#Auckland2016 – looking to the future not the rear vision mirror
Councillors behaving badly, Councillors being absent from crucial committees and workshops, a mayor who needs to rationalise and not try to please all, a Governing Body that has members looking more in the rear vision mirror than forward on the road to the future. This is what Auckland has had to put up with since the last elections in 2013.
And with the next set of elections just over a year away of course all eyes are beginning to look to that election and that Governing Body table.
Since Your City Leaders Behaving (In)Appropriately #Auckland2016 #AKLPols you have to ask yourself what do you want post #Auckland2016.
Metro Magazine ran an editorial piece calling for a new Mayor. Let’s take a look and run a breakdown shall we.
From Metro Magazine (source: http://www.metromag.co.nz/editors-blog/auckland-mayor-candidates/):
Len has successfully handed the merging of the legacy Councils and their bureaucracies into the one entity and pretty much set them forward. The 2010-2013 era was the planning stage with getting everything lined up, the Auckland Plan brought online and the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan sent out for consultation before the hearings late on. The 2012-2022 Long Term Plan was a dog though with bloated legacy era projects continuing rather than having the red pen and ruler put over them in the first instance. This critical oversight would haunt the 2015-2025 Long Term Plan in the second term of Council later on.
Len also set Auckland Transport and Waterfront Auckland onto their mammoth tasks of reinventing Auckland – a supposedly united Auckland. Waterfront Auckland has done that pretty well and will in six days be merged with Auckland Council Property Limited to become the urban development authority we know as Development Auckland. Auckland Transport however, continues to be a basket case and has been since day one of its life. I will touch more on Auckland Transport later but I do conclude that this is the final term of Len. He should then just shuffle off into the sun set his mission complete of uniting the City and allow for new blood not tied to the legacy era take over.
That is one of my biggest turn offs against Goff. He is a current MP and an ex Government Minister of the Clark era (1999-2008). He is also from the Isthmus which has been plagued by bitter and polarising Left-Right fights since the end of World War Two which have hampered its development and would harm the rest of Auckland later on. I’ll put it another way since Les Mills in the 90’s the Isthmus under the former Auckland City Council changed its Mayors more than they changed their underwear. While the rest of Auckland was known for Mayors to serve some quite long terms. This would bring about stability more than anything else, stability the residents and businesses craved.
Apart from that what does Goff or any of the other contenders so far presented stand for? Right now it seems to be about them rather than the wider Governing Body itself considering the Mayor is only one vote of 21 (or 23 in a Committee of the Whole).
One thing is for sure I am wanting a Mayor and Council that is vibrant and exciting not dull and smelling of mothballs you expect to find in a sealed off wardrobe. Would Goff oversee a Governing Body of mothballs? Let me know in the comments below.
The problem of finding good mayoral candidates for Auckland is mirrored at council level, where there is a similar dearth of talent emerging to shake things up. It runs deep, and it’s a surprise. The super-city was supposed to make Auckland such an economically and socially vibrant powerhouse, it would attract a high quality of candidates for public office. Why hasn’t that happened?
And this is a core problem. Our Governing Body for the most part is seriously wanting and with its antics no wonder why serious talent especially young and ethnic talent is put off. That said we have some great talent on the Governing Body table though. The southern, western (including Whau) and Rodney (oh and Chris Darby) Councillors come from diverse backgrounds and politics but can come together and work things through for the sake of the region – The City. The Isthmus, North Shore, Howick and Albany Councillors in my eyes are wanting and as far as I see it the biggest hindrance to Auckland going forward and seem to be stuck in rear vision looking mirror mode. Okay that would capture social champion Councillor Cathy Casey but ask yourself whether constantly pissing off the Deputy Mayor is a really good strategy. The answer while I see where Councillor Casey is coming from the ultimate answer is NO.
The above speaks for itself.
It’s not just about Ardern. Auckland Council looks like a provincial political backwater because too many of the councillors treat it that way. It could be so much more, and it should be.
Note to Wellington: If 27,000 Long Term Plan submitters have said get going with the City Rail Link, public transport, and less on gold-plated roads then ummm I think you better get going rather than having an argument with the Council. However, as much as the Council needing a boot up its backside our Government or more to the point the Parliament needs a kick up the backside as well. Both National and Labour with various policies are seriously wanting at times when it comes to Auckland despite Auckland making up 34% of voters and GDP as well as being the sole international gateway city needed for the regions products.
What we need is a Governing Body united and united behind the Mayor regardless if they are Left or Right. We need a Mayor in return that is able to lead and manage the diverse Governing Body through, and able to work with Wellington. What we don’t want is Isthmus and North Shore partisan politics which again is the primary hindrance to Auckland going forward. If the South, West, Rodney, and Chris Darby can get over those political lines and get decent policy put through for the City then why can’t the rest? Time for those partisans to go and install new blood that are truly non-partisan.
One thing a weak Governing Body does allow is the bureaucrats to take charge which is going to happen in a vacuum. Earlier in the month I went to the Auckland Development Committee seeking a please explain after Auckland Transport has dithered for over two years on the Manukau Interchange and can only give us an “interim” fix that knowing AT will being interim for 30 years. The Otara-Papatoetoe Local Board in their August meeting asked for a pile of please explains to Auckland Transport and ACPL (Development Auckland as of September 1) after both of those Council Controlled Organisations have been caught dithering around with various projects especially in Manukau.
Arguably this should not need to occur if the Governing Body was more up to its job. However, when the CEO of Auckland Transport wont commit to fronting a Governing Body Committee owing to the Governing Body constantly falling behind in meetings with superfluous debates and point scoring (again The Isthmus and North Shore) I can see why it both a CCO runs on auto pilot (dithers) and in extension it takes citizens and Local Boards to alert the Governing Body to longer standing issues.
So again #Auckland2016 is the time to get fresh blood mixed in with some good experienced blood to get Auckland going forward not backwards.
So, fellow Aucklanders. We need a great council, and we need a great mayor. If you want to be a great politician, do it here where we need you most. Otherwise, we’ll get Goff.
I am doing due diligence at the moment to see whether it is viable to run for Council (Governing Body) representing the dual seat Manurewa-Papakura Ward for the 2016-2019 term.
One thing is for certain is that if campaigning and subsequently elected to the Governing Body that I would represent my Ward and Auckland in a non partisan manner. To me there is no Left vs Right there is only Auckland and her people.
For me the the two biggest concerns in voting for a Mayor would be:
- Non partisan
- Know the Unitary Plan (which goes operative 2016) solidly given its influence it will have over Auckland for the next 30 years.
If a mayoral candidate does not know the Unitary Plan well enough then no vote from me given that the UP frames our development and investment for a very long time. Having worked through the Unitary Plan since its draft release in 2013 and currently working my way through the Hearings on my big three topics you can say I have invested a lot into the process here.