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Friday, 20 February 2009

ARC'S BENT BUDGET FOR BECKHAM

The Auckland Regional Council's gamble with ratepayers' money on soccer star David Beckham's New Zealand fizzer, which lost it $1.79 million, is being exposed as a nasty little sty of corruption. Is Auckland Regional Council as shonky as Auckland City Council?

May the Almighty free the Hauraki Gulf Islands from both of them and transfer us ASAP to Thames-Coromandel District Council and Environment Waikato! Surely the Local Government Commission cannot decide otherwise. Thames-Coromandel and EW are councils that stick to the basics, stick to the law and do a good job. They do not get above themselves and behave as if they are Lord High Everything.

Here is New Zealand Herald's take on the story. And Stuff NZ's.

There was also ARC's big $8-million wastage a few years back on its contract with EDS for a billing system. It had been sending its rates bills inexpensively by adding a line or two to the rates bills of all the district councils. Then it decided to get its own computer empire, so it signed a three-year contract for $11 million with EDS. A comprehensive analysis showed that if it had gone elsewhere and not used an obsolete empire like EDS it could have got the same thing for $3 million. It's only your money, folks. ARC's chairman Mike Lee kept very quiet about that one. (Now the Auditor-General's office is going to take a look at it.)

With that sort of thing going on, the so-called Super City is more likely to be Shonky City. The elected part of ARC has obviously not been keeping a good enough watch on the employed part. The latter is given far too much leeway.

But for John Banks to come over all smug and holier-than-thou shows how out of touch he is with David Rankin's inept empire. Handing him authority to spend up to $4 million over his own signature, as ACC has just done, is putting temptation in the way of incompetence and inviting yet more nasty shemozzles to the city's doorstep.