This week John Banks took his faltering super mayoralty campaign to the Takapuna Rotary Club on Auckland’s North Shore.
Banks tried to butter up the locals by talking about the time he was elected to the Birkenhead Borough Council waaaaaaaaaay back in 1977 (hint: you’re almost at retirement age Mr Banks time to step down). That’s not interesting in itself. What caught my eye was that he was reported as saying that the supercity faces significant social challenges “even on the North Shore” and that addressing poverty-related matters in Northcote central are key supercity matters.
Forgive me if I call bullsh*t on Banks’ crocodile tears. I don’t remember him being so worried about social concerns when he worked to sell off council pensioner housing and pumped up user charges.
Anyway, I look forward to John Banks’ campaign manager Cr Aaron Bhatnager now coming out and slagging off his boss’ new focus on dealing with poverty especially given this post he made about Len Brown noting the super city would (gasp) be in a position to help reduce inequality.
I also look forward to Gooner retracting this stupid statement critiquing Len for saying the new council will be working with the Government to deliver social outcomes: ‘It is a stark example of what is wrong with most local body politicians and it is a stark example of what the race will be between next year: busy body politicians who try to itch every scratch or politicans (sic) who focus on the big picture while leaving individuals, communities and businesses to resolve local issues themselves.’
How dumb do they look.
For a more balanced look at how the new super council might deal with social policy issues, check out what the royal commission had to say on the matter:
‘Cities have to deal with the challenges of economic adjustment, poverty, and developing social cohesion, and in many cases, with higher criminality… these are all matters that Auckland needs to address if it is to be a leading city.
In London, the new executive mayor was instrumental in establishing the Child Poverty Commission and London’s Living Wage.
Kofi Annan gets it too: ‘At their best, cities are engines of growth and incubators of civilization. They are cross-roads of ideas, places of great intellectual ferment and innovation… [But] cities can also be places of exploitation, disease, violent crime, unemployment, underemployment and extreme poverty we must do more to make our cities safe and liveable places for all.
I look forward to the new Auckland council getting down to the business of dealing with the city’s social cohesion issues.
P.S – We’re hearing a lot more chatter from Auckland’s right-wingers about deep-seated unhappiness with John Banks’ campaign. Many are now openly speculating he can’t do it and are hunting for a new candidate. Chair of the Chamber of Commerce and deputy chair of the ARC Michael Barnett is said to be doing the numbers around C&R. Watch this space.