The special paint was supplied by a company called Resin Surfaces at an extra cost to the ratepayers of Auckland of $270,000. Ratepayers have now been told they will be footing the $115,000 repair bill because Council was in fact penny-pinching over the original amount. Apparently, the repair work is not under warranty because the contractor allegedly told Auckland Transport they needed to add a sunscreen coating but failed to do so.
The pathway could have been painted with the tried and tested green paint supplied by the same company for all cycleways and bus lanes. This would have been the most cost effective solution for Auckland ratepayers who were footing the bill. However, the lobby group Bike Auckland and their activists deeply embedded in Auckland Transport staff wanted to make this particular cycleway – it cost $18 million – ‘special’. Their ‘special’ friend, the general manager at Resin Surfaces, the company profiting from this contract, is cycle activist Kyle Donovan.
Here is Bike Auckland boasting about its fairy dust.
When Kyle Donegan turned up at the Bike Auckland launch party last week, he handed me a small box containing a handful of glittery pink stuff. A little bit sandy, a little bit sparkly, it looked like fairy dust. And it might as well be – it’s a sample of the recycled glass aggregate that, when mixed with a resin base, forms the “pink frosting” on the magical new Nelson St pathway.
What is going on here? Is this another example of incompetence from the cycle management staff of Auckland Transport? Or, is there another cosy arrangement between Auckland Transport and one of its contractors as there was in the recent corruption scandal involving Auckland Transport staff and Progenz? Why should the ratepayers of Auckland be forced to pay for pink fairy dust to meet the special needs of a few cyclists at a cost of nearly $400k? Why is Auckland installing ever more cycleways around Auckland when even the Chief Executive Officer Stephen Towns admits they cause traffic congestion?
The Council seem to be trying to hide behind the excuse that this project was funded via the City Centre Targeted Rate. It does not matter if it is rates from businesses or households, spending over a quarter of a million dollars on pink twinkle dust that isn’t fit for purpose and then wasting another $115,000 on repairs on what has been a white elephant is a clear example of the Council wasting ratepayer money.
It is this mix of unnecessary expenditure and bureaucratic incompetence that has made Auckland Council the paradigm for the very worst excesses of local government in New Zealand.