Civil Defence and $6m Mistake


The Meeting commenced at 6.30 pm. I did not get to speak in Public Forum until 8.30 pm.


ADDRESS TO Henderson Massey Local Board 7th April 2011


Madam Chair, Ladies and Gentlemen.


One thing we learn from history is that we don’t learn anything from history.


I wish to briefly mention Civil Defence.

During the last week of January this year the North West Motorway was flooded between Patiki Rd and Pt Chevalier on a Sunday. Unfortunately no signs were put out at the Te Atatu motorway onramps and the ensuing traffic chaos was horrific. It took me an hour and a half to get from the Te Atatu Rd onramp to Patiki Rd.

After the second major Christchurch earthquake I reviewed my own knowledge of emergency procedures and rang Auckland Council to find out where my nearest report centre was in the case of an emergency. I was told there wasn’t one although I had always believed it to be Te Atatu Peninsula library – a most inappropriate place for people living in Te Atatu South.

On 10th March I sent an email to my two Local Board Civil Defence spokespeople asking 4 questions.

Yesterday I rang 3010101 and asked to speak to the person in charge of Civil Defence. I was asked what it was about, to which I replied “Civil Defence.” There was the usual two or three minutes of canned music before another lady came to the phone and I asked if she was in charge of Civil Defence. When she said she was not, I asked who was. She replied “Clive Manley.” I said I would like to speak to him. She said he was in a meeting. I pointed out I was awaiting answers to questions on Civil Defence. At 4 pm I got my answers by email from Erin Ralston.

Q 1 Who is responsible for the management of such situations?

A    The Agency responsible is New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA). The NZ Police manage closures or restrictions on their behalf.

Q 2 How much money has the Auckland region spent on Civil Defence in the past 12 months?

A    The Civil Defence Department is a new department of the Auckland Council that took effect on 1 November 2010, an amalgamation of CD departments from 8 Councils. Expenditure from November 2010 to February 2011 is $1.187m.

Q 3  Will Report  centres be set up for the Te Atatu region?

A     All State Primary Schools are Reporting Centres. In Te Atatu the State Primary Schools are:

  • Tirimoana Primary School
  • Rutherford Primary School
  • Matipo Primary School

Q 4   If so, when?

A      They are already set up and signposted.


It seems to me too often ratepayers fund the setting up of departments which spend a lot of time on rhetoric, PR and committee meetings whilst the fundamentals have been overlooked.


At this stage the Board Chair, Vanessa Neeson refused to let me present my comments on the Film Studios but here are the comments I would have made.


Now to the Film Studios.

The first Receivers’ Report for Tony Tay Film Ltd (the majority shareholder in Auckland Film Studios Ltd) dated 31 March 2011 contained a glaring error.

On Tuesday 5th April I rang the Receivers and pointed out the Estimated Statement of Affairs claimed estimated realisable investment assets from Tony Tay Film Ltd were $10.1m yet the Board meeting of Auckland Council Investments on 2nd March had recorded the Council’s share of its investment in AFSL as $3.3m.

I received an email this afternoon acknowledging the figure of $10.1m should, in fact, be $4.4m —- a $6m mistake!

It also happens that the two receivers, Anthony John McCullagh and Stephen Mark Lawrence of PKF Corporate Recovery & Insolvency (Auckland) Limited were appointed to the Board of AFSL on 28 February. They should therefore have been capable of producing accurate figures one month later.

In this morning’s Herald under the heading “Fletcher wants fresh look at $325m scheme” it says the former mayor is worried about risks of proposed northern development project. I totally endorse her sentiments.

Too often multi-million dollar Council projects are fast-tracked with little or no information for the pocket-picked ratepayers.

When I have observed the precipitant ratification by Councillors of documentation provided by Council officers I have often been reminded of that old TV series which ran from 1986 to 88 entitled “Sledgehammer” “Trust me  I know what I’m doing.”

When the Government and WCC fast-tracked the Sovereign Yachts deal in November 2002 one perspicacious ratepayer attacked the project as a sham shielding a landgrab.

Sovereign Yachts went under last year to the tune of $6m. That perspicacious ratepayer was Brian Neeson.

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