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Can We Support Phil Goff for Auckland Mayor?

Written By: - Date published: 9:00 am, June 21st, 2016 - 59 comments
Categories: auckland supercity, local government, phil goff, supercity - Tags:

Phil Goff cropped

Every year, Auckland is more of New Zealand. More of its real estate risk, more of its social problems, more of its productivity drag. Just more. And hence more of its politics. This government has long since abandoned policy coherence over any Auckland issue: housing, immigration, innovation, transport, electricity, youth employment, poverty, public health, growth, wealth – anything you can name. It continues to legislate the role of local government to be weaker and weaker. And on every subject, central government makes a point of avoiding the unified approach with Auckland Council that New Zealand clearly needs.

Which makes this Auckland mayoral race matter.

Almost everywhere in New Zealand, if you’ve got name recognition and haven’t eaten any children lately, you’ll get elected. But we need Auckland to be governed on more than name recognition.

Which is why Phil Goff needs to tell us some actual policy.

Granted, a few won’t vote for him because he’s pro-TPP, is unrepentant as a reformer in the Lange government, and has abandoned the Labour brand for his run. Policies won’t alter such voters.

Instead let’s get to his substance. His site is weak.  He has one policy: shift the sea port off the Waitemata.  This appeals to the Kohimarama yachties and Devonport estate agents. It’s an otherwise stupid idea. If it ever happened, it would take 15 years minimum, which is crap politics first off: ruling out the Manukau or Bethells as suicide, Whangarei would need Marsden Point rail link and rail from Avondale to Onehunga, and a motorway through the Brynderwyns. It would need whole bunches of permissions from RMA to Commerce Commission to OIO, and the Public Works Act selldown procedures. Any one of those will have you in court for a decade (witness the recent Te Atatu port saga that went to the Supreme Court). And its a policy that achieves nothing. It’s make-work dressed as “strategy”.

On the site he’s got a little blog about the housing bubble being ready to burst, with allusions to the stock market in 1987. He claims that the property bubble is too far gone to fix. Not too many candidates outline a major problem and say from the outset it’s too hard to fix. I can’t even tell if he wants to fix it:

“As a member of the reforming Labour government of the 1980s, I support a market economy. However … governments also need to intervene to ensure socially fair outcomes, such as by preventing homelessness.”

Mr Goff, proposing to form a government, neglects to tell us how he will intervene. Or if.

What are his objectives? What executive instruments will he use? What needs fixing, and how will he fix it? Will we have the same council run 95% of the time by bureaucrats? Does he still have the capacity to reform anything? After 30 years in politics, why don’t we know what he wants to do? Even if he did, does he know how he’d do it?

It’s early. More policies will be released. But this candidate needs to spell out how he will in three years make Auckland “a city where talent and enterprise thrive”. Mr Goff is coasting on name recognition, and this is no time for such political laziness.

Mr Goff, your name is not enough. Fix it.

59 comments on “Can We Support Phil Goff for Auckland Mayor? ”

  1. TC 1

    Sad that this troughing centrist is akl’s best shot at getting something done however small and inconsequential that may be.

    Supershity is designed with the mayor as a ceremonial figure.

    • save nz 1.1

      TC centerist??? Goff’s a closet ACT supporter from the 80’s who has mellowed to NatLite over the years.

      His emminent absence from Labour probably gave them a lift last poll.

      The scariest thing, is that people who hate him, will probably still consider voting for him as Mayor incase someone worse, like a Slater run campaigner gets in and starts doing a post 2014 National government destruction to our biggest city.

      That is how dysfunction our politics is, Sheeple. Weep.

      • Colonial Viper 1.1.1

        Best reason to support Goff for Mayor is to get him out of the Labour caucus.

  2. Ovid 2

    A mayor can’t do much without council backing so there’s a limit on what can be promised.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1

      Haven’t all the meaningful levers been placed out of the reach of democracy by the National Party yet?

  3. Greg 3

    Rodney Hide and the National Party created the Super city to be Super, and its is Super, super inefficient, with far to many managers, )+how many have been before before the courts for corruption charges and convictions) And why does Auckland need so many promotional staff.

    Can Goff fix a very poorly designed Super city?

    Will he find out, whats happen to the million dollars donated by Barefoot and Thomson owner for a state house art work on the Wharf, the council has already shacked out 2 million for extra’s on it (=homeless privy). And its all just disappeared from any Herald media commentary.

    Can Goff wind back the ridiculous rates bill linked to property price, it should be driving out the asset rich cash poor baby boomer house owners en mass after a cold winter.
    Council Rates should be only ever assessed on services provided.

    Real wages in Auckland are stagnant, it needs to promote an Auckland living wage.

    Foreign student numbers need to be restricted to what accommodation is available, not just bums on seats in lecture rooms. They are a factor in rising accommodation costs and overcrowding. Just look at trade me flatmates wanted, I have heard of six sleeping in a double bed.

    Does Goff really know what he is in for in tackling Auckland moribund issues left fermenting, by a current Mayor able to hide to a secret bathroom.

  4. stunned mullet 4

    He is possibly a better option than Penny Bright.

  5. Xanthe 5

    Phil goff as minister of justice was in a position to pardon peter ellis , he ducked !
    I would never support him in any position of responsibility!
    (Mind you some good arguments here that mayor is not a position of responsibility)

    • Stuart Munro 5.1

      A career foreign minister is essentially a runner – never takes responsibility. The same pathology as Grocer but slightly less overt.

      • the pigman 5.1.1

        Do you mean (Tim) Groser, ex-trade minister?

        McCully is the career foreign minister and yes, he really is the Pits.

  6. Lanthanide 6

    I suspect it’s probably impossible for any single person to fit the problems Auckland has. It requires co-operation from a lot of people, particularly central government.

  7. Cricklewood 7

    It may be difficult for him to make significant change unless he gets a like minded majority on council but that no reason why he couldn’t put forward his likely policy or areas to target.
    I’m absolutely convinced that council can and should redirect/defer some less essential funding to address issues like community housing which greatly effect Auckland.
    In my extremely limited (2 small projects) involvement with council I have seen 100k of wasteful spending in the last couple of years coupled with some extremely dubious requests to split quotes and invoices to keep invoices at a level where they don’t have to be scrutinized and signed off by someone higher up the food chain.

  8. fisiani 8

    Phil Goff would make a great mayor of Auckland. I fully support him.

    • John shears 8.1

      Oh Dear!!! Fizzy strikes again Poor Phil that’s the end of him Fizzy is in control.

  9. s y d 9

    Phil Goff, donning the blue and black.
    What are his objectives?
    What executive instruments will he use?

    Who cares, he doesn’t. After 30 years (30 years!) in politics Phil just reckons it’s his turn.
    There will be a few sideshows (moving the port indeed Ad!) to distract while assets will be stripped (via edict from wellington) to fund chinese state construction of evermore empty suburban tract housing.

    chur.

    3 cheers for Mr Goff.

    • Chris 9.1

      Goff just wants to make Auckland Great Again! – that’s all he’ll ever try to do.

  10. Tiger Mountain 10

    it can certainly be said that Phil has to be the best of the right wing candidates, but I prefer to vote positively so it is slim pickings in the mayoral race for me, it is not like a “lesser of two evils” situation when the other 3 right contenders will also be subservient to the business cliques, perhaps Goff will not sell off the Ports and airport, he should say so pronto if that is his point of difference

    under 40% (36% last time) of Aucklanders can usually be arsed sending in a postal vote so the mayoralty is indeed up for grabs if one sector could do a Len Brown first term equivalent where he got in on substantial South Auckland votes; last election Penny Bright and John Minto got around 10,000 votes each from memory, with no media coverage or budget to speak of

    the 2016 contest desperately needs a good lefty, like “Minto for Mayor” with a platform of free public transport, slashed salaries for the over $100,000 council staff, and making business pay a bigger rating contribution

    • Draco T Bastard 10.1

      the 2016 contest desperately needs a good lefty, like “Minto for Mayor” with a platform of free public transport, slashed salaries for the over $100,000 council staff, and making business pay a bigger rating contribution

      QFT

  11. Enviro Gal 11

    Phil Goff is a better option than anyone else:
    he has been an Auckland MP for a long time and has a reputation as a hard worker,
    was Auckland born raised and educated [ I gather his father is here in Auckland, 95 years young]
    His electorate Roskill is the most multicultural electorate in the country.
    He looks younger and fitter than the PM and has some idea what needs to be done.
    Having a supportive council would make A BIG difference !
    I always remember Kim Hill saying when she retired from mornings, that he was one of the hardest people to interview because he is so articulate.

