Mayoral Candidates talk Meadowbank & St Johns Issues at AGM

24 June 2016

Five frontrunning Mayoral candidates attended our AGM on June 20: Phil Goff, John Palino, Vic Crone, David Hay and Mark Thomas. Unfortunately Penny Bright was a no-show despite earlier promises to attend.

Each candidate delivered a three minute elevator pitch, then we put four questions to them. Two questions about about tough issues facing all Aucklanders, and two about specific local concerns.

The questions:

  1. How will you improve financial prudence, improve efficiency in Council and reduce debt?
  2. How will you address Auckland’s housing supply and affordability challenges, while making sure our urban suburbs a) don’t decrease in value, b) retain green spaces and c) we urban ratepayers don’t have to fund millions of dollars in new urban sprawl?
  3. How will you ensure our ageing population will be served by our public transport options, given our new proposed bus network will require more walking, more bus and train changes (people will be more exposed to weather), and the fact that there is limited park and ride at train stations?
  4. How will you fund connections from Meadowbank & St Johns into the Eastern Pathway, given that the pathway itself (funded by NZTA and Auckland Council) currently includes very limited access for us and could potentially link us with our in-zone schools across the valley? Currently Orakei Local Board is expected to fund connections for us into the pathway.

The responses:

Phil Goff: With 825 people coming to Auckland per week, traffic and housing affordability are key issues. Central and local government need to work together. Super city good in theory due to economies of scale but is not working. Need to make Auckland “where talent wants to live” (quote from Paul Callaghan).

  1. Need 20 billion of infrastructure and can’t borrow more or increase rates. Instead, need bonds or road user charges. Current loss to economy of Auckland’s transport issue is 3 billion per year.
  2. Rental costs going up six times faster than inflation. Current level of growth means we need to go up and out, but also need to control immigration and speculation. Intensification should follow transport hubs, e.g. Panmure has so many used car yards around station – this could instead be used for housing.
  3. Specifically addressed the question about our local buses – results of consultation will be released on Thursday 23 June (see our news article Auckland Transport Announces New Bus Routes from 2017). There were 3700 submissions. In general, Auckland’s transport issues need people getting out of cars and into public transport. Need airport links, light rail and safe cycle ways for schools.
  4. Strongly supports the project, but fiscal responsibility means that can’t provide everything locals want. Not promising anything.

Mark Thomas: Wants a city that works better. Currently trying to be all things to all people. Has solutions for transport, growth and budget.

  1. Believe rewriting Auckland Plan at heart of solving fiscal issues. Too much is being paid for by local boards instead of Council.
  2. Need to focus on intensifying housing in specific areas owned by Council. Improve consents process, says there is a ’20 day lie’ whereby consents are meant to take 20 days but in reality take much longer.
  3. Promised to communicate results of bus consultation when he is briefed on Thursday (which he duly did). Wants to restructure AT into 6 local boards, following Council & local board current model. This will help better address local transport issues.
  4. Very grateful to Government for this but the lack of connections problem highlights that not enough local people were involved in the planning of this project.

David Hay: Stood for Greens in Epsom during 2007 general election. Wants Auckland to be carbon zero by 2060. Says he knows Council well, including legal framework.

  1. Need a new plan for Council to work with central Government.
  2. Believes we can’t build good quality, affordable housing and supply can be increased with prefab, modular housing. Supply need to exceed demand to quell speculation. Need to build quickly as well as in lots of areas. Need to collaborate with building industry, e.g. housing inspectors.
  3. Agree with John Palino about polycentric (satellite) cities. Favours rapid transport networks (i.e. light rail) and frequent feeder networks into frequent routes for inner suburbs like Meadowbank & St Johns.
  4. This project should not be funded by Council. Orakei Local Board should pay, as money is needed in other parts of Auckland too.

Vic Crone: Council spending is out of control, e.g. 50% more spend in Council staff. Council needs a shakeup – need to control this currently out-of-control organisation. Wants a world class city. We must all be able to put roots down in Auckland, and solve complex housing supply issue.

  1. Has experience to unite Council into efficiency: senior infrastructure (telco and utilities) industry experience. Has backing of 9 councillors. Wants a culture transformation at Council in a fiscally responsible way.
  2. Housing is supply issue, need more land, infrastructure and to improve consenting process. Need to get CCOs (i.e. Watercare and Auckland Transport) on board. Density needs to be reasonable. Need a leader to pull these facets together with central govt.
  3. With transport, doesn’t want to ask for more money, instead look to public private partnerships, e.g. perhaps with Uber. Technology will help with current challenges, e.g. driverless feeder vehicles. Auckland Transport not using data to create suitable routes; they are dictating instead. Current challenges with older people and female population after hours – do not feel safe.
  4. Wants rates spend put in context: money being sucked from this ward yet we are not getting investment back. Council needs to listen harder to local boards [which would have highlighted need for local connections]. Push Auckland Transport to access funding.

John Palino: Look to overseas cities that work well; all have satellite cities to handle intensification. Satellite cities (e.g. ‘nodes’ at Albany, Henderson and a new city built from ground up in South Auckland) that have transport and job options are at core of his plan. Current Council growth plan is weak.

  1. Promised to reduce rates by 10% next term through staff cost savings. Need to make Council more efficient and focus on core Council business. Current overcrowding and congestion is unacceptable.
  2. Intensify CBD areas that have public transport, instead of urban areas that don’t. Open urban limit. Need to maintain our beautiful suburbs.
  3. Need parking around transport hubs. 12% of people are commuting to CBD
  4. Believes that cycling is core business of Council, especially given Tamaki Drive asset in our ward.

More information

More information about each candidate:

Media coverage

To Meadowbank, where would-be mayors are upstaged by the Queen of the East by Tim Murphy, The Spinoff, June 21, 2016

Huge thanks to our sponsors

Photos

Credit: Kevin Kevany

Newly elected treasurer, Barry Stuart, and Linda Jones of Meadowbank Corner Chemist signing up new members

MP for Tamaki Simon O’Connor, Orakei Local Board Chair Desley Simpson, and Desley’s Mum

Flowers to thank our outgoing chair Ruth Mackintosh, with committee member Carmel Claridge (left) and secretary, Lynda McCarthny

Phil Goff, MP for Mt Roskill and Auckland mayoral candidate speaks at our AGM

David Hay, Auckland mayoral candidate speaks at our AGM

Mayoral panel, from left to right: David Hay, Mark Thomas, Vic Crone, Phil Goff and John Palino at our AGM

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Full house at our AGM

Mark Thomas, current Orakei Local Board member and mayoral candidate speaks at our AGM

Vic Crone, Auckland mayoral candidate speaks at our AGM

Packed house at our AGM to hear Auckland’s Mayoral candidates

AGM attendee Ms Jackie Hui, newly elected committee member Carmel Claridge, Orakei Local Board Chair Desley Simpson and Orakei Local Board member Colin Davis

Refreshments thanks to Barfoot & Thompson Meadowbank and Countdown Meadowbank