There is nothing incenses ratepayers more than when politicians spend up large on themselves while telling the public they must make do and mend with reduced essential services. It is why the Auckland public is so angry with its lacklustre Council. Bernard Orsman takes up the story in today’s Herald.
$31m to clad Auckland Council's HQ
The cost of cladding repairs at Auckland Council's Albert St headquarters has blown out from $4 million to an estimated $31m, according to a confidential report.
The huge bill for essential repairs to heavy granite slabs on the 31-storey building will be discussed by councillors behind closed doors on Tuesday.
Ratepayers have already paid $128.5m to buy and fit out the 25-year-old building, described as robust and structurally sound with good bones when it was bought in 2012.
About $4m was set aside for stonework issues picked up during due diligence. A report by the engineering firm GHD in November found there was no definitive evidence of imminent collapse, but clearly cause for concern and a high potential risk of a stone panel falling from height.
The council is taking all reasonable steps to reduce or eliminate risk, including fencing areas around the facade, building a protected walkway and a working platform above the canopy.
Two sources yesterday confirmed the estimated $31m repair bill. Council staff would not confirm the figure.
The $27m increase in cost is the same figure senior council officers said would save ratepayers over 10 years moving from a mix of rented and owned CBD accommodation to the ASB Tower.
Councillors and bureaucrats only thought of themselves and the supposed enhanced status this symbol would bring. It houses a luxury apartment for the mayor’s private use away from prying eyes that saw far too much of his shenanigans in the Ngati Whatua room. Everything about the purchase smacked of venality, waste of ratepayers money and self-serving incompetence. In other words, it is a suitable monument for six years of the Brown mayoralty.