    • Colonial Viper 11.1

      articulate supporter of free trade and the TPP

    • Ad 11.2

      Agreed a lot will rest on the kinds of people that make up the new Council. The current lot are just toxic with each other.

      I have a feeling that after the election there will be more fresh faces than last time, because the level of anger and frustration at this Council has built up over 6 years.

      We still have to endure the food fight that will ensue in August and September when they finally get to vote on the Unitary Plan. They will either get it right, or Minister Smith will simply overrule them and impose his will directly. Either way their names won’t look good to the voters on election day.

      I also agree that Phil has a lot of really good points that would make him a great Mayor.

  12. Draco T Bastard 12

    After 30 years in politics, why don’t we know what he wants to do?

    Same reason as John Banks?

    I certainly won’t be voting for him. I want a Left wing mayor – not Right wing one dressed up as a Left wing.

  13. indiana 13

    Auckland needs to vote for a mayor who will promise in their first 100 days to reduce rates, be willing to sell Auckland Airport shares to fund expenses and immediately open land for development including relaxing rules to allow current property owners to subdivide their sections so long as new house is built. Additionally, they should allow property owners to tear down existing houses only to be replaced by duplexes if the section cannot be subdivided reasonably. While they are at it, get rid of the tight rules on protecting trees, and heritage housing in certain suburbs just so that people can cling onto the good old days.

    • Draco T Bastard 13.1

      Auckland needs to vote for a mayor who will promise in their first 100 days to reduce rates

      Considering that the rates probably aren’t high enough that’s probably a bad idea – unless you want to force the council to sell off city assets like National does.

      be willing to sell Auckland Airport shares to fund expenses

      Doing that actually does the exact opposite and will force the council to increase rates.

      immediately open land for development

      There’s enough land open for development for the next 6 years or so and it’s also a bad idea because of the huge cost burden sprawl puts on the city and thus forcing up rates.

      including relaxing rules to allow current property owners to subdivide their sections so long as new house is built.

      They were doing that but National told them that they’re not allowed to.

      While they are at it, get rid of the tight rules on protecting trees

      A city needs trees, especially mature ones, for its social health so this is another really stupid idea.

    • save nz 13.2

      @Indiana – while you’re at it, blacktop all of Auckland – that’s progress, then we can just drive everywhere. If you can see the sun then lay a complaint to the electricity commission, as some commie somewhere might be hiding a solar panel and TAKING the right of business to make a profit from the grid.

      Think how many foreign students we can pack into a sardine can, we can just pump all the sewerage out to sea or maybe it could be like the Ganges.

      Wadable is the new washable after all. Don’t worry existing rate payers can pay for all the infrastructure, the new homeless can be shipped off to Nuie.

      • save nz 13.2.1

        forgot to mention when the new homeless are shipped off to Nuie… of course it is at tax payer expense and Scenic hotels paid $200 per night be be deducted off the homeless person’s benefit…

        • save nz 13.2.1.1

          Funny enough London manages to house nearly 9 million people and they have very tight zoning and very tight council rules on development.

          What screwed London up the most, was allowing foreign investment and now like Auckland, people can’t afford to live in London, who run the city and work on local wages.

          Development is a risky business, having few and inconsistent rules like at Auckland council planning and a 99.9% success rate at environment court (literally any consent will get passed no matter how bad) actually does the opposite – it creates chaos and then people don’t want to take the risk to build. Once building, the problems past back to the council and then the ratepayers when things go wrong.

          This happened in the early days of apartments in the CBD, someone could literally build another block in front of the other block’s windows and take out the other apartment block amenity legally and no one cared how well they were built. It took 25 years to recover from that.

