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Christine Fletcher Returns to Political Fray

Hon Chris Fletcher QSO Auckland City Mayoral Candidate

Speech Mt. Eden Rotary Club Langtons Mangawhau

So… I have returned to the political fray. Why?

SIMPLE………Because Auckland is hurting.

It is hurting because the good work started when I was mayor is now being undone, by a mayor who couldn't care less about destroying a city, so long as he and his cronies make out.

I was asked this week why anyone should vote for a defeated mayor?

In my political career I have lost only once and I have learned from that experience.

I'll be upfront with you. I was not defeated because I was a bad mayor. I was sideswiped by some unexpected personal issues and consequently I ran a lousy campaign.

But all that is behind me now and this campaign is well planned and staged to ensure people young and old send in their postal ballots. I have a good team, a good strategy and six months to meet the Aucklanders who, like me, want to take back ownership of the city they love.

This campaign will highlight Banks’s dishonour.

The constant way he claims credit for others’ work and flip flops on issues.

The projects he now champions were ones he had nothing to do with, commenced under my mayoralty at a time where there was no majority on council.

I am known for telling it like it is.

I stick with the facts, like the $4billion I warned the public about for the Eastern Motorway in 2001.

In 1998 when I became mayor I found the city at the mercy of property developers - the project then was called Britomart.

It was a disaster.

If I had not intervened, Aucklanders would own 11 high-rise buildings, with no tenants to fill them and more than a $300million debt.

What I see in Auckland now is the same short-cut thinking, property speculator get-rich- quick mentality prevailing.

This mayor, by his own admission accepts there is leakage of confidential council information to people who stand to benefit from it financially.

We are feeding our rates to a bureaucracy knowing that the basic principles of corporate governance have been breached.

Breached at the highest level by a self promoting egotist who calls himself a leader.

This has to stop right now.

The people of Auckland must understand I am here ready to finish the task I started.

This city is just as unsafe as ever, for the elderly, for youth, and our ratepayers.

The Eastern Motorway, "Honest John's" only solution for anything, is a $4billion road to nowhere.

It is a Manukau loop road. It will not help one Auckland ratepayer get to work faster.

What it helps is the ego of a pompous, strutting mayor who would leave our youth the inheritors of his folly. A huge debt and a still failing transport problem.

Let's get this straight once and for all. This campaign is not about public transport over roads. There is a coherent and regionally-agreed balanced plan for both.

Rather, this campaign is not about extravagant, wasteful schemes that benefit no one other than those who are paid to build stupid monuments to political folly exposing ratepayers into nothing more than the road into Banksruptcy.

I will stop this madness.

What has Banks actually started or achieved?

Yet here we have a mayor in an unseemly manner taking the credit now that everyone can see the completed structure. A huge asset for the city in both functionality and tourism terms.

Britomart.

My work.

My commonsense.

My battle with the "Yes Minister" mentality inside the Auckland City Council to bring sanity to the ever growing rate burden being imposed on you.

John Banks said in September 2001 at a debate at the American Chamber of Commerce "there will be no rates increases!"

They were weasel words.

I might not always tell you what you wish to hear but I have never lied to you. I never will. That is my solemn pledge.

Unlike those that pursue power with extravagant promises. I always look closely at the fine print.

In 2001 - when Banks also promised

No meetings longer than hour - Yeah right!

No more consultants - well only close mates and cronies. "Honest John" probably thinks Sir William Birch probably earned his tens of thousands of dollars by frightening elderly pensioners.

I don't think so.

Let’s look at the small print. This council has not had open process so I have had to go digging under the Official Information Act because I believe that you have a right to know things like:

Legal fees for the current council doubling

From $3.5Million in the year ending 2002 to $5.85million in the year ending 2003 with all likelihood of even bigger jumps this year.

You might think I am sounding petty. The current mayor delivered cheap political shots during the last election for what purpose? So he could be Mayor? To achieve what? And for whom?

What has he achieved? Other than pander to the ego of a few other political hacks who want to bleed the ratepayers’ money into their own pockets.

They don’t care about the city or about providing an old fashion concept of the value of money.

So, when you hear people talk of me just remember I stopped them when they sought to take millions of your ratepayers’ money.

