A recent lengthy article in Wellington’s Post newspaper by Julie Jacobson headed “Council offers rich-lister’s support to secure tenants” left me incredulous.
Julie babbled on about the Wellington City Council’s efforts to woo tenants into my company’s central Lambton Quay large retail block, formerly occupied by the David Jones department store. Almost every assertion she wrote was wrong.
First, she described at great length the unasked by us, endeavours made by the Council to place certain tenancies in our building. The last bloody thing we need is the no-hoper Council’s “assistance” in a field we’re experts in as we should be as owners of the most prime CBD shops, a consequence of owning 20 prime location office buildings. Their overtures were fobbed off by my management, this Julie described as snubbing them. In the interim we have almost filled the building.
Currently it’s undergoing substantial earthquake strengthening and will open, full leased, about May next year (not this year as Julie wrote).
Julie traced the building’s history citing a jokester by the name of Chris Wilkinson who calls himself a retail specialist consultant and is often quoted in the press trotting out world-class meaningless platitudes, to everyone in commercial real estate’s amusement. On that front he makes Shambles Equab look like a piker. They should team up as a comic duet act, exchanging say a conversation for an hour while saying absolutely nothing. A typical Wilkinson vacuous utterance appeared in last Friday’s Post in an article on the forthcoming World of Wearable Art annual crowd-pulling nonsense. This would be “a welcome addition to the city amid the tough economic headwinds”, Wilkinson volunteered. Somehow he grafts out a living with these meaningless platitudes.
Julie also quoted him claiming the Wellington City Council was involved in the David Jones department store’s occupation of the building. What absolute cock! It was 100% my idea.
Kirks, then a small listed company was going broke. I told its despairing chairman to approach David Jones as having been taken over by South Africa’s Woolworths, they had embarked on a massive and crazy expansion path which unsurprisingly has given Woolworths multi-billion losses to date. He did and we duly signed them up.
Julie wrote that David Jones “pulled the pin on the site after six years.” Nonsense. We had them on a 35 year lease but their incompetence on so many fronts led me to talk them into leaving in return for paying us over $20 million. Department stores are dying out world-wide and we didn’t want this significant site saddled with a fading operation.
The Council should stick to basics and as I’ve written before on this Blog, it’s long overdue for central government to prescribe the limits of local government activities.
Currently it’s in a huge financial hole, largely thanks to its scandalous and costly activism outside of its primary functions.
For example, the current mayor Tory Whanau, undoubtable by a country mile, the most spell-bindingly incompetent in the city’s history, has run up a $50,000 bill at ratepayers expense, leading four Council staff on a jaunt around Asia to “promote relationships and reconnect Wellington to the world.”
This of course is garbage. She’s simply having a foreign holiday at the ratepayers expense. This is actually her second trip abroad at our cost this year. These gallivanting overseas rackets are all too common.
Auckland’s current mayor is a breath of fresh air in our country’s local government history. I don’t know him although he was a 1984 New Zealand Party candidate and polled well. He’s plainly determined to wipe out the Auckland Council’s absurdities in its range of activities it should not be involved with.
Cleaning up the mess of excessive Council activities, which they’re ill-equipped to tackle, should be a central government priority.
Obviously that’s beyond the comprehension of the don’t-rock-the-boat National dullards but very much in the realm of the reformist ACT Party. So much of New Zealand future prospects depend on ACT being a major influential player in the next government, failing which the exodus out of New Zealand by our best and brightest will become massive.