Tag: local government elections

Ben’s Thoughts: Leadership and Leading by ACTUAL Example #Auckland2016

Leading By Example I suppose I am a bit picky and particular with my democracy who I want as elected representatives whether at Council or Central Government level. One irk … Continue reading Ben’s Thoughts: Leadership and Leading by ACTUAL Example #Auckland2016

Berry: Sell Surplus Auckland Stadiums. #Auckland2016

Mayoral Candidate Stephen Berry says we should sell surplus stadiums

In the run up to #Auckand2016 and the Local Elections Talking Southern Auckland from time to time will look at some of the larger issues facing either Southern Auckland or wider Auckland. This morning mayoral candidate Stephen Berry has mentioned about the Regional Facilities Auckland (RFA) Stadium Strategy that has been dogged in controversy.

From Voxy:

Sell Auckland’s surplus stadiums – Berry

“Auckland has too many stadiums and the Auckland Council should look at selling some of them,” Mayoral candidate Stephen Berry says.

The Affordable Auckland leader has described Auckland’s stadium situation as a “debacle,” after the council’s stadiums strategy was sent back to the drawing board yet again. Council-controlled Regional Facilities Auckland (RFA) has been given another year to consult on its strategy, which has upset the Warriors franchise over plans to move its games to QBE Stadium in Albany.

Berry says the Auckland Council should kick the current strategy to touch and change its entire approach to managing Auckland’s stadiums. “The stadiums strategy will leave sports fans unhappy and ratepayers out of pocket, funding white elephants that sit empty for most of the year.

“Auckland has an oversupply of stadiums and the Auckland Council needs to think seriously about selling one or more of them. For those that remain, we need to make sure the sports codes that use them pay for their fair share of their upkeep.”

Berry says the council should appoint an independent panel to review the region’s stadiums, with a focus on reducing costs for ratepayers. “As an example, the council is planning to spend millions upgrading Western Springs to host one cricket match a year. This has all the makings of a white elephant, which is ironic considering its close proximity to Auckland Zoo. Cities around the world have got themselves into financial strife by spending too much on sports stadiums for little return. Auckland needs to avoid making the same mistakes.”

“Several of Auckland’s stadiums are in prime locations and would fetch attractive prices if sold,” Berry says. “The money raised from stadium sales could be used to pay off debt, reduce rates increases or even fund the infrastructure and transport improvements Auckland desperately needs.”

He says it’s “questionable” whether the council should even own stadiums. Eden Park, the largest stadium in the country, is run by a separate trust.

“At the very least, RFA should be merged with another council-controlled organisation, such as ATEED (Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development) to save costs.”



To 2016 and also Future of Auckland relative to New Zealand

Focus to the 2016 Local Elections


The Local Elections for 2013 are nearly over with voter turnout to be the worst in living memory. We will be teeth gnashing over this for months to come on reasons why the turnout was so crap.

Along with my Geography of Tourism paper I am writing on Te Papa North – Manukau, I might also write one up on these elections as well for Auckland. I have had some interesting conversations with people over these elections and the conclusions whether they be Left or Right were generally the same.

Just as a test on Political Marketing 101 here I am going to copy over two election campaign “blurbs.” See what you think and if inclined leave a comment below. Oh comment on the style rather than personal attacks on the person please…

From Len Brown and John Palino

From NZ Herald

Election heads for low vote count

By Bernard Orsman @BernardOrsman

Len Brown

Much has been achieved since the establishment of the Auckland Council, but there is more work to do. We’ve brought our region together and are tackling the big challenges facing Auckland.

We’re seeing progress on the infrastructure needed to unclog the roads. Average rate increases have reduced from 5.7 per cent under the old councils down to 2.9 per cent, and I’ve pledged to reduce them to 2.5 per cent next year.

If I have the honour of being re-elected mayor, my priorities will be:

Fixing Auckland’s transport, with a focus on starting the city rail link, better bus services, school transport plans and upgrading local roads

Keeping rates low and delivering efficiencies across council budgets

Increasing the housing supply with more affordable housing, so families have a place to call home

Supporting economic development and more jobs for Aucklanders

Protecting our beautiful environment and cleaning up our harbours

Investing in the pools, parks, libraries and town centres that make our communities special

I’m proud of this city, its spirit and the diverse people and cultures that make us unique.

John Palino

I’m going to put the “local” back into local government. That means more power and responsibility for you, your community and local boards on one hand, and on the other means I’ll be able to focus on keeping rates down, controlling our region’s exploding debt and providing the best possible regional services for you, your family and your business.

I’ve committed to keeping rates at the level of CPI inflation (currently 0.7 per cent) or below that every year that I am mayor.

I’m going to strengthen local boards so that decisions are made closer to residents, removing the need for bureaucracy, and improve transparency of council processes so you can monitor progress.

For new growth to Auckland I will concentrate in priority areas where there is both public support and public transport.

The most significant such area will become a second CBD in Manukau, because that’s where the strongest growth is, where the biggest need remains for jobs and where there is existing infrastructure.

I’m going to target congestion by making it easier to take public transport, not more unpleasant to drive. I will greatly expand park-and-ride facilities and, with growth focused on transport-equipped priority areas, will reduce future traffic increases.


I will make my own musings on this later



Focus though now will be turning to the 2016 Local Government Elections. Any one with a sense of intelligence will realise that if you want to run for Council, Mayor or Local Board in 2016 your campaign starts now. Actually it started 18 months ago for Mayor.


