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Banks lazy and arrogant

May 5, 2004


Banks lazy and arrogant

John Banks's lack of performance as Auckland Mayor in the past three years is highlighted today by Auckland Mayoral candidate Chris Fletcher following the release under the Official Information Act of Mr Banks's abysmal attendance record at Council meetings.

In releasing material obtained from the Auckland City Council, under the Official Information Act, Chris Fletcher confirmed that between October 2001 and March 2004, John Banks attended just:

2 out of 30 Transport meetings
0 out of 21 Law & Order meetings
0 out of 22 Community Service meetings
2 out of 35 Finance meetings.

"John Banks talks about leadership. To me leadership includes fronting up to the hard issues - it is about being open, honest and accountable. I find it interesting that when I requested information from this Council, I was told that if I wanted anything I would have to apply under the Official Information Act.

"Perhaps this lack of interest in open process accounts for a doubling in legal fees since John Banks assumed office."

Expenditure on legal fees went from $3,467,000 in the period between November 2001 and June 2002, to $5,848,000 in the corresponding 2002-2003 period (also released under the OIA). And it looks like the same will happen again for 2003-2004 - currently the figure is over $3 million.

"John Banks talks about being the great statesman. I know that he aspires to be the Muldoon of Auckland - but at least Muldoon regularly attended his committee meetings! Though Banks is happy to take his remuneration - including the $40,000 he voted himself by way of salary increase this year - there is an obligation on him to participate in the affairs of Council."

In his electioneering last time, Banks promised there would be no meeting longer than an hour. Notice he didn't promise to attend any though!

"Despite his grandstanding, I challenge him to identify any new infrastructural project he has initiated in his term as Mayor."

"There has been little progress on SH16 or SH20 in the past three years thanks to Banks's obsession with the Eastern Corridor - we really have to urgently get the regionally agreed Land Transport Plan working to get Auckland moving."

Banks's failure to take a real interest in our City's transport woes is evidenced by his appalling lack of attendance at the meetings of the Council's Transport Committee. This may account for the Government's decision to award transport governance, including planning, funding and delivery of transport projects, to the Auckland Regional Council instead of Auckland City. At least senior members of the ARC attend meetings on a regular basis.

How can you lead a Council when you're absent? Why should you be paid when you are not there? Banks's best excuse for his non-attendance is that he has a majority. Not good enough! If he's not attending meetings, then he should refund to ratepayers the remuneration he's receiving for these meetings.

"What is disappointing is that when the claims of non-attendance were put to Mr Banks last week by the Central Leader he would not confirm them. That is why I am releasing this information passed on to me by the City under the Official Information Act."

ENDS

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