Why the Split on Geographic Grounds?
On Thursday the Governing Body resolved through the Mayor’s casting vote to allow the Port of Auckland compromise (extending one wharf rather than two). You can see my commentary on it here: Port of Auckland Wharves Compromise Passes.
What became very clear very fast after the vote was the geographic split to the point of even a class split in how the Councillor voted on the Port resolution. Take a look at the voting numbers from the record Thursday:
Now if the full 21 were present the vote would have been 12-9 with Councillor Wayne Walker adding to the opposition while Councillors Denise Krum, Sir John Walker, Penny Webster and Dick Quax most likely voting in favour.
However, it was the Geographic split that became rather stark extremely fast. The opposition comes from the Auckland Isthmus (minus Krum) while the support comes from Southern and West Auckland as well as Rodney (Webster). If one was to look at it further you could argue it has become a class split as well.
Those in opposition from the Isthmus and North Shore mainly (but not exclusively) house the more affluent and “urban” proportions of the population; while the supporters from Rodney, the South and West (including Krum in this instance) mainly (but again not exclusively) house the:
- The five heavy industrial complexes
- Working class (or classic suburban as a countenance to urban)
- Former Eco City (the former Waitakere City Council Area)
Now those above categorisation are generalisations I know but when looking at predominant groups in the two geographic splits the class cards do (rightly or wrongly) fall into place.
Also I did pick up an Isthmus Local Board Chair yesterday recognising the split but insinuating that the South and West were not best placed in recognising the “environmental” impacts on the Port activities. I did get a retraction as soon as I saw it but to say the South and West is not best place is offensive. The South and West are fully aware and fully comprehend the very fine balance between economic employment and the environment. And believe me if both those sub regions did not want the Port extensions to happen their Ward Councillors would have voted the other way yesterday faster than I can say BOO!
So what is honestly going on? Why the Geographic and possible class split on the Governing Body of the Council in regards to the Port? Is it indicative of the split at population level in general?
There is something deeply concerning about the split and one that needs to be healed sooner rather than later. This is especially looking a recent Herald poll a large number of those outside Auckland also supporting the Port alongside Rodney, Southern and Western Auckland.
Also to those who say move the Port? Read this please because without Central Government involvement and contravening the Resource Management Act it is not possible: Port of Auckland – Relocation and the Unitary Plan
Todd Niall also had this yesterday on the Port issue and where it stands currently: