He will have his work cut out finding the money to continue the project that is sucking the life blood from the city – the City Rail Link (CRL). I am told by sources in Council that the next CRL cost blow out will take the project over $5billion, and that’s not the end of the escalation. All Auckland gets for this ridiculous amount is three kilometres of track and three underground stations. Contrast this with the $7 billion cost of building the nearly 30 kilometres of tunnel 100 metres underground that is CERN in Switzerland. It is packed with the world’s most advanced technology and is unlocking the secrets of the universe. The CRL won’t even unlock the city’s traffic congestion.
Despite having limited options, Goff could undo some of the lasting harm created by Brown. He can get rid of the large numbers of ‘hangers on’ who have grown fat on the public trough. People like the old ‘has been’ Sir Bob Harvey and the new wannabe Ludo Campbell-Reid should be consigned to the scrap heap along with a whole host of Brown’s mates in his personal spin department.
Now that the Auckland Plan is in place he can get rid of the excess ‘planners’. He can cut the ‘comms’ (that communications not communist in case you’re wondering) department in half. He can provide more stringent parameters around Auckland transport spending and stop wasting in on traffic congestion causing cycleways that cater for the less than 1% of Aucklanders. He can use the money to fix the roads in the 99% of Auckland outside the City Centre that has been denuded of funding to pay for the pastime of a few lycra-clad, middle aged, inner city renters.
He can put the local back into local government by using some of his cost savings to bolster the funds of all local boards, but only with strict checks and balances in place to make sure it is spent on local infrastructure. Some local boards have been every bit as profligate as Len Brown as lax controls have allowed them to channel funding into unaccountable politically motivated ‘Trusts’. Waiheke and Waitakere have been particularly guilty of funding Green party ambitions this way.
Goff has promised much despite knowing his hands would be tied. He can blame Brown for not being able to fulfil his promises. He will have a honeymoon period where he can set a more responsible path to get the city back to basics. If he does that, while creating a more collegiate Governing Body, then he might yet be the mayor Auckland deserves. I live in hope