          Maybe ‘the good old days’ are something to aspire too, when rates were low, quarter acre was normal, homelessness was unusual, jobs were plentiful, people built to do a good job, not to try and make as much profit as possible, education was about teaching local people not some business to educate other nation’s kids for profit (which when all factored in, is not a profit but a loss).

          Everything is often good in moderation, the problem in Auckland is that the government and council have gone full tilt with neoliberalism and want citizens and charity to pick up the pieces while they pocket the profits, they seem incapable of looking at other cities and not following their mistakes or their advantages.

    • Sacha 13.3

      Wow, you must really miss C&R. Those same policies delivered Auckland leaking sewers needing billions in catch-up maintenance – but by golly they ‘kept rates down’ for the eastern suburbs.

  14. Richardrawshark 14

    Has Banks declared any interest in standing for Mayor, I note he’s selling his mansion in Auckland is this perhaps to raise money to contend? This would open up the selection for Auckland.

    Be interesting Banks Goff, Bright, some talent right there /sarc

    When is some brave party going to come out and say what everyone’s thinking, super city not working, so scrap it already and go back to what worked better.

    • Ad 14.1

      Nope; Banks is spent.
      He’s selling his apartment on Albert Street and will shortly be retreating to Queenstown which is where his family are.

  15. AB 15

    In 2010 I voted for Len Brown as John Banks had to be beaten.
    In 2013 Brown had no credible right-wing competition (only Palino) so I voted for John Minto.
    2016 – does Victoria Crone have a chance? She would be intolerable. Not as bad as Banks obviously but she sounds like a typically shallow, over-confident, right-wing business person.
    I will have to make that assessment at the time and vote accordingly.
    It sucks having to choose the least bad.

  16. Jenny Kirk 16

    Maybe you were looking in the wrong place, Advantage, for the Goff policies.
    Maybe you would have been better off reading his speech at the opening of his campaign. Plenty of policy stuff there.

    But before I get onto that, perhaps I should say Phil Goff and I have not always seen eye-to-eye on many matters, but he did tell me once that it was a huge shock when he lost his Roskill seat (to Gilbert Myles), and that caused him to have a re-think on WHY that had happened.

    Okay – he blotted his copybook on the TPPA matter, but in reality his vote did not make any difference to the actual outcome.

    Now – back to those policies :

    Goff says:

    ” We need to do more than just finish the motorway network. We need to get on with the city rail link to double passenger capacity and deal with congestion at Britomart. We need light rail on the isthmus, in the East and out to the airport. We need more bus-ways like the Northern Expressway.

    “Funding for this infrastructure can’t just come out of rates. But the Government must also provide funding to meet the needs of growth. After all, a large portion of the Government’s revenue comes from taxes paid by Aucklanders. It’ll be my job as Mayor to make sure that message gets through.

    ” There are ways to bring supply and demand in housing back into balance and Auckland should be strongly advocating for those solutions. Policies that give the building industry confidence and certainty to gear up for construction. Policies that put home buyers ahead of speculators. …..

    Edit – I didn’t finish the policy bits.
    “good urban design, plenty of public open space and protection for areas of high heritage value.”

    ” We should be opening up our harbours to people, not extending the port further into the Waitemata to create parking spaces for imported cars. We have to address pollution, silting in the Gulf and harbours and protect our access to recreational fishing….”

    ” Council spent half a million dollars on two reports released last week saying we should privatise our strategic assets. That was a waste. Aucklanders don’t want that. Privatising Watercare would double water charges to Aucklanders. ”

    • Ad 16.1

      No, I read the speech. I’m not asking for a costed budget or anything, and it’s good he’s supporting light rail since it’s been under development at AT for three years and has already been shrunk right back.

      He doesn’t state what he’s going to do to “put home buyers ahead of speculators.” There are plenty of instruments available – what will he do?

      He doesn’t state what he will do to generate “good urban design, etc etc”. Same.

      I’ve covered the Waitemata ports policy.

      It’s not too much to ask that he speak plainly and say what he’s going to do. I’m not even asking for something so old-fashioned as a manifesto. But apart from the woeful ports-shifting idea, he hasn’t said what he expects to do. That’s how you hold politicians accountable for their results.

