Len is standing again

Written By: - Date published: 7:33 am, July 16th, 2013 - 40 comments
Categories: auckland supercity, elections, len brown, local government - Tags: ,

len-brown

Len Brown formally announced on Sunday that he will again seek the Auckland Super City Mayoralty.

His chances appear good.  His opponents to date include rich American John Pallino, who is not known locally and whose comments are simplistic in the extreme, John Minto whose policy platform will and should invoke intensive discussion, and Uesifili Unasa who may cause some difficulty for Len in the South but probably not much.  Of his opponents one has money but no substance, one has substance but no money and the last is struggling with both.

The right has either shattered or is planning a cunning stealth campaign to hide their right wing nature.  Last time they ran a city wide campaign under the Citizen and Ratepayer banner and more recently changed their name to Community and Residents.  They have been unable to settle on a Mayoral candidate and now former C&R chairs George Wood is standing as an independent on the North Shore and Mark Brickell is standing on a new ticket out west.  Linda Cooper, who is number 75 on National’s list and stood as a C&R candidate in Albany last time, is standing as an independent in the Waitakere ward.  Noeline Raffills has left C&R and will stand as an independent in Whau.  Des Morrison is standing down in Franklin.  He has had a reputation for being a moderate and thoughtful councillor and apparently was somewhat put off by the more extreme behaviour of some of his C&R colleagues.

C&R is therefore down to two councillors, Christine Fletcher and Dick Quax.  Fletcher is apparently in dispute with C&R about who her running mate should be and Quax, how can I say this politely, is someone who makes Jami-Lee Ross appear to be balanced and reasonable.

So the election for Councillors will be interesting.  Beware of a number of right wing wolves dressed in the sheeps’ clothing of independents trying to get your vote.

The event which appears to have stunned the right and vastly helped  Len’s re-election chances is the Government’s commitment to the Inner City Loop.  I understand that various draws dropped when the announcement occurred.  The right at Council level had bitterly fought the proposal but in the end the logic behind the project was far too strong.

Len has his critics amongst the left.  He failed to sort out the MUNZ dispute quickly.  The corporate structure was against him but he could have at least gone and stood on the picket line.  He has been reticent about supporting the living wage campaign even though the cost is minimal, and involves a 0.2% rates increase.  And he has been neutral about the pokies for the Sky City convention centre deal but being neutral is sometimes not good enough.  The whole deal has a stench to it and he should have found a way to express disquiet with what is happening.

He has had some major successes.  He has built a coalition amongst the councillors that has held together for the duration of the term.  The Spatial Plan and draft Unitary Plan are brave future looking proposals.  The Unitary Plan is not without its faults, the herculean job of amalgamating 14 plans and trying to affect the future at the same time will not be without incident.  But the general thrust which is to control urban sprawl and to concentrate development around transport nodes will help Auckland grow in a more sustainable way.

Len’s style is impressive.  He is as much as could be hoped for in the circumstances in control of his agenda, knows what he is talking about and has generally led the city in the most exemplary way.  He is approachable, keen to represent all of Auckland, and is always seeking a consensus.

I am sure some will have a strongly held alternative view but I think that we should vote Len Brown for Mayor.  The city could do far worse.
UPDATE:  I should also include the tireless, staunch, peerless and fearless veteran anti corruption campaigner Penny Bright who is also running for the Mayoralty.  Her website is here.

40 comments on “Len is standing again”

  1. muzza 1

    MS – How close are you to some of the names you refer?

    The city could do far worse

    And that’s really the crux of the problem!

  2. karol 2

    Oh, look! John Pallino is from NY and wants Auckland to become like that US city. And look, there is is standing with that other US wannabe, John Key.

    I’m certainly happier that we got Brown instead of Banks. And would take Brown over Pallino.

    However, I am concerned that Brown has moved somewhat rightwards – probably inevitable under the undemocratic structure of Hide’s supercity. And i am wanting to see more solid and vocal left wing input into the council debates. So I am contemplating voting Minto, though I am not totally decided yet. It would be more a protest vote than anything. I’ll be watching to see if there’s a strong opponent against Brown.

    On the local wards – I am looking for more – actually, compared with last election even ONE- left/progressive candidates in Whau ward, and especially some left wing representation of the New Lynn section of the ward.

  3. unicus 3

    I agree – warts and all Len now has the range of skills necessary to hold the city together while it continues to adjust to the inoperable model forced on it by the excreble Rodney Hide .

