Dick Hubbard - Address Auck. Chamber Of Commerce
Auckland Mayoral Candidate
ADDRESS TO AUCKLAND CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
TUESDAY 14TH SEPTEMBER.
I am passionate about this city. I am proud of this city. And I have great plans for this city. I had big plans when I started making breakfast cereals from a small factory in Onehunga more than 15 years ago. Today, I have 180 staff and a turnover of nearly $40 million. Today I speak to you as a businessman. A businessman who had a vision and made it happen.
I am going to talk to you about my vision for Auckland but firstly I want to make a point. Over the past week, there has been a noticeable deterioration in the style of debate.
One line jibes, insults, exaggeration, misrepresentation and false allegations have no place in this campaign. We have more serious issues at hand!
This campaign is too important to be demeaned by cheap political games. The stakes are too high! The business world does not work this way and nor should we.
As candidates we must not stand to be judged by who has the best one liner. I, therefore, give notice to my Mayoral colleagues today that I will not be distracted. I will do as I said I would do on day one of this campaign. Debate the issues and the policies. It is as simple as that! I want what is best for Auckland.
Let me tell you exactly what I stand for and judge me on that.
No. 1 – Style of Leadership!
I will repeat yet again that we must move from the divisive to the inclusive. I am more concerned with the “we” than the “I”. All successful businesses today have inclusive team building leaders at the top. On the other hand, Councillors tell me that City Hall today is a bitter factionalised place where insults and threats fly freely. In fact, the present Mayor opened his first session of the Council with the phrase “We are the winners, you are the losers - don’t forget that”. That is ugly. I will make a commitment today. I will work closely with all the elected Councillors. And I will work closely with the Chief Executive of Auckland City to bring out the best in the 1,700 employees that work for Auckland City Council. The ultimate beneficiaries of having a highly motivated staff will not only be the staff themselves but the ratepayers of Auckland City.
No. 2 – Transport, Transport, Transport!
Business is now paying dearly for the current transport crisis. We have a second rate transport system and we can’t wait any longer! I have been hearing you clearly over the last three weeks. The message is crystal clear! The cost of business is skyrocketing because we cannot get to our jobs and our appointments on time. Our goods cannot get to our factories and warehouses on time. Modern business concepts such as “just in time” do not and cannot work in Auckland anymore. On day one in the Mayor’s office, I give you a commitment that I will do my utmost to get Auckland moving again. The Auckland of the future will need a public transport system that includes light and heavy rail. The Auckland of the future will need underground road and rail links. The City of Sydney laid its underground loop 50 years ago when the population was less than that of Auckland today. We are lagging behind and we are starting to pay the price for it.
No. 3 – City Structure
The message from the Chamber of Commerce and the EMA is received loud and clear. You, as businesses, want a simplified structure for Auckland with less bureaucracy. So do I! I believe this is in the best interests of the people of Auckland - not just business. The present structure is convoluted and complex. You would never have a structure like that in the business world. Overseas, there are cities considerably larger than Auckland that have one administrative structure. As Mayor, I will foster debate over the creation of Auckland as a “Super City” to simplify the convoluted governance structure.
No. 4 - Business support
I want to see a regionally unified business support structure. The ARC currently spends $1.5m on AREDS – Auckland Regional Economic Development Strategy. I don’t understand where this money is going? I suspect, nor do you! As the Competitive Auckland report of two years ago suggested - Auckland Cities must present a united voice to attract international business. There were some very sound concepts on the Competitive Auckland report particularly in the area of attracting new high technology industries and services to Auckland. We must pick up on those. As my policy statement published in the NZ Herald today states – I will foster closer links with the Chamber of Commerce, EMA and Exporters Association to ensure their concerns are heard and understood by Council.
No. 5 – Vision
We must look beyond 3 year and 5 year cycles to the city of the future – a city of 50 years time. Cities have to be built on the premise that they will last indefinitely. The visionary cities of 50 years ago are now clearly reaping the benefits. If we don’t plan now, our grandchildren will pay for this lack of foresight. Our city must be a sustainable one, environmentally and socially. I want a vibrant city – rich in culture, arts, design and diversity. A vibrant city in turn attracts vibrant business. I will make Auckland City an attractive place for business. The people of Auckland can only benefit from this.
Finally, “insult leadership” must stop. The choice you have is between two ex-National Party career politicians or a no-nonsense businessman and business-like Mayor. I rest my case.