With the lead up to Auckland Super City we were promised accountability, transparency and cost efficiency.
Having seen debt escalate 10-fold in Waitakere City, where I was a ratepayer, from $64million in 2000 to $640million in 2010, I was prepared to adopt a wait, hope and see attitude before passing judgment on the delivery. Five and a half years later I am appalled.
As to the CCO’s, Council Controlled Organisations is a complete misnomer. The bulk of rates goes to these organisations owned by ratepayers yet they treat ratepayers with contempt. I understand elected representatives fare little better. Look at the recent Port of Auckland fiasco.
In particular I wish to look at Auckland Transport. Yesterday it was revealed “The Serious Fraud Office has confirmed it has laid charges following an investigation into fraud allegations involving individuals connected to Auckland Transport.” For a brief history leading up to this let’s consider the following:
8 September 2013 NZ Herald announced an Auckland Transport manager had been sacked after running a private consultancy while raking in a ratepayer-funded salary.
11 October 2013 The Serious Fraud Office confirmed an investigation into individuals at Auckland Transport.
17 August 2014 NZ Herald reported “Auckland transport is pursuing tens of thousands of dollars in disputed payments after a long-running investigation.” “Senior managers, Murray Noone and Barry George, left Auckland Transport as the Serious Fraud Office also launched an investigation.”
I’m afraid this is just the thin edge of the wedge. Ratepayers’ attempts to raise concerns with CCO’s or Council itself, for that matter are either blocked or treated with disdain. I’m not sure that Councillors fare any better themselves when dealing with CCO’s. They are merely shut out of the loop as evidenced in the recent Port of Auckland fiasco.
It’s high time we saw delivery, not just rhetoric on the aims espoused for a Super City. If we don’t, the rorts, like the debt, will continually compound.