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Turning tower into a sustainability leader – waste of money

Turning 1990s tower into a sustainability leader – waste of money

“Auckland Council’s purchase of the ASB Tower arguably made some economic sense long-term, but retrofitting this 1990s glass high-rise to become some kind of modern-day sustainability leader is completely unnecessary and unwarranted. In fact it’s just more PC tokenism from this council that the poor old suburban ratepayer has to fund. The timing couldn’t be worse when local board budgets and projects are being slashed and rates are set to soar,” says Auckland Councillor for Orakei, Cameron Brewer.

“What’s more, regarding the $1m identified, I’m completely unconvinced we’ve seen all the costs. I suspect more related expense has been buried in the total refit costs of $24.5m. Nor does it factor in all the staff time to plan and deliver this,” says Mr Brewer in response to his LGOIMA request which has uncovered the million dollar cost of getting the former ASB tower green-star certification as part of its transformation as the council’s new headquarters.

“Green-star is fine for new buildings, and council is in fact now prescribing it, but this is a typical pre-sustainability 1990s tower that ratepayers are now paying to retrospectively make it a green building. It was not required, completely over the top and poorly timed given all the local projects that are getting axed.”

“As for the new electric vehicle charging points, what a joke. One thing’s for sure the Mayor won’t be able to plug in his brand new gas guzzling V6 Holden ratepayers have just bought him. So who will use them?”

“Talking to former ASB executives, they can’t believe council has ripped out many of the existing features of this building which they say had huge money spent on it and was built to last.”

Mr Brewer also believes another cost could’ve been achieved if the Mayor had stayed put.

“In just 22 months the next Mayor of Auckland may want to move back to the historic town hall, where most mayors have resided for over a century, so what a complete waste of money. He should’ve stayed put for the remainder of the term and let the next mayor decide. That would’ve been the responsible right thing to do for ratepayers.

“Staff and councillors were given no choice but to move out. However the Mayor completely decided on his own that he wanted a big flash office, despite paying nearly $100,000 on improving his lovely old office. If he’s running out of room, he probably needs to look at his own staff numbers rather than just putting his hand out again.

“Everyone wants whoever Auckland’s mayor is to have a dignified and befitting office but that is exactly what he had in the historic town hall. It is a very special building built over a century ago with in mind. However sadly some still harbour illusions of grandeur despite soaring rates and debt,” says Mr Brewer.

The million dollar Green Star costs:

• 837,949 on 2443 LED lights

• Greenstar fees $120,750 (excl GST)

• 45 worm composting bins $11,543.48

• Terrace staff garden $17,171

• Fair trade cafeteria (no extra cost)

• Electric vehicle charging points $8,000


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