    Hides is agenda of private ownership of city assets is dead in the water as is his nutty policy of more motorways at the expense of rail development

    However Len is still saddled with a gaggle of Hide’s stooges in the executive team notably his CE Mackay and his planning boss Blakely . The rest of the senior executive team is riddled with national/act friendly operatives . – Len should give them notice he will review all central government executive appointments in his new term . .

    Len made some wise decisions when he found himself in the unfamiliar world of regional and national politics . One was to embrace the expertise developed by pre-existing councils , notably by the ACC and the ARC . His elected councillors were s very average apart from Mike Lee and Sandra Coney who’s collective experience and regional knowledge were critical to his survival .

    Lens brief for the next term – give us back our democracy – take direct control of the CCOs and sack Hide’s appointees from his exec team .

    • karol 3.1

      Lens brief for the next term – give us back our democracy – take direct control of the CCOs and sack Hide’s appointees from his exec team .

      Excellent point!

  4. AmaKiwi 4

    “The right has either shattered or is planning a cunning stealth campaign to hide their right wing nature.”

    They already have defeated the left.

    Cities are always left wing strongholds, which is why the Nats have castrated our city governments. (the Auckland manger run Super City and Brownlee the Czar of CHC.)

    There is no need to beat the Left if the contested positions are virtually powerless.

    • muzza 4.1

      Correct AK!

      Someone finally states the obvious!

      Folk here could do worse, than read Penny Brights posts when she puts them up. Many of them, go a long way to illustrating where the control base inside the council , resides!

      It’s not with the elected members, that’s for sure!

      The council is a cess pool of dirty dealings, bullying and incompetence, at every, and all levels!

      The only reason it works at all, is because there are doers, working overtime, to ensure that the lights remain on!

      • TightyRighty 4.1.1

        Quoting penny bright as a reliable source of information as to what is really happening at the council? Only those on the extreme left, and even then only the delusional ones, believe anything that penny writes. She has zero credibility and is only half a sandwich From wearing a tinfoil hat. No true line of reasoning, tenuous links to evidence. Always thought you were a retard,, thanks for confirming it muzza.

  5. Hilary 5

    Don’t overlook the mayoral campaigns in other cities. Wellington’s is looking interesting with the well-resourced John Morrison trying to marshall the right wing white man vote but making some serious errors, including plaigarising the new CE’s speech in a newspaper article and now some leaked emails.
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/8921890/Email-suggests-councillors-strike-deal-with-CEO

  6. Sanctuary 6

    People who criticise Len Brown to the sort of hysterical levels you often read here are the usual suspects who always seem to regard good as the enemy of their personal perfect.

    I can easily imagine Len Brown leading the Labour Party once he finishes with the mayoralty, and doing a better job than anyone who is currently in the parliamentary Labour party. he gets things – good, progressive things – done in a way that ensures they’ll “stick”. I agree, MUNZ was a disaster but he was handed an absolute dogs breakfast of governance by that half-wit Rodney Hide and the National government are implacably hostile to him.

    Talk to anyone on the council, and you quickly realise just the ho-hum fact that the basic governance of Auckland has gone on smoothly (to the public) after Hide’s botched shotgun merger of the different councils would, in a better informed world, ensure Brown’s reelection.

    Personally, I think any judgement on Brown should wait until he gets a chance to work with a sympathetic government in Wellington.

    • Wayne 6.1

      The Nats are not implacably hostile to Len. That should be obvious from the deals they readily do with him.

  7. Olwyn 7

    There are things that I would have liked Len Brown to have done differently, but I do not know whether he could have without losing out somewhere else. However I do trust that he is a man who cares about his city and chooses his battles accordingly. I also see him as a man whose allegiance is to Auckland rather than his own status among the local and international elite.

  8. Auckland would be well served by John Minto as Mayor as his banner says – ‘You know which side he’s on’. I think it is poor that, as you say mickey – he has substance but no money – bloody money can buy you anything apparently even the office. If you look at the policy platform for Minto what do you see – traffic gridlock, rates and council, Who runs the supercity – Auckland or Wellington?, A Living Wage For Aucklanders, Affordable Rental Housing – all pressing issues for the city and its inhabitants. Anyway it’s not what you stand for and who you stand for that is important in that city apparently – it’s how much money you can put into your spin.

    • Sanctuary 8.1

      Using the Auckland mayoralty so you can grind your multiple axes with show downs all over the place with central government? No thanks.

      Running anything requires a bit more than megaphone policy and a little red book. Minto is fantastic as a community activist. He is an unflagging agitator. As mayor what makes him a good agitator would make him a terrible mayor. He’d be an unmitigated disaster that would see Auckland being run by a government appointed commissioner within two years.

