What economic policy? Council committee fails to get quorum

Auckland Council’s economic development committee just managed to get a quorum for its last meeting, but failed to do so today.

With a quorum of 6, it managed to rustle up only 3 of its members – deputy chairman Ross Clow and councillors Linda Cooper & Penny Webster.

The economic development role was left to a forum in the council’s first term, when forums were set up as places to engender ideas. However, they often veered to the formal ticking off of business, even though they needed to report to a higher tier of committees.

For this term of the council, the forums were dropped but some committees, such as economic development, are still required to make recommendations (in this case to the regional policy & strategy committee) rather than decisions in their own right.

Without any riveting business, there is therefore good reason to stay away.

However, today’s business included a presentation by members of Le Pasifika Village Park project seeking council support for a land occupancy agreement while they seek a longer-term solution for their cultural tourism project.

It also included a presentation from Comet Auckland – originally the City of Manukau Education Trust, now an Auckland Council-controlled organisation & charitable trust, and the kind of outfit the council needs to foster its Southern Initiative policy of raising South Auckland’s educational aspirations & standards and economic strength is ever to be taken seriously.

Comet Auckland’s budget has been halved.

The last item for today’s canned agenda was on economic development activity in the wake of a review of the chief planning officer’s division of the council.

Leady strategy advisor Wayne Brown was to have made a presentation on implications arising from the review for economic development activity and the distribution of the former teams of the council’s economic development department.

Some committee members were unable to attend because they were on other council business. But these matters before the committee were either of minor importance, or the council needs to rethink how it manages work on economic policy & strategy.

Or – the alternative which would garner greatest support – the council needs to:

  • shrink its committee structure
  • shrink its business coverage
  • concentrate on the big picture, and
  • shift business to the local boards and revise its basis for funding them to a mechanism which is no longer an uncertain handout

And, while it’s about that, the council needs to:

  • rethink rates as an income source
  • talk to ratepayers about how development authorities & alternative funding structures might work, and
  • set a rates policy which doesn’t include an assumption of automatic rises.

Attribution: Council committee meeting & agenda.

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5 Responses to What economic policy? Council committee fails to get quorum

  1. Mike Going Wednesday 19 November 2014 at 1.44pm #

    Brown needs to go!
    The City Council is an organisational embarrassment.
    How long can this type management behaviour be tolerated?
    Spending countless dollars on foot paths and curbing while planning a railway tunnel that does support the commercial or other transport needs of this City are just two of the many examples that make most citizens’ blood boil.
    This story certainly reflects the ineptitude of the Economic Development Committee and its role in misspending the rate payers funds.

  2. Bob Dey Wednesday 19 November 2014 at 2.09pm #

    Hi Mike, I think you missed a ‘not’ before support. I’m not sure what building footpaths has to do with the overall economic management point. As for the tunnel, if you’ve travelled on an Auckland motorway lately, what would you suggest as an alternative to taking up to 100% longer on standard journeys if not some form of off-road option?

  3. Ben Wednesday 19 November 2014 at 9.18pm #

    Well Bob you know I tried last month at the Auckland Development Committee to get Council going on enhancing the upcoming Development Authority, as well as one method of alternative funding especially for transport projects. But I might as well have talked to a wall with this current Council’s total inaction and lack of will power to get outside the box to get Auckland going.

    By the way where did your Auckland Development Committee October commentary post go? Can’t find it and the link I did have is now 404ing on me.

    • Bob Dey Wednesday 19 November 2014 at 11.31pm #

      It’s among about 50 stories I still need to reload after my meltdown 10 days ago, probably back up at the weekend. And the link will be a new one, unfortunately.

  4. David Thornton Saturday 22 November 2014 at 11.50am #

    Comments on rates are spot on. I also agree with your comments on committee structure which I am sure has been designed to keep councillors busy on minor matters and, thus, unable to spend quality time on major budget items. They also seem to have no time to work constructively with the Local Boards. All together the current picture is one of a Council in Chaos – and a Mayor who has lost the plot!

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