Funds for the Auckland Council to deal with our region’s transport congestion and stormwater troubles can be made available at the stroke of a pen if the council is ready to take urgent action.
This is clear from a solution put forward by the chief executive of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce, Michael Barnett.
Barnett’s solution is a comparatively simple one that involves taking our water and wastewater supplier, Watercare Services, out of council ownership and using the proceeds of a share sale to finance multi-billion dollar transport and stormwater solutions.
He does, in my opinion go a step too far, however, by advocating for private investors to come in and have the water company listed on the stock exchange.
The NZ Super Fund and ACC have both indicated a desire to invest in utility operators. Why not get them to come in? The council would keep a significant shareholding to give voice to Auckland’s community interest.
That’s a pretty good idea. The Auckland Council needs to accept that it needs to free up capital for investment. This is a much better idea than taking on more debt.