Address to Henderson-Massey Local Board 6 December 2012
Madam Chair, Ladies and Gentlemen
From Day 1, 20 September 2011, when many affected property owners in Te Atatu South learned for the first time they were about to lose parts of their properties, the paucity of reliable information has been disgraceful. Originally 40% of the intended acquisitions by Auckland Transport were outside the designations in the District Plan. This was of no concern to the Chief Planner for Auckland Council, Roger Blakeley, yet the on-again off-again advice some homeowners have received regarding the intended take of their properties has turned their lives upside down.
The first two offers received by TPOG members for their front yards were $12,000 each but six months later the same valuer employed by AT suggested a fair market offer of $20,000 each. Amazing, when we find $12,300 was spent arguing about cutting a single branch from a tree in Piha with another $8,000 or so of intended expenditure before a cut to the branch put a halt to any further expenditure of ratepayer money.
A month ago I put 9 questions to this Board. On 29 November I was informed by your Board Chair only two could be answered by the Board and she was still awaiting replies to the others from AT.
I asked if this Board felt it had been adequately kept up to date on this project. You have all seen your Chair’s reply. “It has been adequate for our non-decision making role.” My other question asking if the Board was aware of the budget was because contradictory figures have been published. In July AT advised the Western Leader the budget was $24.8m yet the aggregate of figures in the 2011/2012 Annual Plan $5.067m, and the Long Term Plan 2012/13 $6.455m, 2013/14 $5.261m, 2014/15 $6.163m, 2015/16 $4.743m comes to $27.689m. I had hoped by putting questions to my Board I would not have to await a dinosaurial response from AT but it appears it has made little difference. I would appreciate it if the Board could chase that matter up.
The day after I spoke to this Board, Michael Riley from Auckland Transport wrote an accusatory, desultory, insinuating letter to me that was an affront to democracy. I drew that letter and my response to it, to the attention of all of you via my blog. A complaint to the CEO, David Warburton, brought a dismissive response and his comment that he considers the matter closed. I do not, and have referred it to my lawyer and the Chairman of the Board, Lester Levy.
One of the questions I asked last month was “When and how does the HMLB intend informing affected property owners of its Community Advocate proposal?” I note this was first mooted on 18 October. I was pleased to see on the Agenda for tonight as I browsed it at 9.30 am this morning there would be an update on the “Te Atatu Corridor Improvement Project”. However, I was displeased to see it would be verbal.
I was even further displeased when your Board Chair told me at 9.45 am this morning the update would be deferred. As at 6 pm tonight on p7 of the Addendum Agenda Item 6 still states “A verbal update will be given at the meeting.”
I beseech this Board, in future, to insist that the public gets published notice of any eleventh hour deferrals.
I would also ask this Board to insist that future reports from Auckland Transport be in writing.
I beseech this Board to go the extra mile in asking hard questions about things that affect the Local Community, and to insist on timely, appropriate answers. Until that happens I do not believe this Board has acted as an effective advocate on behalf of me or my fellow ratepayers in the Local Community.