  17. Jenny Kirk 17

    Yes, Ad. I, too, think Goff has been remiss in not spelling out a bit more detail, but maybe that is to come.

    Meanwhile, I disagree with you re the woeful ports-shifting idea. I personally asked him to come north and meet the Northland Ports people and have a good look around (which he did) – because the very obvious solution to stop the extension of Auckland Port out into the Waitemata is to remove some of its business elsewhere – imported cars could just as easily come into Marsden Port as to Auckland.

    And shifting the Port is not just an appeal to the rich yachties, its also a major environmental issue – protection of the current sea life, animals, whales and so on – as well as the enjoyment huge numbers of ordinary Aucklanders get from going out into the harbour. Its crowded on a sunny day – and port expansion will get in the way of that enjoyment.

    • Ad 17.1

      Be careful what you wish for.

      That marine environmental impact you speak of will simply be shifted from Auckland to Whangarei and Marsden Point.

      The land-based impact will be felt on the thousands of hectares that get smashed to push the motorway all the way from Warkworth to Whangarei.

      If you think there are net environmental, financial, social, or economic benefits to Auckland-Northland, do give them to Phil. He sure could use some actual facts.

  18. Richardrawshark 18

    I don’t think any of the candidates would change this to what I wanted so it would be a waste to vote for any of them.

    I can’t think of anywhere amassing control of anything by one group has had benefits.

    In fact the more people have control of their lives and regions welfare who live in those regions the better things are.

    Rodney hide …I mean seriously…., he’s just sitting in his armchair like the shit stirring devil he is and laughing his arse off.

  19. Ad 19

    Pay attention all: Gabriel Makhlouf the Head of Treasury has put out a speech today in Auckland outlining exactly the same concerns I have:

    https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/2890370-Committee-for-Auckland-Speech-FINAL.html#document/p1

    Excerpts:
    “Right now, the greatest lever to improve affordability and the supply of housing in Auckland sits with Auckland Council.”

    “The challenges are formidable … Central government will continue working shoulder to shoulder with you on this because a thriving, successful Auckland doesn’t just matter to Aucklanders. It matters to every New Zealander.”

    He also spells out the specific transport projects that generate the greatest positive effects. The ATAP Preliminary Findings and Conclusions were released today.

    Honestly Phil, if the New Zealand Head of Treasury can pop up to Auckland and spell out some actual actions clearly, so can you.

    • Jenny Kirk 19.1

      oh come on, Ad. This is the Treasury speaking Government-speak. Didn’t you see/hear the deputy mayor recently saying the land was available for housing, but the government needed to step up to do its share.?
      and BS about central govt working shoulder to shoulder with Auck when they haven’t give a stuff for years, and effectively stopped a regional tax on petrol for instance which would have paid for some of the transportation infrastructure.
      And the govt – (with info from the Treasury) is very reluctant to help Auckland fund the necessary infrastructure for future housing development, let alone anything else like railway linkages, etc.
      Get a bit real please Ad. and don’t go blaming Goff or Len Brown for the lack of support the current govt gives Auckland.

  20. Sounds to me like he’s just looking for an easy job before retirement. The last thing Auckland needs is someone with that sort of lazy attitude who is looking for a ratepayer trough before sailing off into the sunset to retire. But seriously, who else is there?

    • Ad 20.1

      Being Mayor is no easy job, and there’s no doubt Goff has the stamina and smarts for the position.

      Who else is there indeed.

      • Jenny Kirk 20.1.1

        Indeed. I don’t think Phil G is looking for an easy job before retirement. But I do think he’s probably got more Auckland-nous than you’re giving him credit for, Ad.

        I’m no longer an Aucklander, and I wasn’t too keen on Phil when I was in Parliament either, (but that was 30 years ago) but you all (if you’re all Aucklanders) probably could do a lot worse for Mayor – and you might even be surprised at the outcome.

      • Jenny 20.1.2

        Who else is there?

        The Labour Party could have chosen David Cunliffe, as their Auckland Mayoral Candidate. Obviously talented and with strong loyal organising electoral team around him, it would have seemed to me an obvious choice.

