Every letterbox in Auckland received a 16 page A4 full color glossy this week entitled “Five Years as a United Auckland”
Apparently five years is worth celebrating. The Councillor job interviews are coming up next year, so let’s run the ruler over this glorious propaganda.
First off, remember the Auckland Plan, the visionary document resulting from New Zealand’s greatest ever consultation? One mention.
Actual measures to hold them all accountable? Not one. A useless report card.
On the inside page, the standard greeting from Mayor Len Brown. His primary triumph over five years has been to unify the left, the right, the media, and the government in universal loathing.
We have a note from Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse who claims everything good originated in Waitakere Council. The main success being the North West shopping centre, which in reality is a sad tilt-slab paradise smaller than Lynn Mall with not a bus, bus station, or cycle lane in site.
It notes government funding for 120 emergency housing places with $.5m from Council. No mention of the pensioner flat rent increases. And has anyone noticed homelessness getting better mover the last five years? Me neither.
There’s nearly six pages of advertising for upcoming events. Stuff I could get in two clicks.
Half a page on whales. Apparently Ports of Auckland saves whales. Screws its workers over, conspires to stuff up the harbour, rebels clearly against its shareholder with no punishment, outcompeted by Tauranga, and refuses to cooperate on a good waterfront. But somehow saves whales.
But there’s transport. It says watch some videos to help you take the car less. Hardly the generation-changing campaign of a highly funded monopoly. Council can however take credit for the electric trains. The trains and the HOP card are the main delivery items of five years of work.
Five lines on the environment. Despite parks, reserves, and catchments being a quarter of the region’s land mass, and a core statutory responsibility.
A page on standing for election, which is good. But to be clear: the 2010 reforms replaced 7 Councils with 7 corporations. In this town the Chair of Auckland Transport has more power than the Mayor, in fact more power than most Cabinet Ministers.
Now let’s listen for the total absences. Watercare. By asset value one of NZ’s biggest companies. Its perpetual price increases, incredibly secretive corporate life, its civic contribution of zip. Not a mention.
No mention of the Unitary Plan, the actual result of the Auckland Plan. Clearly the biggest legal contest in Auckland history stinks too much to be held in front of citizens.
Economic development, job, or innovation, mentioned zero times. But nearly two pages on bicycling, that whitest and most male-dominated of Council pursuits.
Propaganda this saccharine, this untruthful, does not let any citizen review five years of political performance.
It is not worth celebrating.
And it is lies.