It takes time to build rapport with your potential voters and get use to the issues of a Council. See for example if I were to run for a Council seat in 2016 my campaign would have started 18 months ago and continue until the day before election day 2016.

You start quietly by getting involved with your community and finding out how Council works. By getting to know your community you get to know the issues as they are often long-“lingering” ones. By finding out how Council works you can learn how to not make a total muppet of yourself in the formal stage of the campaign by “promising” things that can’t actually be done (Local Board candidates wanting to revoke the Unitary Plan being one). To find out how Council works it means taking time to rock up to Town Hall and sitting in through some often long and very boring Committee Meetings. My particular two were Transport and the Auckland Plan Committees (and those weren’t actually boring, Strategy and Finance always was 😛 ).

But I learnt a wealth of information at those meetings, struck up networks with Councillors, Officers, Media Officials and other members of the public. That networking and often a sense of curiosity on my part would allow me to be invited to the media table at Committee meetings and media briefings on things like Finances and the Unitary Plan. A privilege I am honoured to have and one I return thanks back often.

Local Boards you will need to familiarise yourself with too and what they get up to. They are an integral part of the Council in making sure your community is being looked after. Local Boards are also often the first port of call if you have a problem you would like to take up with Council. Admittedly I short-circuited my Local Board and would either go straight to the main Council or to Auckland Transport if a transport issue. More lately though I have been keeping a more close eye on my Local Board with some heavy issues coming up (The Rural Urban Boundary, Manukau and Glenora Road Station). So don’t forget the Local Boards too.

And from that if I were hypothetically run for Office the skills and tools learnt from interaction mentioned above I could use in a campaign.


Media and Social Media presence is a bug bear by candidates to me. You never see most candidates until right weeks before the elections where they suddenly pop up – often like a weed over the summer, then after the election you will never hear from them for three more years.

Your campaign for 2016 starts now if not 18 months ago. This means from GO you need a media if not social media presence. There are all sorts of ways this can be done and various good campaign managers will brief you on that. Again if I were to run hypothetically I have my blog to call back on. Talking Auckland is linked to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and via email. This means I can run a social media presence that has been picked up by Main Stream Media outlets, Council itself, other Social Media Commentators and other individuals out there.

It also means that by 2016 I would have built up over five years roughly a presence that can be capitalised on. Candidates need to do this and be in for the long game if they want both a good voter turn out and a measure of respect as well. A good pre-built presence also means you can swat away daft MSM coverage like berms and focus on the actual stuff should it happen…

There are many other things that can be done as well to build up a good profile for an election if you are chasing office. While I am not running for office I am sharing the above points as I use them when fleshing out candidate choices – especially if I do not like the incumbent. I also believe in good voter turn out and respect back to the voters. Doing the above will earn that respect and achieve a good outcome, do the opposite as we are seeing mostly at the moment and you wonder why the turn out is crap as it is.


So your campaign for 2016 has already started – it actually on real thoughts started 18 months ago. If you have not started then start now. Wait three years and forget it you wont be getting my vote.


Something to remember



Things That Really Matter

Why Your Vote is Extremely Important


I open with this:

Things that matter:
Both Bernard Orsman and I (amongst others) were at the Unitary Plan briefing last week on what to expect with the Unitary Plan at notification stage and The Auckland Design Manual.

What do we see:
Bernard Orsman: Berms as the leading issue affecting a very select few on the isthmus of Auckland and absolutely nothing on the Unitary Plan that affects EVERY SINGLE AUCKLANDER and wider New Zealand

Ben Ross via Talking Auckland: Unitary Plan as the leading issue affecting EVERY SINGLE AUCKLANDER and wider New Zealand

Just to put a further emphasis there that Orsman has missed entirely is that in the 2014-2016 term of Council we see the Area Plans come up and into fruition. Area Plans are derived from the Unitary Plan and set urban and social planning for a localised area in Auckland. 21 Local Boards = Countless Area Plans – Area Plans that like the Unitary Plan affect a lot more Aucklanders than berms

So where do your priorities sit? Berms or Unitary/Area Plans?
I know where mine sit


I mentioned Area Plans, something of a major exercise that will be undertaken in the 2014-2016 Council Term.

As I said above:  Area Plans are derived from the Unitary Plan and set urban and social planning for a localised area in Auckland.  21 Local Boards = Countless Area Plans – Area Plans.

That is because Area Plans are doing through the 21 Local Boards alongside the Councillors and the Planners. Already I believe one Area Plan has been done with the Mangere/Otahuhu Local Board so 20 more to go by 2016.

Yet this absolutely critical aspect has been forgotten about in this election cycle but many (but not all) candidates vying for our vote!




The Mayor will be looking at committing every single resource available for these Area Plans yet people like Orsman rather go focus on trivial issues like berms…

Without Area Plans as an election issue how do voter heck know what voters are voting for if the candidates are not quizzed on it in the election period?


So voters; ask the candidates what they will do for your community when the Area Plan process gets under way. I bet most candidates will have no clue – let alone a clue on what an Area Plan is.


I know what I am looking for in the respective Papakura and Manukau Area Plans and I voted for council and local board candidates who I know who could do a good job come next year when the AP process begins. Do and have you?


Your choice: Candidates focusing on the trivial like berms or candidates who think of both the long game and focus on things that affect you and your community for life – like Area Plans.


One last quip on real verse trivial issues – this one on transport:

Here is another one:
Bernard Orsman: Lets Focus on Berms

Real Issue: Orsman’s bus is usually late or does not show up at all when he wants to get to work or go home from work. Auckland Transport seem to ignore this day in day out.

What is the real issue here folks?