The NZ Herald has releases its Mid Term Report Card on Auckland Councillors and The Mayor – a.k.a Our Resident Prude. Before I go on though, will the author of that Report Card please put their name to it…
So lets take a look at some of the Councillors and the Mayor shall we?
From the article:
Cameron Brewer – A
Main responsibility – “Leader of the Opposition”
Brewer is leader of the opposition, and more effective than the entire C&R team combined. Some accuse Brewer of being a self-publicist, but there is no more effective councillor at getting their name in the media.
Brewer has unashamedly postioned himself as the leading opponent of Brown and provided an alternative voice. The ambitious Brewer says he has no plans to challenge Brown next year. He is probably too far to the right to lure the middle ground.
Well deserved Councillor and an accurate reflection of your work so far. Had to laugh that you are more effective than the entire C&R team combined, rather speaks volumes does it not of the primary opposition. A note to C&R I am watching developments your way as 2013 draws near – particularly because Brewer is doing what Fletcher said needed to be done PROVIDE AN ALTERNATIVE!
Although that last bit about Cameron not challenging the mayor next year… Sure Cameron, sure. Need a better convincing cover story if ALL OF AUCKLAND thinks you are challenging the mayor next year…
Mike Lee – A
Main responsibility – chairman transport committee
Lee is the leader of the left on Auckland Council. The former chairman of the Auckland Regional Council has taken it on his shoulders to oppose the sacking of union workers in the ports dispute, oppose the pokies for convention centre deal and criticise the Government’s lack of support for the city rail loop. Always thoughtful and forceful when speaking, Lee is a political heavyweight who shuns the mayor’s practice of hiding behind process and leaves people in do doubt where he stands. Lee has a frosty relationship with Len Brown, who hardly speaks to the Waitemata councillor.
My resident Centre-Left Stalinist. Councillor Lee deserves his ‘A’ grade because he does the work and fights the fight that needs to be fought (even though I might disagree where he stands on that fight). Although two things disappoint me with Mike Lee; one being Port of Auckland (check the VOAKL Port of Auckland Index for reasons why), second being that Parnell Station he advocated for that SHOULD HAVE NEVER SEEN THE LIGHT OF DAY! Apart from those two things – well done Councillor
Cathy Casey – B+
Main responsibility – chairwoman social and community forum
Casey is not everyone’s cup of tea, particularly on the right. But there is no more hard worker or champion of the poor, disadvantaged and homeless than the Scottish-born Casey, who can lose her rag at the slightest provocation.
She is most comfortable and effective working alongside social and community groups and, as a dog lover, instrumental in forcing a council backdown on higher dog fees.
Sandra Coney – B+
Main responsibility – chairwoman parks and heritage forum
Coney is one of the few heavyweights on council to possess a sharp intellect and true regional perspective. Add to that real runs on the board, such as more funding for heritage and halting the spread of a kauri-killing disease and Coney can look back on the past 18 months with real satisfaction. Except, she won’t. There’s still too much work to be done to improve Auckland’s regional parks, environment and heritage.
As the Herald said on that one – mainly because I do not know those Councillors well. Although I am getting to know Cllr Casey better as I keep an eye on her work in Council
George Wood – B
Main responsibility – chairman community safety forum
The former North Shore mayor has been something of a revelation after a term in the wilderness. Energetic, stroppy at times and prolific user of social media. Wood has strongly criticised the city rail loop and its $2.86 billion cost, but gives the impression of pandering to his North Shore constituency who do not want to pay for rail on the isthmus. Deputy leader of C&R.
Now that should be a B+ if not an A- there. But then again I am showing a bit of bias with George. Mainly because Councillor Wood has shown me some of the inner workings of Council and been appreciative of my work in; submissions, presentations and lobbying to Auckland Council on issues I pay attention to (and write commentary here on VOAKL). I would say George is not pandering to his constituency, but more responsive to a very politically active and aware Ward who make their voices known often quite loudly. I wish some of that loudness would rub off down South here as it is often rather quiet (apart from the Manurewa Local Board who are noisy buggers (sorry Angela, Simeon, and Daniel had to have a poke at your high level of advocacy there 😀 ))
Dick Quax – B
Main responsibility – chairman tenders and procurement subcommittee
Quax has quickly built up a reputation as a vocal and effective councillor since replacing Jami-Lee Ross, who resigned as a Howick councillor after becoming the MP for Botany in a byelection last year.
The former Manukau City councillor has been a forceful debater against the compact city model promoted in the Auckland Plan, helping the original targets for growth inside the city boundaries being watered down. On the downside, Quax can be a bit too combative at times.
Now if I go into combat with Councillor Lee on the Left, Councillor Quax I would be going into combat with on the Right. I have called Quax out on a few issues such as the Manuaku Rail Line and station, however his combative voice in urban development did help get that Brownfield:Greenfield ratio from 75:25 to 60:40 which was a strategic victory. Quax is that combative voice you need to balance off the “ideas” from the other side of the table – mainly Mike Lee’s side of the table. Keep up the good work Dick.
Chris Fletcher – C+
Main responsibility – Auckland Transport board member
The jury is still out on Chris Fletcher as leader of Citizens & Ratepayers and other like-minded councillors. Fletcher has certainly abandoned her “care bear” image and become more combative in uniting the right to take a more aggreesive lines against Brown’s plans for higher rates, debt and the city rail loop.
