News

September 14, 2015

Ratepayers Don't Need A Len Brown 'Ministry Of Information'

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RATEPAYERS DON'T NEED A LEN BROWN 'MINISTRY OF INFORMATION'

MONDAY 14 SEPTEMBER 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance is shocked that Auckland Council is set to announce a new mobile app and online news service the cost of which is unknown. Jo Holmes, a spokesperson for the Ratepayers’ Alliance, says:
 
“At 130 staff, Auckland Council has more spin doctors than any Auckland newsroom has journalists. Instead of serving ratepayers, the Council looks set to create a ‘Pravda’ style propaganda outlet.”
 
“Auckland Council gets bad press because it racks up rates, wastes our money, and has reduced its infrastructure spend, despite the new transport levy. Instead of fixing itself the Council wants to launch a news service to engineer propaganda. Ratepayers will be saying 'no no no’ to the creation of a Soviet style 'Ministry of Information'.”

 

ENDS

 

September 14, 2015

Council Claims Of Lower Staff Numbers Smoke And Mirrors

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COUNCIL CLAIMS OF LOWER STAFF NUMBERS SMOKE AND MIRRORS

MONDAY 14 SEPTEMBER 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance has released an Auckland Council document which appears to contradict recent public statements by Council officials relating to the number of FTE staff at Auckland Council.

On Thursday, Kevin Ramsay, the Council’s General Manager Finance announced that despite the Council having hired 208 more full-time equivalent staff last year, total staff numbers were still around 230 fewer than the sum of the legacy councils, which were amalgamated five years ago.

The Council document released by the Ratepayers' Alliance dated 27 August 2015 shows that the total number of FTEs of the legacy councils was 9,430. As at 30 June 2014 (the balance date of Auckland Council's last Annual Report), the Council stated that FTE staff numbers were 9,394. The Council's acknowledgement that FTE numbers have increased by 208 in the last 12 months appears to contradict Mr Ramsay's claim that Council staff numbers are lower now than they were prior to amalgamation.

Jo Holmes, Auckland Ratepayers Alliance spokesperson, says:

“Auckland Council appears to have been caught out spinning its own staff numbers. It tells one thing to ratepayers, while these official documents say quite another."

"Data obtained by the Ratepayers’ Alliance shows that a year ago the Council had only 36 fewer staff than the legacy councils. Now staff numbers have gone up by 208 but the Council would have you believe that it still has fewer staff than in 2010. If you believe that then I’ve got a bridge to sell you.”

“No matter how much Len Brown’s staff spin it, we have clearly reached the point where the Auckland's Super City is larger than the sum of its parts.”

The Council's August document is available on the Ratepayers' Alliance website.

ENDS

 

September 01, 2015

Ratepayers' Alliance Welcome Auckland Transport U-Turn

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RATEPAYERS’ ALLIANCE WELCOME AUCKLAND TRANSPORT U-TURN

TUESDAY 1 SEPTEMBER 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

After raising more than 2,000 signatures in support, the Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance is welcoming Auckland Transport’s decision to waive the 27 tickets it issued to residents of Orakei's narrow Apihai and Tautari streets. The tickets were issued for parking on footpaths in a recent 2am blitz, despite publication of photos showing a Council vehicle breaching the same rules.
 
Jo Holmes, Spokesperson for the Ratepayers’ Alliance, says, “Auckland Transport is finally applying some common sense and we welcome the decision."
 
“Our members were particularly disturbed by the Council’s apparent duplicity in refusing to ticket Council employees for breaking the same rules. Though it’s a small victory, it’s good to see people power can force Auckland Transport’s hand."

ENDS

September 01, 2015

Auckland Council's Transport Levy Porky Revealed

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AUCKLAND COUNCIL'S TRANSPORT LEVY PORKY REVEALED

TUESDAY 1 SEPTEMBER 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The revelation that Auckland Transport has less money for capital works this year, as admitted by its Chief Executive David Warburton today, shows that too much ratepayer money is being wasted by an inefficient Council operation. Jo Holmes, spokesperson for the Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance says:

“On the same day tens of thousands of commuters are in gridlock thanks to Auckland Transport’s failure to protect Tamaki Drive from seasonal flooding, we learn that the transport levy is a fraud. Len Brown said the transport levy was a necessary pain to get Auckland moving. In reality the skyrocketing rates are being soaked up by a bloated Council with high operating and staffing costs."

