Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Saving Auckland’s funds

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After nearly three years of trials, errors, alterations and vehement protestations from locals, the pilot programme of “Safer School Streets” led by Auckland Transport (AT) is finally drawing to a close.

As a local resident and observer of this trial in Sunnyhills, Pakuranga, the experience has been awful, ugly, unnecessary and a massive waste of valuable tax/ratepayer money.

In 30 or 40 years there has never been an accident involving school children in this area.

Despite knowing this, AT went ahead in choosing the local school as a test case, apparently through Sunnyhills Primary showing interest in being a “guinea pig” for such a trial.

This would suggest that while trialling this programme has merit at appropriate places with regard to safety issues, to do so at this site is inane at best. A great example of AT playing to its own agenda with scant regard for local input.

Once the dust has settled and yet another review is conducted, the outcome will conclude the programme to be an unmitigated success in that it will show no accidents or incidents occurred during the term of the trial.

This despite there being no accidents/incidents in the 40 years prior to the trial and at a cost estimated to be between $300,000 to $400,000.

The corollary (God forbid) is also true. Should there be an accident/incident post this experiment, it should be seen for the unfortunate cock-up it is.

The “Safer Schools Programme” is to be rolled out across Auckland based on the findings of this pilot programme.

Apparently there are some 556 schools in Auckland and while some will merit a safety intervention programme, many already have operating plans in place.

If just 20 per cent of schools fell into the above scenario, it would represent a waste of between $33 million and $44m, funds that would go a long way in assisting to ease Auckland’s debt burden.

I should disclose here that I know Mayor Wayne Brown reasonably well and, while he is a very polarising character, his intentions are good and his expertise in identifying waste and extravagance is exceptional.

I hope the above finds its way to his desk and he takes the time to investigate this as another opportunity to stem the tide of wasteful spending.

Bary Williams

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