But doubts remain about her ability to lead C&R back from its horror result in 2010, particularly as she supports the mayor’s inner city rail loop and opposes the pokies for convention centre deal on strong moral grounds.
As the article said, the Jury is out. Although Councillor Fletcher has heard me made my various submissions to Auckland Council and we have both chatted to each other in-length over issues of Auckland. Fletcher backing the CRL is actual political prudence and wise – just trust me on this one VOAKL readers 😉 .
Len brown – C
Main responsibility – Mayor
The first 12 months of Brown’s mayoralty were a commendable success. The past six months have been a shocker. Brown set out as the first Mayor of the Super City with panache and drive; setting out a vision to make Auckland the “world’s most liveable city”.
The rot began to set in when Rugby World Cup Minister Murray McCully announced the Government was taking control of the waterfront after the cup’s opening night debacle.
Since then, Brown has struggled to impose a sense of leadership and authority during the most bitter industrial dispute on the (council-owned) wharves since 1951 and finds himself supporting a pokies for convention centre deal. He keeps saying intervention would undermine due process, but that did not stop him ignoring the normal processes and unilaterally announcing a $27 million cruise ship terminal. Brown has infuriated his traditional supporters on the left, who accuse him of “sitting on the fence” and being “weak”. For undoing much of the good work in his first 12 months, Brown gets a C for his mid-term report mark.
Our resident Prude and closet Centre-Right Mayor. Brown deserves a report here at VOAKL all on his own – something I might do somewhere down the track. Does need to sharpen his pencil however as 2013 will not be a cake walk.
Penny Hulse – C
Main responsibility – deputy mayor
Hulse, moulded in the politics of the Eco City, was chosen by Len Brown to be his deputy for her “inclusive style and fairness” and has repaid the mayor with absolute loyalty.
Unfortunately for Hulse the hoped-for script of consensus round the council table has not occurred and Hulse has had to deal with a more partisan style of politics than she is comfortable with.
This has made her defensive at times and led to a cool relationship with some councillors on the right. Hulse possesses a likeable side that goes down a treat in the community.
Only begun paying attention to our Deputy Mayor since Cameron Slater posted a nice You Tube video of Hulse presiding over a meeting where Mike Lee threw a nice tanty and stormed out while The Auckland Plan was being debated. Hulse was at my table last Monday during the LTP Forum where se heard my POAL question, and Municipal Utilities District question get raised. I did get reassurances from the Deputy Mayor on POAL with an extensive review under way. I await that review to become public – to which VOAKL will be running extensive commentary on.
Noelene Raffills – C
Main responsibility – chairwoman hearings committee
Freed from the shackles of David Hay under the old Auckland City Council C&R regime, Raffills has blossomed under the consensual style of Len Brown and the mayor’s efforts to court the C&R councillor.
Raffills has proved a hard-working and competent chair of the hearings committee and while not the most intelligent councillor, she chips in during debates.
John Walker – C
Main responsbility – Auckland ambassador
The Olympian and Manurewa-Papakura councillor is a diligent councillor who is very economical with words, but can hit the nail on the head with a few short sentences.
Walker pointed to the loss of income to his Field of Dreams swimming programme from having more pokies at SkyCity, which contributes less to community groups than pokies in pubs and clubs.
The Auckland ambassador role given to him by Len Brown has not really worked. Walker has joined the right to oppose the mayor’s big-spending plans.
Penny Webster – C
Main responsibility – chairwoman strategy and finance committee
The former Rodney District Mayor, Act MP and farmer is a key member of Len Brown’s inner circle, chairing the powerful strategy and finance committee.
That has meant putting aside her conservative roots to become a Brown loyalist and steer through the mayor’s budgets.
Webster has not made friends on the right, but proven to be a fair and capable chair of the finance committee, albeit failing to stamp her own authority on the city’s finances.
With a new rating system on the horizon she needs to be more pro-active selling the changes.
Des Morrison – C-
Main responsibility – chairman regulatory and bylaws committee
A gentleman whose mana and calm demeanour has failed to make a big mark. He is prone to asking long, narrative questions of officers. Thoughtful on financial matters, but lacks cut-through. Suggestions the C&R councillor will not stand for re-election next year.
Calum Penrose – C-
Main responsibility – deputy chairman community safety forum
The former Papakura District mayor is a case of a popular local figure who has struggled to step up to the Auckland Council. Penrose remains a work-horse in his community, passionate about youth and fighting crime, but comes across as a frustrated councillor. He was loyal to Len Brown at the outset, but has recently joined other right-minded councillors in opposing the mayor’s long-term budget.
Sharon Stewart – D
Main responsibility – chairwoman audit and risk committee
Sharon Stewart is hugely popular in Howick where she out polled Jami-Lee Ross and Dick Quax at the 2010 elections.
Her contribution at the council table is minimal and would clearly be better suited on the Howick Local Board.
As the article has said for the rest of the Councillors. Bit frustrated with my two ward Councillors for Manurewa/Papakura in not being more out there with issues such as rates, transport and urban development; with me hearing more from Manurewa Local Board than my local Councillors…
For Councillors not mentioned – it is because I agree with what The Herald said so to save space here – I am not going to repeat or quote it here.
So that is the mid-term report card from the NZ Herald
What you think?
Comments welcome (although no personal attacks – they will be deleted)