Another Day, Another Council Story

Yep, it’s a bit like shooting fish in a barrel:


House colour stand off-ends in acrimony

By Lauren Preistley

5:30 AM Monday Oct 31, 2011
Julie Cotton says she can't see why the council has made such a big deal over her house being white, especially as there are other white houses in the area. Photo / Natalie Slade


Julie Cotton says she can’t see why the council has made such a big deal over her house being white, especially as there are other white houses in the area. Photo / Natalie Slade

An almost year-long battle between the Auckland Council and the Cotton family over the colour of their 100-year-old dream home has come to an unhappy resolution.

The stand-off began after Julie and Rodney Cotton bought the Epsom heritage villa in January and moved it to a section overlooking Kaipara Harbour.

The villa had been painted white its whole life – a council heritage requirement for a house of that age in Epsom – and the Cottons wanted it to stay that way.

However, shortly after moving it to Tapora, the family were told by a council inspector they had to paint the house one of 50 dark colours, including green, brown, or black.

Rest of Article


The council are just so freaking unhelpful it’s not funny.  This is a legacy issue from the Rodney council actually.

So I saw this, this morning and then went and dropped my kids off at daycare where I got into a conversation with the owner about her resource consent hassles.  She’s trying shift a couple of houses onto an existing daycare site she owns.  She was hoping to be up and running by Christmas (this has been going on for some time) and she’s now saying her planner is saying she MIGHT have a resource consent approval by March 2012.  Then building consent… then the works… and then she can use the buildings… So maybe a 12 month timeframe for her – actually not too bad for these times.

Council Largesse

Not sure what to make of this guy:

Redman may face claim

By Joanne Carroll

Michael Redman. Photo / Doug Sherring

Michael Redman. Photo / Doug Sherring

The council boss who quit over the V8 debacle that cost $39 million in public money has spoken defiantly after walking out on his job – as it emerged he may be sued for some of the losses.

Michael Redman quit as chief executive of Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development after he was named in an Audit New Zealand report into the V8 Supercars race in Hamilton.

He had previously been mayor and then chief executive of Hamilton City Council.

The report said Redman paid more than $3 million to the creditors of the race promoter under a compensation agreement that was not authorised by councillors.

Redman yesterday told the Herald on Sunday he resigned because of the public reaction to the report which was an “unnecessary distraction for Auckland, a progressive international city”.


Rest of Article

This guy runs the V8 races in Hamilton. The projected cost was $7 million.  It blows out to $39 million.  He then gets a job with Auckland Council running events (how on earth?) and a report comes out about the Hamilton event and places a lot of blame at his feet.

So then, does he admit any fault?  No.  Was he actually at fault?  Well who knows?  The Audit NZ says he is and the Hamilton council might chase him for some money.

Which is the really unbelievable part: Someone in a council position being held accountable for something!

I need to have a lie down after that…


Depression on the Rise

Depression is increasing in NZ and in all westernised countries.  No one is sure why.  But there are many theories.

In NZ, over 500 people a year take their own lives, many of them depression sufferers.  And it’s such a hard thing to understand if you haven’t had it.  And it can be very tricky and complex to treat.


People look well, so understandably, others around them tell them to ‘harden up’ or ‘just get on with it’, but of course this is less than helpful.  These people can’t just put on a smiley face and head out into the world.  Believe me, they want to, but they can’t.

And it’s costing our country a lot of money too…

Depression our big worry

By Kirsty Wynn

5:30 AM Sunday Oct 30, 2011
It's not been easy, but Veronica Linfoot has recovered. Photo / Doug Sherring

It’s not been easy, but Veronica Linfoot has recovered. Photo / Doug Sherring

Depressed and anxious New Zealanders make up the two biggest groups on sickness benefits – higher than those off work for arthritis, heart disease and back injuries combined.

Blam Blam Blam’s classic 1981 song There is No Depression in New Zealand has never been more darkly ironic.

More than 20,000 people are off work for mental health reasons, including stress, according to the latest figures obtained by the Herald on Sunday.

Auckland University psychiatry professor Rob Kydd said depression was the biggest cause of illness worldwide.