"It is simply shameful that transport capital expenditure has actually reduced. It’s time the Council got back to basics, slashed its bloated op-ex budgets and spent our money on capital projects which get Auckland moving."

ENDS

August 26, 2015

Len Brown responds to ARA criticism of 2am ticketing blitz

Auckland_Council_parking.jpg

Len Brown has conceded that the Ratepayers’ Alliance characterisation of the 2am ticket blitz in Orakei as “overzealous revenue gathering” was a “fair comment in the sense that it is unusual timing” during an interview with 95bFM this morning.

The 2am ticketing blitz saw residents along Apihai and Tautari streets in Orakei saw 27 residents fined $40 each for parking partly on the footpath.

Both streets are very narrow and residents suggest that parking partly on the footpath is a neighbourhood courtesy to ensure vehicle traffic, including emergency services, can navigate down the streets during the evening.

While the Mayor would not be drawn on whether Auckland Transport officials were wrong to be ticketing residents, he did say “It’s certainly an unusual time for our transport guys to be out and carrying their work in that type of diligent manner”.

Len Brown says he has requested a report of the incident and will look into it further. We’re not holding our breath for any reprieve for these residents, despite the Council itself being caught out a day later committing the exact same infringement on the exact same road.

How’s that for hypocrisy?

You can listen to this portion of Len Brown’s interview with 95bFM below.

 

 

August 25, 2015

Do as Council says, not as they do (again)

Early morning ticket blitz

You may have seen the media coverage yesterday about the 27 people who woke up last week to tickets from Auckland Transport for parking on the kerb after a 2am blitz along Apahai and Tautari streets in Orakei.

By coincidence, Carmel, our volunteers coordinator knows the streets well. Her son flats on Tautari Street (he didn’t receive a ticket, though several of his flatmates did). Both streets are very narrow and if residents park on the street, it would be impossible to get any vehicles or emergency services past the parked vehicles. Parking on the curb has happened for years – it’s common sense – not that it matters to the Council.

Auckland Transport has tried to defend its actions. Apparently vehicles obstructing pedestrians using the footpaths are a big problem at 2 in the morning.

Yesterday I joined RadioLIVE’s Ali Mau and Willie Jackson to discuss the Council’s approach (click here for audio on demand).

Do as Council says - not as they do

Council employee caught outSo it came as no surprise today to learn that even the Council’s employees are parking on the kerb in the same area – only they don’t get a ticket. This afternoon the Herald published a photograph taken by an eagle-eyed resident of one of the Council’s very own cars parked half-on the footpath during the middle day.

Len_Brown.jpgThis isn’t the first time photographic evidence of hypocrisy has been ignored. Auckland Transport refused to ticket Len Brown when he was snapped parking over a cycle lane last month. It’s time we had a Council culture that served ratepayers, not lorded over them with this sort of arrogance.

We’re backing those who got the tickets – and have launched a petition calling on the Council to either abandon it’s hard-nosed approach and cancel the 27 tickets. Please take a moment to sign the petition by clicking here.

August 25, 2015

Surprise Surprise: Auckland Council Break Own Rules (Again)

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SURPRISE SURPRISE: AUCKLAND COUNCIL BREAK OWN RULES (AGAIN)

TUESDAY 25 AUGUST 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance is repeating calls to let-off the 27 residents of Orakei's Apihai and Tautari streets which were ticketed in a 2am blitz last week for parking on footpaths. The renewed call comes after today’s release of a photoshowing an Auckland Council vehicle breaching the same rule in the one of the same streets. Carmel Claridge, a spokesperson for the Ratepayers’ Alliance, says:

“This is a case of the Council’s 'do as I say, not as I do' attitude. Despite the Council's own staff demonstrating that parking on the kerb in these very narrow streets is common sense, the Council still won’t budge and let-off the people it ticketed. It is arrogant in the extreme.”

