Lee should resign

July 20th, 2016 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

An Auckland councillor is using money from his own back pocket to take to the airwaves and criticise the decision to drop trains to the airport.

Last Wednesday and Thursday, Councillor Mike Lee’s 30 second radio commercial aired across five stations all owned by NZME.

Lee, who sits on the board of Auckland Transport, says in the commercial that rail to the airport has long been a priority for the city with a “longstanding commitment to route protection”.

However, last month the boards of Auckland Transport and the New Zealand Transport Agency voted to eliminate it as an option in favour of light rail or a bus option.

This is a disgraceful move by Lee and he should resign off the board of Auckland Transport immediately.

It is untenable to have a company director run advertisements attacking the company he is a director of.

If Lee was not on the board of Auckland Transport, then as a Councillor he can of course criticise their decisions. But as he is also on the board, he can not. If as a director you feel so strongly the board has made the wrong decision, you resign.

It is untenable to be on the board of a company and run advertisements attacking it. The Council should sack him immediately from the board.

Hosking on POAL

January 16th, 2012 at 9:27 am by David Farrar

Mike Hosking’s editorial:

In a way, you can’t blame the wharfies for putting up the fight they are at the Ports of Auckland. I mean if you were being paid to do nothing, you would be looking to hang on to the deal, wouldn’t you?

Eight hours pay, three hours work – good on them for getting the deal. God only knows who was thick enough to sign it off, but the game’s up. The port is lacklustre. it’s losing business and money to other ports. Its reputation isn’t flash and at long last they’re looking to get things tidied up.

What a good summary.

The wharfies have lost. They don’t have the support of the company, of the council which owns them, they certainly don’t have the support of the Auckland ratepayers who are watching a company they own get destroyed, and they don’t have the support of the wider public. Through all the bluster and hot air and jibes at management pulled directly out of Arthur Scargill’s handbook on how to run a class ridden industrial dispute, they have been seen for what they are – a fiefdom on a deal from another age refusing to be realistic.

Even Len Brown doesn’t back them. The man who took their money to get elelcted sees it for what it is. He should have been playing a far greater role before it ever got to the state it’s in. Ports of Auckland is a major company with a major contribution to the economy of the biggest city in the country and it’s operating in a time warp. Business is leaving – Maersk has walked, Fonterra’s gone.

This even goes beyond Auckland. Reducing freight costs through more efficient ports and the like has benefits for all of New Zealand, especially exporters.

Where’s the council? The owners? The representatives of all the rate payers who have a stake in the business? The dividends are a joke compared to Tauranga. Do they think the port is a welfare scheme? A jobs programme? Why aren’t they demanding better performance and better returns? The answer is there – lay them off. Too many strikes, too many lock outs, too much disruption. Get rid of them and find some people that actually want to do the job.

We must thank Mike Lee for buying out the minority private sector answers, so ratepayers would be the only ones having to tolerate a return of just 2% on capital.

Is this why Len won’t back his board?

January 8th, 2012 at 12:18 pm by David Farrar

You’re the Mayor of Auckland and one of your largest commercial facilities in paralysed with industrial action. Even worse, it is a facility owned by your Council.

Over several weeks you have seen Auckland’s economy get battered after first Maersk and now Fonterra announce they are abandoning Auckland for Tauranga and Napier, due to the militant industrial action taken by the Maritime union.

So it should be a no-brainer to come out publicly and lean on the Maritime Union to stop driving businesses away from Auckland. I mean ever Wellington’s Celia Wade-Brown stood up for the wellington creative industries when a militant union looked set to destroy them.

So why has Len been so silent and non-commital? It didn’t make sense.

Well it didn’t, until I read at Whale Oil that the Maritime Union was one of Len’s donors. They also donated to Mike Lee.

I guess that was one of their better investments.

Supporting Len

November 10th, 2010 at 11:44 am by David Farrar

Bernard Orsman writes in the Herald:

The Super City is only 10 days old, but councillor George Wood has spat the dummy about the relatively minor job given to him by Mayor Len Brown.

The former North Shore Mayor and senior policeman said he was “somewhat deflated” to be told by Mr Brown he would chair the community safety forum when he wanted a public transport role.

He wondered if he was being sidelined for going public on the “crummy levels of public transport” in Otara – launching pad for the political career of Mr Brown. the the former Manukau Mayor.

Well I doubt that helped.

When Mr Brown assigned committee jobs, the five C&R councillors missed out on top roles. Mr Wood, whose ticket has questioned the affordability of Mr Brown’s rail projects, was overlooked for the top transport job.

