Twisted

This summer we should see a new artwork installed on the Auckland Waterfront, at the Halsey St. extension

The artwork, called Twister, is a tornado shaped steel sculpture lit up with wind sensors creating an illusion that it’s moving.

Cool.

The sculpture will cost around 3.5 million dollars to install.

Grumble. (But ok, if it looks cool now and still looks cool in 20 years, I’m sure it’ll be worth the investment.)

Unfortunately, the project has not yet started due to ongoing resource consents.

In fact, the council has had to pay itself over $200,000 in resource consents.

WTF?

Sure, it’s good that the council is applying the same rules to itself as it is to everyone else. (Although assumedly this is a somewhat frivolous exercise, as I can hardly imagine the Auckland City Council denying its own applications).

And $200,000 worth of resource consents? $200,000 in resource consent for a nuclear power plant I could understand, but a sculpture? Who’s responsible for this?

A resource consent is little more than a collection of forms, and a couple of surveying reports no-one will ever read to ensure the area is ‘safe’, and not imposing on the environment, stake-holders and a sacred sea monster.

Let’s assume all people involved charge an average of $100 per hour (i.e. the OSH surveyor, the lawyers, and the receptionist who types out all the forms).

That gives us 2000 hours of work, or 50 weeks.

That’s more time than it took me to write my thesis. Without sounding elitist, I like to think that my master’s degree required more cognitive input than the consents required for a blinking art installation.

Or put in another way, 2000 hours equates to a team of five builders working full-time for three months. Entire houses can be built using the same amount of [wo]man power.

We could instead spend that time and money on the Motuihe Island restoration project, repopulating it with native flora and fauna. (Which surely would be a more fitting investment given the amount of paper used to produce the resource consents in the first place.)

Something’s not right here.

I appreciate we need some process to ensure historic places don’t get knocked down and replaced by bland, murderous, concrete apartments, or that our waterfront doesn’t become polluted with sewage-emitting, electrically unsound and noisy barbecued cat stalls.

But seriously, give me three weeks, and I’ll look at the art installation, go over any possible legal issues, and inspect that everything is sound and with minimal environmental impact.

And I’ll do all that $10,000 (I’d do it for less, but I need the money for various consents on my own house).

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