Happy Birthday Auckland! The new Supercity is now in effect, with Mayor Len Brown at the helm.
The Supercity was conceived by Labour and a Royal Commission. The incoming National government set out to remake it in its own image, trampling all over democracy, the Royal Commission, Maori, and its own election promises in the process. Clearly the plan was to pass it over to ex Nat John Banks to continue the right wing / privitisation agenda. But, for now at least, the election of “Labour Mayor from South Auckland” Len Brown has put a stop to that. Auckland is Brown Town!
Len Brown is making all the right noises. He promised more local democracy to offset some of the worst of National’s tampering. He embraces diversity and fairness, and intends to focus on uniting Auckland. He hits the ground running with a very full agenda. He’s also making good his rhetoric of being an inclusive Mayor in the most concrete way possible, in the makeup of his administration:
Super City Mayor announces his team
Super City Mayor-elect Len Brown today unveiled the makeup of his new Auckland Council, with key roles going to councillors from across the political spectrum.
“This announcement recognises the community’s desire to have an inclusive council that draws on strengths of people from right around the region,” said Mr Brown this afternoon. …
The powerful role of chairing the Strategy and Finance Committee has gone to former Rodney mayor and ex-Act MP Penny Webster, who sits to the right of Mr Brown politically.
Other right-leaning appointments are young Howick councillor Jami-Lee Ross to the Tenders and Procurement Panel and Cameron Brewer to the District Plan and Urban Design Forum of the Regional Development and Operations Committee.
Those closer to Mr Brown’s own point on the political spectrum also nabbed some key roles, including Mike Lee to the chair of the Transport Committee, Richard Northey to the chair of the Accountability and Performance Committee and Ann Hartley to the Regional Development and Operations Committee.
Smart moves from Brown.
Despite all this The Herald can muster only luke warm support for the new era. And there are indications that the Nats don’t intend to make it easy for Brown. In a move not widely signaled before Brown’s victory, Rodney Hide is, according to this report, setting up “a new Cabinet Committee to hear the new Auckland Council’s pleas and weigh up the Government’s responses”. Hmmmmm. Also, Key has earned a rare rebuke as “tight-fisted” for his failure to support Brown’s plans for Auckland rail.
However, much as it will gall the Nats for Brown to succeed, they can’t afford to have Auckland fail. It will be through gritted teeth perhaps, but they must do their best to support Auckland. They’ll loose the next election if they don’t.
So, good luck Aucklanders, and happy birthday. From the safe distance of The Mainland I shall watch with interest, and wish you well.