      • marty mars 8.1.1

        Rubbish – that is just your bias showing sanc. Minto is a man of principle and Auckland could use someone like that to stand up for those discarded by the system. If that (under your assumption) means facing off against central government and their agenda then that would be a good thing not a bad thing. The commissioner would come because the governance wasn’t up to the standard of discrimination and division that central government wants. His skills are much wider than holding his little red book (lol) and using a megaphone but I agree he’s pretty good with those.

        • muzza 8.1.1.1

          Marty – should anyone who is not able to be controlled, somehow get to a position of, interference, the governance structure, as it has already shown, will simply adjust to further reduce the already benign position, that is, the mayor!

          The effect would be, further carage!

          • marty mars 8.1.1.1.1

            Well I’m not sure I agree that there will be the slaughter of great numbers of people – the preferred method is slow diminishing through starvation, poverty, treatable sickness and diseases, loss of hope and belief, fear and deprivation.

    • mickysavage 8.2

      Agreed Marty that the depressing reality is that the campaign needs money. The city is just too big to campaign in without money.

      I have a great deal of time for Minto. His idea of free public transport is one that should be debated strongly because although it is radical it could be transformative. And affordable rental housing is vital.

      It was interesting to compare Minto’s website to Pallino’s. His was obviously a cooperative effort of love but lacked the slickness of Pallino’s which is one of the better designed sites I have seen. But Pallino’s policy comments were gimicky and superficial in the extreme whereas Minto’s let you know exactly what he thinks about the big issues.

  9. Santi 9

    The living wage campaign will never take off. dead in the water, kaputt, finito.. as it should be.
    No way to encumber us ratepayers with spending of this kind. No way.

    • framu 9.1

      but spending of other kinds is acceptable?

      of all the items in any councils budget – the living wage increases would comprise a fairly small %

      (thats what ive heard anyway)

      what if the increase was “fiscally neutral” – would that be OK?

    • Pasupial 9.2

      Because you say so? No attempt at referencing reality at all?

      I question your sanity Santi.

    • muzza 9.3

      Santi, your comment is as stupid as it sounded to you, when you throught it up. wastage, is going on, huge wastage, and it’s not by those who would be inline for any, living wage!

      Good to know where people with such view as yours are, please keep posting, we need to keep tabs on you!

      PS – Your rates bill is not coming down, EVER, and if the books were opened, it would be very clear where the continued rises, are attributed to!

      • Draco T Bastard 9.3.1

        wastage, is going on, huge wastage, and it’s not by those who would be inline for any, living wage!

        Most of the wastage seems to be from central government as they force unneeded and unwanted roads on us.

        Your rates bill is not coming down, EVER, and if the books were opened, it would be very clear where the continued rises, are attributed to!

        QFT

    • Draco T Bastard 9.4

      Yes, because people should work for less than it costs to live.

      /sarc

      It’s this attitude, this belief, that we can get everything for less than it costs that is destroying our society.

  10. Sable 10

    Hey could be worse-Banks for example?

  11. fambo 11

    From an admittedly very distant perspective, Len Brown has probably taken the best viable approach to dealing with an intransigent extreme right wing Government. He appears to have approached the Government as if they are as sincere in their intentions as he is, where someone like myself would be deeply cynical. In this way he, and his council, has undermined them in a way that no political party has. He and the Deputy Mayor have maintained hope where others can only experience dispair, looking to the long term when many others can only see a huge obstacle in the way. I call it the “thin end of the wedge” technique. Putting the axe into the smallest possible crack and applying pressure. The end result is that the Government has consistently looked like it is not on the side of Aucklanders.

  12. karol 12

    And how much more of this cronyism do we have to put up with?

    Major bank position for Auckland council CEO

    It may fulfill conflict of interest rules on transparency, but it is still unacceptable for the non-elected council CEO to be part of the corporate banking unacceptable influence over governance.

    Just more jobs for the boys.

  13. Lionel 13

    Is Jamie Lee Ross look a like Cameron Brewer standing he seems like a dangerous piece of work

  14. Lionel 14

    Is Jamie Lee Ross look a like Cameron Brewer standing he seems like a dangerous piece of work

  15. Were you not aware Greg, that I was also an Auckland Mayoral candidate?

    (I find that rather difficult to believe 🙂

    FYI
    ____________________________________________________________________________

    Press Release from Auckland Mayoral candidate Penny Bright:

    “The ‘Conned Senseless’ Building Group report on Auckland transport funding options is fundamentally and fatally flawed”.