Rest of article


Bernard, Bernard…

Bernard Hickey is always an interesting read.  Here’s his latest article in the Herald: Link.

He’s basically whining about how all the baby boomers have run off with all the money, own all the property etc.  I don’t think Bernard actually believe in much that he writes about, he’s mostly writing to create a dialogue.

Here’s my comment I posted on the Herald website:

Dear Bernard,
             I’m sorry house prices didn’t fall 30% like you were hoping.  You didn’t sell your house and rent for a while in the hope that you’d be able to pick up a bargain did you?  That would have been disastrous Lolz!

Blame high house prices on council practices.  Mainly the way they abuse the Resource Management Act.  We’ve made some changes in this area, but the councils like their fees, so they keep sidestepping our new laws.

Basically it’s the government’s job to create a platform for businesses to do well.  The platform was there, did you and your friends take advantage of it? Or just sit around whining about how other people have all the money?

Yes Labour brought in a whole bunch of welfare measures such as interest free student loans, working for families etc.  And yes, we were too afraid to remove or reduce them.  This is because so many people want ‘free’ money from the government that if you threaten to take it away from them, and ask them to be responsible and stand on their own 2 feet, they rebel and vote for another party which will give them all the bread and circuses they desire.

Oh well, hurrah from my nice warm place.

John Key.


Happens All Day Every Day

Saw this in the SideSwipe part of the Herald today:

Pawns in estate agent’s game

Buyer beware … of auctions: “I feel like I’ve been used,” writes a house hunter. “We rather fancied a house up for auction but instinct told us it was out of our league. But the agent assured us that her feedback suggested it was within our disclosed price range of high 4s-low 5s. Hooray! On the day, after a few tired gags from the auctioneer, the auction started. The price soon shot past our top dollar and kept going until it stopped $75,000 over what we were led to believe was a possible (indeed likely) price. I later learned the reserve had been set even higher at $600,000. So after spending a great deal of time and money to be auction-ready we were used like extras to fill up the stage and make the demand look more than it was.”

Here’s the link:


This is standard practice by real estate agents.  The auction process doesn’t work for buyers, works marginally better for vendors, and works REALLY REALLY WELL FOR THE AGENTS!

But until people cotton on to this and decide for themselves not to go down the auction route, this will keep happening.

Rugby World Cup Win

Well it’s so awesome to have some good news finally!

We’ve had the Christchurch earthquakes, the Pike River mine disaster and now the Rena oil spill.

And this on top of a recession and Global Financial Collapse.

I reckon the effect will be a strengthening of the NZ economy.  When the All Blacks win, our business confidence tends to pick up.  And I hope this will happen again.  I reckon it will.

So this can only be good.  We need more people to start up and/or expand businesses and employ more people.  We need wages to rise in this country.  And most of all, we need to pay down debt.

Auckland the World’s Most Liveable City?

Well if you don’t mind sharing a room it is:


Students sharing beds to save cash

By Kirsty Wynn

5:30 AM Sunday Oct 23, 2011

Liane Santoss is one of increasing numbers of students in inner-city Auckland sharing a bed to save money. Photo / Michael Craig

Liane Santoss is one of increasing numbers of students in inner-city Auckland sharing a bed to save money. Photo / Michael Craig

Sharing a room – even a bed – with a complete stranger is one of the ways young people are coping with the rising cost of central Auckland rooms.

Rooms in Auckland’s inner-city have increased by an average of $50 a week in the past six months. The price is now usually upwards of $270 a week. As a result, increasing numbers are choosing to share a room rather than move to the suburbs.

Liane Santoss, 30, came to New Zealand four years ago from Brazil and lives in the city to be close to business school.

To save money, she is now sharing a bed with a new female student from Italy. Both pay $135 a week, all inclusive.

“Sharing is becoming really common in Auckland,” she said. “Most of my friends are sharing rooms to save money.

“Sometimes my flatmate is at her boyfriend’s house and I am away for three nights a week so there are times neither of us is at home.”

Santoss would have never considered sharing in Brazil but said room-share was an easy way to form friendships.

“For people away from their family it is also a nice way to have people around all the time.”

