ripped off the ratepayer to the tune of $4 million. It took an intervention by the IRD and SFO to finally bring the crook to justice.
Council has already opted to underwrite the inevitable failure of the project leaving the ratepayers to pick up the tab despite warnings that the private trust model is the same.
There is a solution that would not destroyed the heritage Northcote Point, as Skypath will, and still provide walkers and cyclists with a crossing point over the Waitemata. All they have to do is be patient and wait a little longer. This has been pointed out by NRA.
Another issue that calls SkyPath’s viability into doubt, arises from recent discussions with the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA).
Skypath is unsafe, a rort and a waste of ratepayers and taxpayers money. Shame on all Councillors who have supported it.
NZTA (New Zealand Transport Authority) is undertaking a ‘The National Urban Cycling Survey’ to help them ‘better understand New Zealand views and opinions about cycling in towns and cities’. In reality the objective is to force people to say they will cycle to work and thereby justify the Government’s spending of $100 million of our taxes on new cycleways.
John Key chose cycleways as his make work, social engineering project for idle hands following the financial collapse of 2008. Since then, the Government has continued to pump our money into the preferred leisure pursuit of rich, urban metrosexuals and mamils, people very like John Key in fact.
NZTA has employed an ‘independent’ market research company to conduct the attitudinal survey to justify the spending. The questions are loaded in favour of getting the result the survey wants. No surprise in that. The market research company gets to keep their survey contract with government and the government gets its desired result.
One of those interviewed by phone has told me the questions are all directed at making the interviewee say they will cycle to work. They are not about which alternative transport modes the public prefers, or the reasons behind their choices. Instead the questioning was persistently about what would make the interviewee switch to cycling. For example, the interviewee was asked, ‘Should cyclists be allowed to ride in the middle of the road so that cars have to wait behind them?’
The interviewee cited the many factors that would not make them change to cycling; the inclement weather in New Zealand; the difficult (hilly) terrain; the need to carry shopping; distance, physical disadvantages, age, travelling in the dark and a preference for other transport modes such as public transport and the healthier option of walking.
Cycling is the preferred religion of metrosexuals and mamils. These creatures inhabit the inner cities. I wonder how many people in South Auckland will welcome being told by Council and Government to get on their bikes, even assuming they can afford them?
Government and local government is experiencing some push back from disgruntled residents and ratepayers in urban areas where citizens are more likely to suffer the adverse effects of cycleways. These adverse effects include increased traffic congestion, removal of on-street parking, and unsafe cycleway design. There is also outrage that so much of their taxes should be spent on so few (less than 1% cycle to work). Cyclist behaviour further alienates the public when cylists prefer to cycle on the roads even when separate cycle lanes are provided, and have a persistent habit of running red lights. The 'Paint It Back' movement in Wellington is one example of the push back. This 'Is Skypath safe?' video is another.
The old proverb ‘you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink’ sums up the reality of cycling and the social engineering being carried out to try and force people to ride bikes. It won’t work.
I arrived at Pier One yesterday to find a small commotion outside on Quay Street. It was the Prime Minister, Minister of Transport Simon Bridges, a few cyclists and some media people. It was the opening of the Quay Street Cycleway that has reduced the width of Quay Street by 3 metres and has cost around $2 million. As I watched, the first cyclist tried to run the red light outside the ferry terminal almost knocking over pedestrians trying to cross the busy intersection. It was a bad start.
Ninety minutes later I returned to the same intersection after my meeting with Phil Goff. As I crossed the road I took photos of the cycleway to the east and west . Not a cyclist to be seen. Another costly, wasteful Green elephant.
This area of Quay St is already congested, more so now with the three to five year building projects around Britomart. Not the right time, a sensible person might conclude, to add to the city’s traffic congestion right in the heart of the city centre. The eventual aim of Auckland Transport is to limit traffic on Quay St to one lane for service vehicles before eliminating vehicles all together. AT has no plans for how it will divert the tens of thousands of car, truck, bus and other vehicles moving through Quay St to other routes.
The whole exercise, as with all cycleways, is to increase traffic congestion in city centres in order to push motorists out of their cars and onto public transport to justify the massive investment Council is making in the City Rail Link and other public transport projects. Cycleways are also an expression of the UN Agenda 21 driven transport philosophy of hatred of cars or any fossil fuel driven energy. It is stupid and human hating. It is the philosophy behind the Greens.
The irony is that for National Party politicians, including John Key, backing their ‘Blue/Green’ cycleway initiatives will not garner one extra vote for them. They are laughed at by the cycle fanatics who infest the corridors of Auckland Council and Auckland Transport who are died in the wool Greenies. Meanwhile National continues to alienate its core voters who are fiscally conservative and hate to see their taxes and rates wasted in this profligate manner. Just plain dumb.
Rates will have to rise 7% every year into the foreseeable future after the City Rail Link is built just to keep it operating. While our fool of a mayor Len Brown might have had cause to prance and dance for the cameras the other day to celebrate putting together the train set he gave himself for Christmas, ratepayers of Auckland have only cause for concern.
Brown has got the city into huge debt to help pay for his toy but as yet the company he hoped would bale him out, the government, hasn’t said how much the taxpayer is prepared to cough up. Councillor Cameron Brewer has pointed out on social media, as have I on several occasions, getting Auckland into a black hole of debt is just the beginning. There is far worse to come.