        You can’t help but think that getting Goff to stand for Mayor was the only way Labour could think of to persuade this long term trougher to leave their front bench.

        Even then you see him covering his bases, making sure he can safely return to his guaranteed trough in parliament if his mayoral campaign tanks and he hands the Mayoralty to the Right due to sheer incompetence.

        Look at his ill thought out indecent rush to defend those who keep houses empty from being charged for it. While families with out homes sleep in cars.

        The man who as Minister of Education in the Lange/Douglas administration alienated a whole generation of students by introducing fees into tertiary education. Which at the time almost the total student population to almost as a body organise to get Labour out. Delivering a landslide win to the Bolger led National Party.

        As opposition Labour Leader led a campaign to “AXE THE TAX” against National’s plant to raise GST to 15%spending $33,000 to paint a big bus bright red and drive around the country with “Axe The Tax” written all over it. This campaign swiftly fizzeled out and had to be aborted when Phil Goff revealed that he actually wouldn’t “axe the tax” if he became Prime Minister.

        Apart from that I can’t recall anything useful or outstanding that this long term trougher has ever produced from his marathon time in parliament. That is apart from achieving the almost impossible task of losing the safest of safe Labour Party seats, not to the Nats (obviously), but to somebody that wasn’t him.

        For goodness sake can’t Phil Goff just be satisfied with his millionaire life style block in Clevedon and quietly retire there and leave the rest of us alone.

        I mean his idea of moving the port of Auckland inland is just ridiculous.

        What other ill thoughr out lunacy could we expect from a Goff Mayoralty?

  21. Peter 21

    Can We Support Phil Goff for Auckland Mayor?
    NO NO NO

  22. Jenny 22

    Phil Goff the Ken Barlow of New Zealand politics.

    If Phil Goff is the answer what was the question?

  23. Andrew 23

    I will be voting Phil Goff for mayor and possibly leafleting for his campaign if studies allow. Two words: Public Transport.

    • Jenny 23.1

      What is Phil Goff’s plan for public transport?

      Will it be anything like Len Brown’s which has proved totally inadequate to the problem?

  24. Jenny 24

    And what about climate change as it relates to Auckland?

    http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2016/jun/22/michael-bloomberg-global-covenant-links-600m-people-and-7000-cities-fight-against-climate-change?utm_source=Inside+Climate+News&utm_campaign=24e720e56b-Weekly_Newsletter_Week_of_6_126_17_2016&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_29c928ffb5-24e720e56b-327500597&mc_cid=24e720e56b&mc_eid=bd6bf4131f

    What is Phil Goff’s Auckland plan for dealing with climate change?

    From what I hear Phil Goff, thinks that this is problem for central government and nothing to do with him or the Auckland Mayoralty.

    And he will do his damned best to make sure that the candidates stand on climate is an issue that will not be raised in the campaign for the Mayoralty.

    For this single piece of ignorant buck passing alone, Phil Goff shows he is unfit for the job.

    Cities are key to solving the climate change challenge. They account for most of the world’s carbon emissions, and mayors often have control over the largest sources. Just as importantly, mayors have strong incentives to attack those sources because steps that reduce carbon also improve public health and strengthen local economies.

    Clean air is increasingly a factor business leaders weigh when deciding where to invest. Cities can also act quickly to confront climate change, without the political and bureaucratic hurdles that often hold back national governments.

    cue weka to jump in here with some character assassination in defence of climate change ignoring Phil Goff.

  25. Andrew 25

    Len Brown has done more for public transport than any Mayor in the past 50 years. Have you been living under a rock?

    There’s this thing called the City Rail Link, it’s one of the biggest pieces of PT infrastructure in the history of Auckland. Have you heard of it?

    Phil Goff wants to make heavy rail and trams a priority. What other serious mayoral candidate has better public transport policies?

    Blaming the government for housing problems is largely pretty correct. The council is not allowed to build houses, so WTF do you expect a Labour council to do?

    You need to orientate yourself to reality, Jenny, because these issues are too serious to be left to idealist fantasies.

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