Liane said the Rugby World Cup pushed up prices as fans snapped up apartments that students would have occupied.

“It will be interesting to see if people go back to having their own rooms after the World Cup but I don’t think so. It is a good way to save money.”

But not everyone is comfortable sharing with a stranger.

On one accommodation site, Dunedin students looking for an inner-city apartment in Auckland for the summer found the room-share too much.

“Probably more than half of the ads are looking for someone to share a bedroom,” writes one. “Why do people all want to share bedrooms? Weird.”

By Kirsty Wynn | Email Kirsty

Story Link


This is a symptom of Auckland’s housing shortage.  Yes the Rugby World Cup won’t be helping, but with half the ads wanting someone to share a room, you can’t blame it all on that.

This is a symptom of the Auckland Council restricting land supply and putting all sorts of costs in place for developers.  This is what happens when you charge development contributions, reserve contributions and all sorts of other fees.  And of course councils now delay everything as much as possible too.  And this adds costs.

So the land is dear, and dealing with the council is expensive and tortuous.  So no surprise, it costs a lot of money to build houses or apartments in this city.

Well Len Brown, you airhead, sort this out mate, or you’ll be creating the world’s most UNLIVEABLE city.


Interview in the Radio

Leighton Smith from NewsTalksZB (89.4FM in Auckland) was kind enough to give me some time on his show this morning.

The interveiw went for quite a while, with other people sending in emails etc.  right up until the end of the show.  And he may deal with council stuff again tomorrow.

Here are the before and after photos of the property again as a reminder:










In the ‘finished’ photo at the bottom, you can see the ‘offending’ balconies which are built into the verandah which has been there since 1987.

Too Late Bollard

Allan Bollard is warning against a regulatory overreaction:

Bollard warns against quake ‘over regulation’

9:45 AM Tuesday Oct 18, 2011
New Zealand should avoid costly 'over-regulation' - with increased safety standards coming at a cost - as a response to the Christchurch earthquake, says Reserve  Bank Governor Alan Bollard. Photo / Geoff Sloan

New Zealand should avoid costly ‘over-regulation’ – with increased safety standards coming at a cost – as a response to the Christchurch earthquake, says Reserve Bank Governor Alan Bollard. Photo / Geoff Sloan

New Zealand needs to avoid a costly regulatory over-reaction to the Christchurch earthquakes, though the central bank will intervene in the foreign exchange market if needed in response to a large earthquake in Wellington, said Reserve Bank governor Alan Bollard in a speech.

It would be inappropriate, all things being equal, for monetary policy to be stimulatory during the reconstruction period, Dr Bollard said in a speech to the Rotary Club of Wellington.

Disaster preparedness was necessary and desirable, but not costless, he said.

Increases in safety standards, such as seismic strengthening, can result in significant costs for an economy that linger long after the risks they aim to address have occurred. They can also create a complicated regulatory environment that may result in significant impediments for activity.

“The challenge here will be to avoid a costly regulatory over-reaction to a one-off event,” Bollard said.

Rest of story here

Well, he obviously doesn’t know much about local government.  The councils are already taking steps which go way beyond what is necessary from a safety standpoint.

These earthquakes will cost all commercial property owners a lot of money all over the country.  The council staff will see to that.  And it will all be done in the name of safety.  Common sense will have nothing to do with it.


The $12,000 Water Meter

A person I know well is developing a property in Auckland and has been quoted just under $12,000 to have a water meter connected.

Yep, that’s right.  12 grand.  What sort of development is this you ask?  A large hotel?  An industrial property that might use a lot of water?  A swimming pool complex? No, it’s a small commercial development consisting of a retail shop and warehouse.  The whole property is around 500 square meters in size, has a couple of toilets, a couple of handbasins, and a kitchenette.  It doesn’t even have a shower, so the amount of water being used would be much less than a household.

And how is the 12 grand arrived at? Well they want around $600 to install the meter itself, and the rest is a development contribution.

Almost unbelievable isn’t it? But it’s 100% true.

And this is where things have gotten to in this fair city of ours.  You can’t build anything without paying exorbitant fees to our local government overlords.