No new council chamber in budget round

A secret plan to give Auckland councillors a new Albert St multi-million dollar chamber has been quickly quashed.

A secret plan to give Auckland councillors a new Albert St multi-million dollar chamber has been quickly quashed. 

Councillors were given a confidential briefing in December about building a new chamber so they wouldn’t have to walk 400 metres from their offices at the 29-level Albert Street administration tower to the Auckland Town Hall. 

The officer briefing was requested by councillors who asked for options to “improve councillor and public experience” by building a new chamber in the Albert St building understood to cost $1-3 million. 

Full council meetings are held in the town hall’s reception lounge and a council spokesman confirmed the meeting went ahead but says no new funding was asked for and no decisions have been made or requested. Any formal funding would need to form part of future budget rounds.

The council doesn’t have a political or capital mandate to push through discretionary projects, such as a new chamber and in light of the marathon debate on the Long Term Plan and expected backlash on a 9.9% average rate rise, few councillors would want to do anything. 

The Auckland Ratepayers Alliance, which spilled the beans, says the council acts as if it has more money than sense as there is nothing wrong with the existing chamber. 

The council has eight chambers between Orewa and Pukekohe from legacy councils, mostly not utilised apart from the occasional meeting. The former administration office at Mayoral Drive and the mayor’s former offices in the town hall lie empty. 

There is no word yet on when the old administration building will be sold. 

The council bought the former ASB Tower on Albert Street for its new administration headquarters in 2012 for $104 million. 

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