“We’ve spoken to one of Auckland Transport’s spin doctors and asked whether the Council employee will also be ticketed. The answer is no. Incredibly we were told that one of the reasons is that photos are able to be doctored but even if the employee admits to the offence, Auckland Transport still won’t ticket the Council employee.”

“This isn’t the first time photographic evidence of hypocrisy has been ignored. The Council refused to ticket Len Brown when he was snapped parking over a cycle lane last month. It’s time we had a Council culture that served ratepayers, not lorded over them with this sort of arrogance."

ENDS

August 02, 2015

2am Ticket Blitz Shows Lack Of Common Sense And Blatant Revenue Gathering

 

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2AM TICKET BLITZ SHOWS LACK OF COMMON SENSE AND BLATANT REVENUE GATHERING

SATURDAY 2 AUGUST 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance is backing residents of two narrow Auckland streets in their criticism of Auckland Council parking wardens who fined 27 residents in a 2am blitz on cars with two wheels on the curb. Carmel Claridge, a spokesperson for the Ratepayers’ Alliance says:
 
"My son is one of the affected residents on Tautari Street. If residents followed Auckland Transport’s rules, the road would be impossible to pass. Ticketing 27 cars at 2am on a quiet residential street isn’t about public order, it’s Auckland Transport being over zealous and revenue gathering."
 
“The trouble with Auckland Council is its choice to apply blanket rules rather than common sense. Here a community have done the right thing by parking on the curb to allow unimpeded access and reduce the hazard. Rather than let them be, the Council swans in with its ‘we know best’ attitude."

ENDS

 

July 31, 2015

Job Well Done? Councillors Set To Pocket Pay Rise

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JOB WELL DONE? COUNCILLORS SET TO POCKET PAY RISE

FRIDAY 31 JULY 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Responding to the report that Auckland’s Councillors and Mayor Len Brown look set for a 2.3 per cent pay increase, just days after voting to increase the average rates burden by 9.9 per cent, Ratepayers’ Alliance spokesperson, Carmel Claridge, says:

“This is an insult to Aucklanders who are suffering under a completely unjustifiable rates burden. At a time when Aucklanders are having to go without in order to meet this increase, the Remuneration Authority seem to want to congratulate councillors on a job well done.”

“In what other organisation would you give a pay rise to bosses who have blown out the budget and left the public picking up the pieces?”

"With his shattered promise to keep rates rises to 2.5%, Len Brown should turn down this pay rise."

ENDS

July 20, 2015

Auckland Transport Hike Parking Rates, But Councillors Get It For Free

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AUCKLAND TRANSPORT HIKE PARKING RATES, BUT COUNCILLORS GET IT FOR FREE

MONDAY 20 JULY 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The Auckland Ratepayers Alliance can reveal that Auckland Council has allocated 51private car parks worth more than $250,000 so that Councillors and senior officials can can avoid the Councils own 40 to 50 per cent hike in parking charges which comes into effect next month.

Documents, available on the Ratepayers’ Alliance website, show that elected officials and 30 other staff members are entitled to a car park which the Council estimates to be worth $4,920 each. From next month it will cost $24 to park all day at the council's three central city buildings at Downtown, the Civic and Victoria Street.

Ratepayers’ Alliance spokesperson, Jo Holmes, says:

“High rates, the new transport levy, and now a 50 per cent increase in the cost of parking – when will the Council get off Aucklanders' backs? Worse, While they tell everyone else to take the bus, Councillors feather their own nests by buying private parking spaces."

“In October last year, Auckland Transport abolished early-bird off-street car parking as they claimed it was subsiding commuter car travel into the city centre. In addition, the Council has now decided to hike parking charged by between 40 and 50 per cent in the Council-own car parks."

“While Aucklanders have to pay top dollar to get parking in Auckland, Councillors and thirty Council bigwigs have free parking on the ratepayer. This is a clear case of do as I say, not as I do."

ENDS