The job went to former Auckland Regional Council chairman Mike Lee, whose number one priority is to “support the mayor in expanding rail as soon as possible”.

Yesterday, Mr Wood acknowledged his position on public transport probably contributed to him missing a senior transport role, although all was not lost. The mayor has since said all councillors could be members of the transport committee.

While I think Len’s transport plans are going to cost Aucklanders a huge amount of money, they are what Auckland voted for. It is not unreasonable that the Mayor will want a chair who is fully supportive of his policy, rather than one who campaigned against it.

Add to the fact that Mike Lee’s background as ARC Chair makes him very experienced in the transport area, and I don’t think one can fairly criticise Len’s decisions. Again, this is not to say I agree with his transport priorities but as Mayor he should be able to select a chair who will back him fully.

The intolerance of the doomsayers

July 14th, 2009 at 10:16 am by David Farrar

I personally believe that the IPCC is basically right with its conclusions that, if nothing else changes, ever increasing levels of greenhouse gases will lead to a rise in global temperatures. It is pretty basic science.

I think there is uncertainty about the “if nothing else changes” because we don’t know for sure how the rest of the climate system reacts to the increased warming from greenhouse gases – does it exacerbate the problem (as IPCC thinks) or does it mitigate the problem (as some believe). On issues such as this, there is little hard data – it is mainly forecasts and theories.

Overall I think prudent steps to reduce emissions is sensible. However the notion that if we do not act with a few years the world is doomed is hysterical scaremongering – the IPCC itself forecasts an increase in sea levels by 2100 of only 19 to 69 cm.

The Herald reported on a recent consultation meeting on what our emissions target should be. And I just detest those who try and demonise those with a contrary viewpoint. It is like modern day witch burnings – but without the fire.

In another moment of silliness, electricity consultant Brian Leyland – seemingly the only climate change sceptic in the room – was heckled by Mr Lee, the man who was supposed to be keeping the meeting in order. “We have a flat earther here,” he joked.

Great. The so called neutral chairman insults and denigrates someone who has taken the time to turn up and have their say. What fucking arrogance.

For a minute it seemed Mr Leyland might have a saviour – climate scientist Jim Salinger protested that the sceptic should be given his chance to speak.

But seconds later Dr Salinger, too, put the boot in, comparing his opponent to a Holocaust denier. “And I can say that because of my ethnicity.”

No you can’t. You should be ashamed of yourself to compare someone debating forecasts and predictions of future climate change, to neo-Nazi racist hate filled Holocaust deniers. If you do not know the difference between a massively well documented and witnessed historical event, and forecasts and predictions of future change, then you are stupid or malicious.

Most people in the packed meeting room at the Hyatt Regency hotel had turned up to say they supported Greenpeace’s target of cutting emissions 40 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020 – likely to be considerably bolder than what the Government ultimately commits the country to.

Of course the Government will not commit to 40% by 2020 – they are not suicidal. This is barely ten years away, and as we are already 20% or so over 1990 levels, it is really calling for a halving in a decade.

Now half of our emissions come from agriculture. So if a Government was stupid enough to sign up to 40% reduction by 2020, it would either need to totally eliminate agricultural emissions (which can only be achieved by shooting every cow in NZ) or totally eliminate non-agricultural emissions – yes in just a decade every power source that emits carbon would need to be replaced. Or some combination of the two.

You think 8% unemployment is tough. You just try and reduce our emissions by 50% in a decade. And think how proud we will be with 20% unemployment but hey we reduced our contribution to global emissions from 0.2% to 0.1%. But in the meantime China (which will not sign any reduction agreement) has doubled its emissions. I would have to check but I think the weekly growth in China’s emissions is more than our 50% reduction would be.

Again, I support reducing our emissions – both for reasons of trade, but also to contribute to reducing global emissions. But the 40% target by 2020 is simply not achievable without a huge reduction in output – or in other words a massive reduction in income levels and employment.

Mayor of Auckland

March 28th, 2009 at 11:36 am by David Farrar

The Herald rates the chances of potential contenders for the Mayoralty of Auckland (assuming the Government adopts the key recommendations):

They are:

  1. John Banks – the front runner
  2. Len Brown – good to very good
  3. Mike Lee – good
  4. Bob Harvey – average to good
  5. Paul Holmes – average
  6. Peter Leitch – poor to average
  7. Andrew Williams – poor
  8. Judith Tizard – poor
  9. Blair Strang – dead on arrival

I have not read the full report yet. It will be interesting if the vote for the Mayor is FPP or STV.