Recently on the Kapiti Coast Facebook page, Cr Cootes of Otaki sought to justify Mr Dougherty’s 6% rates increase to pay his growing army of desk bureaucrats by stating that councils now need to do things that they didn’t in the past:

“As a Council we are currently required by Central Government to do the following.

Earthquake Prone Building Assessments
Pscyho-Active Substances Bylaw
Coastal Erosion – Sea Level Rising
National Policy Statement on Urban Housing
National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management
Bylaw for Sunday Trading
Predator Free
just to name a few”

The coastal erosion issue isn’t new; there is this webpage about the failure of the seawall at Paekakariki and Raumati in 1976 and its fixing. What is relatively recent is the frequency and violence of extreme weather events.  Last year this Joel Maxwell story reported on the KCDC spending “more than $123,000” on trucking 180 container loads of sand to replace sand on Paraparaumu beach washed out into the sea; only for that sand to be washed away in turn!

We’re now told the council is now going to spend $11 million on a new seawall; and with that sort of money involved they need to get it right — the people aren’t going to tolerate yet another expensive white elephant.

Earthquake prone buildings: OK, but why hasn’t Wellington City needed to recruit a whole lot more staff?  Presumably this is pretty much a one-off anyway.

The same response can be given to the other topics.

One area in which a little concession can be made to Cr Cootes’ argument is on roads: the central government has increased the maximum truck weight allowed on the country’s roads and its certain that they won’t just be running over the State Highways paid for by the NZTA.  Big trucks cause most of road wear and tear: for example, we have been told that one logging truck causes the same deterioration of 200,000 cars: whether or not that particular figure is the case, it’s certainly true that the road damage factor increases not proportionately but exponentially with increased vehicle weight.  Councils should get a proportion of the road user charges the central government collects.

Otherwise, a detailed scrutiny is required on what and with who the KCDC spends tens of millions of dollars each year.  Just yesterday the Dominion Post quoted Mayor Guru as saying that the KCDC had so far spent $15,000 on the Osbournes’ hedge — doing what, examining plans? Oh, of course, silly us — on the Auckland-based consultants.

And the article cites the council’s quote of $82,000 for a proposal that involved moving the kerb and channel on the southern side of Te Moana Rd two metres north.  Mr Osbourne says the work could be done for $20,000 and he was prepared to pay for it.  Enough said?