I was the mayor that sorted out Britomart.

I have never sought power for power’s own sake or personal gain.

And I'm back.

I will sort out the nonsense. I have a track record for that. Look at Britomart.

Then there are those who oppose my principled approach to politics and name call - you know the ones that call me flaky.

Well that doesn't deter me. That tag was dreamt up years ago to marginalise me when I stood up to the old boys club in the National Party and didn’t play their funny games.

They didn't know how to deal with honesty then and there are those who represent corporate greed today who still don't know.

After years at the coalface of politics I have developed the courage and conviction required to champion issues that run counter to the establishment view. I have crossed the floor and stood alone in Parliament and in council. I did that for this local community on education, if you all recall, for Auckland to save our assets and nationally on environmental issues to save our country for our children.

Together, we developed a vision for Auckland as First City of the Pacific. I got my council to adopt that strategy for the city which all councillors accepted.

I still have that vision. It's time to make it happen. I am passionate about this city.

This city needs a mayor who can work with everyone. Someone who doesn't polarize people or antagonize the other local bodies we need to work with for the common good.

This great city has to be able to look after the people who live and work here, including businesses that we want to thrive here. We also need to protect and preserve those elements of the city which makes this city of ours unique. That is also the best way to protect New Zealand's biggest industry, tourism.

Here in Mt. Eden, I will ensure that there is funding to improve, to protect and to manage our unique volcanic cones.

Like this one we are on now.

This mountain is one of the most visited sites in New Zealand with over one million visitors a year.

The mountain is showing the strain. You only need to look at the crater and tracks to see that. Mt Eden residents and businesses have been trying for the last three years in vain to get the council to do something to respect and preserve these icons in our city.

The Methodist Church in Mt. Eden village is another. The local community have had to take up the fight. I assume because it is election year that Banks and the boys now suddenly are interested in local heritage and think that preservation of the church is a good idea.

These local issues though, are part of a larger problem that we need to address - that people and our precious environment are being victimised and abused by a small clique of men with power but no sense of responsibility.

Everyone must have equal access to City Hall. To know they will be listened to rather than dismissed as idiots.

Genuine public consultation will be a cornerstone of my mayoralty. Not like the current lukewarm lip service provided by this administration.

In this regard, you need look no further than the farce that is occurring the Eden Epsom area over our reserves and possible private use of open space.

I will reintroduce the Complaints Office started in my mayoral term to allow residents and the public access to council to express their concerns and problems which otherwise would get lost in bureaucracy.

Banks closed this office to his shame.

In co-operation with the government while I was mayor, planning got under way to fund solutions for Auckland's traffic, congestion and public transport problems. You will note the difference with "government funding". That did not happen overnight. But Government eventually after 50 years came to the table. They agreed to purchase the rail corridors that should never have been given away in the first place.

Auckland's traffic problems are not just Auckland rate payers problem. It an issue for all 7 Councils that make up greater Auckland.

Auckland Harbour is a jewel.

Yet here we are as Auckland City ratepayers buying back Westhaven Marina Because John Banks let Auckland get into such a pickle that he had get the Prime Minister to come to our rescue and then to say that it is good deal to use your rates to buy back from a company, we the public own.

What madness!

It is almost as silly as his personal vision as Minister of Police to merge the traffic officers with the police. Where has that got us? Certainly not 900 more police. Another broken promise!.

Public access to our waterfront is our birthright.

It would have been far more cost effective to sack the whole Board of Infrastructure (who are responsible for the appointments of the Port of Auckland Board) before they had done the deal.

The Ports of Auckland area is a disgrace. The people of Auckland have been blocked from enjoying the Harbour by successive port management bodies.

It is for Auckland City to control - not a group of old men. It is time they got the message or the sack.

They will only get that message from a Mayor who is not part of their cosey pack. And that Mayor is me. I did it with Britomart and I will do it again.

Now what about Bruce Hucker I hear you ask? I made my intentions clear a long time ago. I didn’t make this a 3 horse race. Hucker has.

I do not take his candidacy seriously while he intends having a bob each way by standing for both the Mayoralty and Western Bays and touting the fabricated information Bank's team send him.

