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Prominent Councillor Challenges Manukau Mayoralty

Prominent Manukau City Councillor, Len Brown, Challenges For Mayoralty

One of Manukau City’s most prominent councillors, Len Brown, has announced he will challenge Sir Barry Curtis for the Mayoralty in the Local Government Elections 2004. Here is Len Brown’s speech in verbatim.


Manukau Councillor Len Brown announces he will challenge Sir Barry Curtis for the Mayoralty.

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Speech: In 1965 my family came to Otara from Taranaki at the same time that the Manukau City Council was being created as a territorial local authority. The population of Manukau at that time was approximately 60,000.00 people. Manukau has now grown to 320,000.00 people, rapidly overhauling Christchurch as New Zealand’s second largest city.

During the intervening years Manukau has metamorphosised into a cosmopolitan city of extraordinary cultural diversity with an unparalleled pace of urban growth and burgeoning business life. What was six separate towns interfused with rural land and coastland is now primarily physically interlinked. I sense Manukau has matured from infancy to adulthood. It is now on the cusp of its critical second stage of development. The city has been physically created and is now in the process of blending separate communities into a city. The challenge is to now work within our city for a recognition of ourselves as Manukau residents with a pride in our place. A universal pride amongst us all of our place as citizens of Manukau.

We have been blessed with political continuity during the history of Manukau. Since its inception Manukau has been served by just three mayors. I acknowledge the extraordinary service and leadership of Sir Barry, however I believe that it is time for a change. Today I announce my candidacy for the mayoralty of Manukau in the 2004 election. I wish to offer myself to the citizens of Manukau as a person capable of taking Manukau through the next stage of its civic development. The development of a dynamic southern city.

We need to re-invigorate the Council and re-focus on Manukau. We need to upgrade and embellish public transport within Manukau City. We need strong leadership and rigour on financial management to harness the growth of our city. We must set strong parameters on the physical growth of our city and re-confirm our city’s commitment to sustainable preservation of our coastal and physical environment. We need to ensure preservation and enhancement of the Manukau way through enlightened public ownership and management of our infrastructure and assets. Lastly as Manukau grows together we must re-ignite the passion for community development and fashion alongside our bitumen roads and concrete footpaths the community and social links between differing neighbors and differing communities to ensure a safe, secure and cohesive city.

I have relished during my time on Council being Chairman of the Counties Manukau Health Council for the last 8 years. This has presented me the honor of advocating for our community’s great health needs during a time of major health change and reform. The challenge of advocating regionally and nationally on the aspirations and the needs of Manukau citizens is a challenge I find compelling.

To my community I wish to confirm that I will not seek re-election as a Councillor for Otara. I indicated this to my party two years ago and I now publicly confirm my position. I have loved the role of representative of our community and have attempted to lead, galvanize and advocate for Otara to the best of my ability. I believe in the need in communities, cities and nations to replenish leadership at regular intervals, to keep challenging community and city growth with new ideas, initiatives, energy and enthusiasm. After 12 years it is time to promote a new leader within our community of Otara.

Over the next 12 months I wish to promote a debate across our city focused on the future. I am going to be knocking on people’s doors, running cottage meetings, site meetings, business meetings, corner meetings, I will be attending malls, halls, fairs and town centers. I will be raising issues on all aspects of our civic life but more importantly for us as a city I will be asking a question similar to that that J F Kennedy asked of his nation in 1960. “Ask not what my city can do for me but what can I do for my city”. Any community or city is as good or great as the preparedness of its citizens to actively participate and commit themselves with pride to its civic development. I am rising to the challenge of city leadership and I ask the citizens of Manukau to rise to the challenge of increasing participation and civic activity for the public good.

In this campaign I will be standing as an independent candidate. I will not be standing with any ticket. I am seeking support from all peoples across the city. In acknowledging the Manawhenua of this city I also acknowledge our city is a diverse cosmopolitan city born of immigration. Manukau is a city to which many people have migrated either from within New Zealand as my family did or from overseas. My community and family background and political experience has fitted me well for this job. I can walk with comfort and ease in any community or culture of our city.

I regard being an elected representative as one of the greatest callings in life and I have spent my life training for this job. The experience gained through my legal career of 20 years has been a crucial element in the development of my political leadership.

I accept that I enter this campaign as an underdog. To achieve the goal that I seek, I will be building a community based team of supporters and workers. I therefore seek the support of any across the city wishing to share in a movement for change and to build with me a new vision and reality for Manukau, the economic, cultural and social powerhouse of New Zealand.

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