    16 July 2013

    http://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/EN/newseventsculture/OurAuckland/News/Pages/keepaucklandmoving.aspx

    “Over the next 30 years, the number of people living in Auckland is expected to increase by up to one million – mostly due to natural population growth. Along with this comes the need to expand and improve Auckland’s transport system.”

    “MYTH ONE: Here we go again, this ‘million more people’ myth and urban legend is now being regurgitated as a primary underpinning reason to expand Auckland transport infrastructure,” says Auckland Mayoral candidate, Penny Bright.

    “No disrespect, but are / were all the members of this ‘Conned Senseless’ Building Group, aware that the use of the Department of Statistics ‘high’ population growth projections, ( the one million more people coming to Auckland in the next 30 years), instead of their recommended ‘medium’ population growth projections, is now being investigated by the Social Services Select Committee?”

    http://www.parliament.nz/en-NZ/PB/Presented/Petitions/5/0/5/50DBHOH_PET3157_1-Petition-of-Penelope-Mary-Bright-requesting-that.htm

    Petition of Penelope Mary Bright

    Requesting that Parliament declines to proceed with the Housing Accords and Special Housing Areas Bill until the lawfulness of the reliance of Auckland Council on the New Zealand Department of Statistics’ “high”population growth projections, instead of their “medium” population growth projections for the Auckland Spatial Plan, has been properly and independently investigated, taking into consideration that both Auckland Transport and Watercare Services Ltd, have relied upon “medium” population growth projections for their infrastructural asset management plans.

    Petition number: 2011/64
    Presented by: Holly Walker
    Date presented: 30 May 2013
    Referred to: Social Services Committee
    ______________________________________________________________________________

    ‘Supplementary Evidence’:

    http://www.occupyaucklandvsaucklandcouncilappeal.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Housing-Accord-and-Special-Housing-Areas-Bil-Supplementary-Evidence-13-Juna-2013.pdf

    ______________________________________________________________________________

    “MYTH TWO: The only sources of monies available for ‘improving Auckland’s transport system’ are: road tolls, or higher rates and fuel taxes’,”

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10898450

    ” How about checking with a ‘fine-tooth comb’ EXACTLY where Auckland Council (and Auckland Council Controlled Organisations (CCOs) rates monies are currently being SPENT, and cutting back rates SPENDING?”

    “No disrespect intended, but are / were all the members of this ‘Conned Senseless’ Building Group, aware that Auckland Council ‘books’ are still not open, and citizens and ratepayers do not know exactly how much public rates monies are being spent on private ‘piggy-in-the-middle’ consultants and contractors?”

    “No disrespect intended, but are / were all the members of this ‘Conned Senseless’ Building Group, aware that in an an Auckland Council Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act (LGOIMA) reply dated 21 November 2011:

    (QUESTION)

    “1) Is the Auckland Council, in a truly ‘open, transparent and democratically-accountable’ way, going to ensure that citizens and ratepayers of the Auckland region are going to be given the
    ‘devilish’ detail, so we can see exactly where our rates monies are being spent on private sector consultants and contractors?

    2) a) .Are the names of the consultants/contractors; the scope, term and value of these contracts going to be published in the Auckland Council Annual Report so that they are available for public scrutiny?

    b) if not- why not?

    (ANSWER)

    Not at this stage. There are 5,000, contracts related to 12,500 suppliers. To collate and pub!ish these would be a major exercise logistically and cost~wise. ….. ”

    [See Item 6 ]

    http://www.occupyaucklandvsaucklandcouncilappeal.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/OCCUPY-AUCKLAND-APPEAL-APPLICATION-BY-APPELLANT-BRIGHT-TO-ADDUCE-NEW-EVIDENCE-pdf.pdf

    “I checked today on the Auckland Council website, and can still find no such publicly available details of ‘contracts issued.'”

    http://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/EN/AboutCouncil/HowCouncilWorks/Pages/working_with_council.aspx

    “Did the ‘Conned Senseless’ Building Group investigate how much public money could be freed up to serve the interests of the public majority, (including Auckland transport funding), by CUTTING OUT THE CONSULTANTS and PRIVATE CONTRACTORS, and returning core Council services ‘in-house’?

    “If there is no ‘cost-benefit’ analysis which proves that private provision of Council services is more cost-effective for the public majority, then as an Auckland Mayoral candidate, I believe that this long-term corporate welfare must cease forthwith.”