Hucker needs to be very careful in his criticism of me. Without my casting vote not only would he NEVER have been Deputy Mayor. NONE of the policies that make up First City of the Pacific would have been adopted. I do remember how much he enjoyed the authority that came with the role of Deputy. Perhaps that's why he wants to be the Mayor.

But I also remember when anything became controversial, he became wobbly and was quite happy for me to front the issues.

Leadership for me is about being accountable all of the time not just when it suits.

Banks needs to remember this too. He promised a safer city to the old, vulnerable and frightened. Well little old ladies are still getting bashed, robberies, hard drugs, even white collar crime are near or at an all time high, fostered in part by a mayor who embodies a culture I - me - mine, a culture of grab, snatch and take.

In Auckland today there are many lonely people and there are some enormous social issues that sooner or later affect us all.

Forget his posturing on Boy Racers and think about what the city might have done to curb the skyrocketing use of the drug P with its associated gangs and intimidation issues.

I haven't heard one word from him on this. There is an urgent requirement for detox centres for our kids who want to come clean. Banks doesn't want to know about these issues. Perhaps he's simply unable to care. If that is the case, he should be getting the help he need to deal with this personality defect, rather than trying to lead the city.

Anyone who has dealt with addiction issues will tell you there is a little word "denial" .

I say Banks is addicted to power and he has a major problem with denial on what the real issues are.

I watched the stunt of our strutting little mayor in robes and gold chain spending $100,000 on a 21st century royalty parade shamelessly claiming credit for the work of others

He is not the Lord Mayor of London and he is not entitled to spend $100,000 on an ego trip like that was a frivolous waste of Auckland rate payers money

I too laugh at the attempts of the councils hiring expensive spin doctors to convince you that some disaster or waste of money is good for you

This election is going to be full of spin because nothing positive has happened in the last three years that wasn't already underway during my administration

You will never get spin from me.

I tell it like it is.

I respect other viewpoints.

I am always open to reason and debate

Auckland needs to first

Stop wasting money

Second; return to commonsense

Third; work for real solutions not grandiose dreams that have no benefit to anyone but the dreamers

Fourth; take control of our Harbour's our greatest natural asset and stop directors of a company we own from selling to us what is already ours

Fifth we must take urgent steps to protect and preserve our environmental and architectural heritage.

I am not going to run a campaign of spin pollsters or paid flatterers.

If this city is to have a future there is no place for people who promote their self gain above that of the people of this city.

I get things done, kiwi style…my style

Who else could have brought together everyone to build the Britomart railway station as the basis for an upgraded and revitalised commuter system across the region

What did Auckland get as a heritage from the last three years

The opening of a state-of-the-art train station I put in place -

But still no decent trains and not even an automatic ticket dispenser

A Council that ran secret meetings, missing financial deadlines for the development of my vision for the Britomart historic precinct

Further decayed suburban stations, and a city full of weeds,

A v8 race that Wellington wisely no longer wants,

The eastern motorway simply won't happen no matter. Why?

Because the city will be bankrupt if they try the go-ahead

The ratepayers simply cannot afford it

The city has a simple choice. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to work out what that is.

I am a mayor who knows how to say no when commonsense leaves the discussion.

I do my homework thoroughly

I budget carefully

I do not go running with my hand in the air to the head girl in Wellington to buy assets from a company the region owns.

It's all about a fair go for all, not pandering to vested interest.

I will put in place financial contributions to be paid by developers (under the Local Government Act) rather than defer and delay the payment of such contributions or the introduction of this policy which is the current position of Banks and his boys.

it's all about community that respects the efforts of its members, not denigrates them,

it's all about learning from life experience, not ignoring it

My council will take a leadership role in making this a guiding principle in civic affair's

There will be no spin

There will be no waste of your valuable rate payers money.

There will be no schemes that cause rabid rate increases

To set the example there will be no pay increases for either CEO or Mayor under my leadership.

Proper standards for council will be set and adhered to. The last three years I've had to face precisely who I am, where I'm going and what I want to do

I have unfinished business as mayor of Auckland City

That's why I'm back.

SO … I put everyone on notice accordingly

Chris is back. BUT I CAN'T DO IT ALONE. I NEED YOUR HELP TO HELP ME … SAVE OUR CITY.

John Banks - no thanks!

ENDS


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