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The ARC—Where Nothing Glitters

SOLO-NZ Op-Ed: The ARC—Where Nothing Glitters

Philip Duck

December 11, 2008

'The Auckland Regional Council Group (ARC Group) manages the region's air and water quality, its growth and development, regional parks, public transport, the coastal and marine environment, and natural and cultural heritage sites.'

And that's not all! The council also finances … umm … football  matches!

Oh, well done! In a country where most people don't give a tinker's cuss for the beautiful game (that's soccer to you), the council sets out on a madcap scheme to fund a game between the Oceania All Stars and David Beckham's  L.A Galaxy. All, of course, done with ratepayers' money. Sadly, it is no surprise that the dim-witted Regional Council bureaucrats were able to convince the equally brainless bureaucrats at the Auckland City Council to chip in some of their own stash of other people's money to help pay for the venture.

The financial outcome of this rate-payer-funded flutter was, of course, predictable: a great stinking loss of more than $200,000. Congratulations to both councils; probably only a select, stupid few have been unable to make a buck out of 'Golden Balls' Beckham.

Incredibly Auckland City Council events group manager Rachael Dacy has attempted to paint the debacle as a success. It seems she believes that the match gave Aucklanders 'a world-class opportunity' (an opportunity which clearly most declined to take) and showed Auckland as 'being a major events destination' (er, how does a lack of bums on seats at a heavily-promoted event reflect well on Auckland, Rachael?).  

At least Auckland Regional Council chairman Mike Lee has accepted full blame. Extraordinarily, though, he wants to waste more resources on the fiasco by having the Auditor-General carry out an enquiry.  

What the hell for, Chairman Lee? Shelve any further investigation and for Auckland rate-payers' sake learn this lesson: no council has any business being involved in any sort of commercial undertaking. Ever. Neither you nor your staff have the brains to produce a profitable return on an investment. If you could you would be doing it out in the real, productive world. And had you pulled this sort of stunt in the real world, you would either be sacked, or have quit. So, how about it?


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