    ” My recommendation is that citizens and ratepayers in the Auckland region do your own ‘cost-benefit’ analysis. Since this so-called Auckland ‘$upercity’ was forced upon the Auckland region, have YOUR rates gone up or down?”

    “See? The public majority of the Auckland region have been ‘CONNED’ by the CONsultants, and the CONtractors, and those who serve their interests – arguably the NZ Property Council and the Committee for Auckland,”

    “As an Auckland Mayoral candidate – this is where I stand:

    NO road tolls/ fuel taxes or rates increases to fund Auckland transport infrastructure.

    Open the books.

    Cut out all the consultants and contractors who are effectively on ‘corporate welfare’.

    Get rid of these ‘corporate-controlled’ CCOs, with their appointed Boards of arguably self-serving business people.

    Bring core Council services back ‘in-house’, and employ Council Officers who have a ‘public service’ background and ethos, not private sector functionaries who are now running Auckland Council as if it were their own private company.

    Take back public ownership, operation and control of Auckland passenger transport.

    Why should the public subsidise what we no longer own?

    Change the uniforms and the business cards, and Auckland Council take back operation and management of Auckland Rail, from French multinational Transdev, (formerly known as Veolia Transport Auckland)

    Use public monies for the benefit of the public majority, not the private sector, particularly multi-national corporations.”

    Penny Bright

    ‘Anti-corruption, anti-privatisation’ campaigner

    2013 Auckland Mayoral candidate

    • mickysavage 15.1

      Apologies I was aware Penny but did not include you in the article. Will do so now.

    • Draco T Bastard 15.2

      Not at this stage. There are 5,000, contracts related to 12,500 suppliers. To collate and pub!ish these would be a major exercise logistically and cost~wise. …..

      Which would indicate that these people are incapable of doing their job and thus should be fired.

  16. Yes 16

    National love Len, easy to move into their way of thinking and good for a slap down if he goes too far of track.

    As for Penny Bright – people who poll low poll low for a reason.

    As for the Pastor from South Auckland – hmmm, charity starts home

    Uncle Sam candidate – agree

    if i was in auckland i would vote Len

    • mickysavage 16.1

      Stop trying to put us off …

      National do not love Len. The amount of shin kicking and arm twisting that has gone on is incredible, as is Len’s sunny response to it.

      The Inner City Loop shows that despite National’s refusal to do it, logic and perseverance sometimes wins.

  17. jaymam 17

    Since putting tolls on existing roads is extremely expensive and unfair and very stupid, I will not vote for anyone who suggests doing that. In fact I will help to campaign against them. A tax on fuel is fairer, if more money is really needed.

    • Yes 17.1

      good point!

    • Draco T Bastard 17.2

      A tax on fuel is fairer, if more money is really needed.

      It’s not. Really, we just need to spend the money better by building better public transport. It’s cheaper and more effective than building more roads.

  18. millsy 18

    The hard working South Auckland cleaners who slide into Auckland Central in the middle of the night, and litterally clean up after the movers and shakers will be disappointed to learn that the man they supported and voted for is pretty much going to go all out and price them off the road.

    Brown likes to go on about closing down pokie centres and bottle stores, but will he put libraries, community centres, and other community amenities in their place? Doesn’t look like it. Not with the fiscal prudence he goes on about, already, he has threatened to close libraries around the city, and is starving parks of funding. I’m not a big fan on liqour stores on every corner, but there is a fine line between reducing substance addiction in vulnerable communites and keeping booze out of the reach of poor people. And I am starting to feel the line has been crossed.

    The head of Auckland Transport has implied that there is nothing to stop the buses from being taken into public ownership. Alas, I fear that Brown isnt bold enough to build up a New Zealand version of New York’s MTA.

    As for a living wage, I am of the belief that public sector organisations (as well as co-ops, etc) should set benchmarks in wages and conditions, and the fact is, that council workers contribute a lot. They keep our streets clean, our gardens, parks and public toilets tidy and looking good, they ensure that dangerous dogs are kept off the streets (copping a lot of abuse in the process). They help out at our pools, ensuring our kids swim safely, they ensure that we dont get food poisoning (or worse) when we have our Friday night fish and chips,they ensure that our buildings are safe and resilient for years to come, and they also are only too glad to help us if we want to track down that elusive libary book. They have a part to play in this world.

  19. BIGDOG 19

    Don’t be to hard on Dick Quax.An interesting theory I heard at a meeting the other day was that all the running he’s done starved his brain of oxygen,thus turning him into the nasty piece of work that he appears, when really he would rather be helping old ladies over crossings etc.

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