I was flabbergasted when I received a letter dated 16th March by surface mail on 18th March from Wendy Brandon. It refused every aspect of my LGOIMA request but did not specify the reason for each of the 9 individual refusals. I lodged a complaint with the Ombudsmen on 20th March.
I then read in the Western Leader on 24th March that the mayor’s vision of Auckland as “the most liveable city in the world” included “A northwestern opportunity area with wineries and eco-tourism, a high-tech innovation centre in Albany, and marine and film industries in west Auckland.”
I sought further information and would suggest all ratepayers should view
The document states “We want to hear what you think.” Ah yes I thought but do you want to do what we want you to do?
On p28 Section 67 states “The Mayor and Councillors propose this big picture approach to focus the decisions and actions for the Auckland Plan on our three comparative advantages.”
Section 65 states “There is a North Western Opportunity Area with the location of marine and film industries which can be an innovation area for Auckland.” It then goes on to say “This area can contribute to being a base to enable Auckland’s marine and film sectors to be global scale industries providing high-quality jobs.”
Ideas pushed by Bob Harvey a decade ago can hardly now be classed as innovation.
When the Government of the day decided to close the Hobsonville airbase in 2000, a Mayoral taskforce was set up to create a vision for the base’s future. In 2001 Hobsonville marine park development was touted as the first revolutionary example of government and business working hand in hand. Since then the marine industry has gone through a myriad of problems which I shall expand upon in a future blog.
Likewise, despite a successful film industry already operating in Waitakere City, Bob Harvey’s vision of making Waitakere the Hollywood of the South Pacific commenced with the acquisition of the ENZA coolstores in 2002. Unfortunately for ratepayers they were shut out of the accountability process by the Waitakere Councillors of the day making a conscious decision to hold a less than 50% shareholding in the new company to be formed, first voted upon in 2005. It’s bad enough ratepayers being forced to put up venture capital for a non-core business but the lack of transparency gave them little chance of monitoring the progress. Over the last three years the value of Auckland Film Studios Limited has decreased by more than 50% from $14.5m to $7m.
Most “visionaries” are people who fund their ideas with other people’s money. If the vision is a good one the visionary picks up the kudos, if it is bad other people pick up the tab.
Karl Marx was a visionary. His wife died in abject poverty and ill health, yet she came from a wealthy family.
Auckland Council should stick to core services and deliver the accountability, transparency and cost efficiencies we were all promised.