We have the full list of land and assets that Auckland councils are ditching as they go out of business. You may be the loser, writes John Landrigan.
From Papakura to Rodney, the scramble by outgoing councils to buy and sell is reaching fever pitch.
Residents are questioning why land and assets are being put up for sale and long-deferred projects have suddenly been plucked out of the too-hard basket.
Dennis Brown stands knee-deep in lush grass and looks at a prominent parcel of land being considered for sale in Wellsford.
He believes this property is vital to the growing district but fears it will be sold as councils rush to unload or buy properties before merging in October.
Rodney District Council's "for sale" list includes numerous commercial buildings, shops, houses, sections, quarries, farmlets and four forests.
Mr Brown is most concerned  about the old Atlas site that adjoins Kowhai reserve. "The land is the first thing you see when driving into Warkworth. It connects the showgrounds and was planned to become recreational parkland."
Under an Official Information Request to the Auckland Transition Authority The Aucklander has discovered more council assets are listed for sale and more unscripted purchases planned as an amalgamated Auckland looms.
The authority, set up to steer the transition to a new amalgamated Auckland, is rubberstamping all requests from councils.
Mr Brown's concerns are reinforced by fellow residents, and former and current councillors are calling for a moratorium on sales.
  • Papakura is selling its part-share of inner city mall, Accent Point, which houses the library and museum and buying land near central park.
  • Manukau is buying more than $12 million in Auckland Airport shares. All Aucklanders will apparently benefit from the shares - and carry the debt.
  • Franklin District Council has brought forward several projects worth over $20 million including completion of Pukekohe's wastewater treatment plant.
  • Auckland City is buying eight properties for more than $30.2 million for a park, seven Panmure properties for $46.1 million. It has contracts to sell unspecified "surplus land" and another 12 unnamed properties for "various reasons" for $4.15 million.
  • Auckland Regional Council has taken out a loan of $32 million to pay for a "train set" that previously was to be funded by a now-defunct regional tax.
In recent weeks, The Aucklander has revealed North Shore City's sale of 3.8ha of commercial land in Albany for over $10 million to aid a shopping spree that includes resanding a beach at Little Shoal Bay.

But if you are looking for a bargain you need to go north, says Rodney councillor Pat Delich, who backs Mr Brown's call to stop all asset sales while uncertainty still hovers over the district's future.

The former real estate agent is concerned about the excessive number of sales "sped up" to beat the merger.

Rodney council has begrudgingly released a list of properties for sale but gave only postal addresses - some released well after the sales were completed. The council says the sales are needed to pay ballooning debt. Mr Delich is concerned about the surreptitious nature of the sales.

"All councillors are kept in the dark. They tell us it is commercially sensitive.

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This is a fire sale. They're being sold for less than the purchase price at a time when the market is bad.

"You've got to make a profit when you sell these damn things."

Former councillor Elizabeth Foster says using "commercial sensitivity" to restrict information on Rodney ratepayers' belongings is a nonsense.

"Anyone selling property wants everyone to know to obtain the best price the market can offer. A secret deal with selected bidders will guarantee a lower price as the bidders are aware of limited competition."

Rodney Mayor Penny Webster and chief executive Roger Kerr-Newell were not available for comment.

The full list of decisions rubberstamped by the Auckland Transition Authority can be accessed here:

(Large .pdf file at approx 4.19MB)