It was great to see the Mayor dancing and waving on TV tonight. However tomorrow he needs to address the $100m-plus per annum OPEX hole the CRL creates (once its built) for Auckland's ratepayers according to our own LTP [Long Tern Plan] forecasts. That's equivalent to about a 7 percent rates increase for all Aucklanders just to keep it running. As for the CAPEX to construct it, council's debt to revenue ratio couldn't cope with it, so motorway tolls will also form a big part of the Mayor's press conference tomorrow. I trust he's having one??
Brewer explained further in a media release
Mr Brewer says cost containment will be the biggest challenge for the City Rail Link project with ratepayers not taxpayers still most exposed given it remains council-led.
Just like the little boy he is, Brown couldn’t wait to open his present and get started assembling the set. He couldn’t care less if the government comes up with the money or not for two reasons. He won’t be around when the creditors call in the debt and anyway he, or his successor, can always raid the piggy bank called 'ratepayers' or toll those horrible motorists so there will be enough to finish it. All that matters is it gets built and the first train is named the ‘Len Brown Legacy’. The fact that the train may never run because the ratepayers can’t afford it is neither here nor there.
This is what happens when personal vanity and poor political choices take precedent over careful cost benefit analysis and business sense. The CRL white elephant is neither cost efficient nor effective in terms of getting the city moving. In other words it should never be built.
Mayoral candidate Vic Crone has made a strongly worded statement in response to the budget announcement by the Government. While Labour MP Phil Goff did what Labour MPs always do and criticise the government for not spending enough of our money on Auckland, Crone rightly places the blame on Council for worsening both traffic congestion and housing affordability.
The government's budget focuses on investing where it rightly should. For Auckland the investments in schools, health, social and emergency housing, innovation as well as employment are exactly what the government needs to do.
Crone has also said she will ‘open Council’s books’ with three measures to increase accountability. Given the amount of secrecy in Council this is long overdue.
1. Establish an Independent Budget Office to ensure wise decisions on how billions of Aucklanders' money is invested
2. Open the books in an accessible way so everyone can understand how council is spending their money right throughout its organisations
3. User-friendly Mayor's Report Cards will show key measurements and progress in priority policy areas like housing and transport, every 6 months as a start
Goff's only contribution is to say we need to be more like Len Brown and spend, spend, spend. Remind me again how Goff is different to the failed Brown: oh, that's right, he wants to spend even more.
Do you realise that until today you have been working for the government? It is only from now on that you will be working for yourself and your family. This press release from the Taxpayers Union points out that National is now more Socialist than Helen Clark’s government.
National can no longer call themselves ‘centre right’. They are a 'centre left' government and getting further left every day. It is no wonder therefore that formerly steadfast National voters are leaving the Party in favour of those offering an alternative to Socialism.
As Newstalk ZB’s Mike Hosking pointed out yesterday in this video, when the clock ticks over to 11:12am tomorrow you stop working for the Government and start working for yourself!
Detaching Labour from the Maori vote it had enjoyed as of right for decades has been the single policy objective of National. Without the Maori vote Labour could never rule again and National reasoned that it could then be left alone to rule as it saw fit.
It was manna from heaven to National when the Maori Party came along, splitting the Maori vote and supporting National. It helped them achieve their policy objective of returning Labour to the dustbin of history. All should have been well.
But the price National has paid for the support of the Maori Party has been dear. It has come at the price of democracy itself. This has alienated National’s middle NZ voters and, worse still it has given rise to a more formidable opposition. Winston Peters is slowly but surely stepping into the void left by Labour and the void created by National’s capitulation to demands for race-based privilege.
Whaleoil spoke for middle NZ in a recent blog when he wrote:
Middle New Zealand is sick of people having to come and do a song and dance, sometimes literally, before anything can be done. They are sick of having to get approval from up to 20 odd Iwi before they can erect a statue on private land. They are sick of the constant hand-outs, the constant victim industry, and the liberal guilt pandering that enables these professional children.
This is playing into Winnie’s hands as Rob Hosking has pointed out in a recent article in NBR
It is increasingly likely Mr Peters will hold the balance of power after next year’s vote, and inevitably there is already speculation about what he wants.
Why would anyone vote for Labour when they can vote for Winnie and get the real McCoy?
Meanwhile a letter has been sent to all National MPs warning of the dangers to National of its continual alienation of its core voters.
One person, one vote is a fundamental tenet of New Zealand’s democratic system. Yet, your Party is setting up 50:50 co-governance arrangements with Maori separatists, giving them equal power to everyone else, even though they represent no more than 15 percent of the population. This is a very dangerous move for a nation built on the notion of equal rights for all. Especially - as Tuku Morgan has indicated – Iwi Leaders now have their sights set on Local Authorities and Parliament itself.
It is alienation of middle America that has given rise to Trump. It is alienation of middle Britain that has given rise to UKIP. It is alienation of middle NZ that is giving rise to Winnie.
The whole left wing ‘social’ or ‘liberal’ consensus that has dominated politics in the West has given rise to a ‘protected’ elite whether it be politicians, bureaucrats, university lecturers or tribal barons.
Politicians steal money in the form of taxes from the hard working ‘unprotected’ and redistribute it to themselves and those they protect. For their pains the ‘unprotected’ are called racists, rednecks, and reactionaries by mainstream media, although they are none of these things.
It is National that is undermining property rights, universal sufferage, and democratic freedoms. They have only themselves to blame if voters turn to Winnie to achieve representation.