Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


Public lose interest in this council, 2016 to be a watershed

Public lose interest in this council, 2016 set to be a watershed

Column by Auckland Councillor Cameron Brewer
16 April 2014

The second term Auckland Council is proving to be an interesting one and very different to the inaugural 2010 – 2013 Governing Body.

We are currently going through a budget round to lock in where council’s $3b expenditure is directed for the forthcoming 2014/15 financial year.

This year we had fewer than 2,000 written submissions from the public on our Draft Annual Plan with only a few dozen turning up to speak to their submissions. The Mayor takes this as a vote of confidence in the council, but I take a different view.

My view is that the public interest in this council is at an all-time low because Aucklanders are increasingly of the view that this term is a bit of a lost cause, a bit of a political basket case. The Mayor has hung on to his political career but has lost a lot of political capital. Whatever your view on that, this is bad for Auckland.

The place is devoid of credible leadership at a time when Auckland needs it most. Term two has long been dubbed the “doing” term, the “implementation of all the plans” term, where “the rubber hits the road”, and where this council has to make the “tough decisions”.

Whatever your politics the Mayor had a pretty good first term. Bringing a disparate region together and against the odds securing some Government commitment for funding the City Rail Link were probably the two big successes. He was able to push through his agenda, with about half the voting public and a majority of councillors consistently behind him.

The second term is very a different beast. The Mayor has lost the public and he’s no longer guaranteed the votes around the table of 20 councillors. My successful amendment in December to throw out his Living Wage proposal is proof of that.

The Super City legislation was all about giving Auckland a strong Mayor. He still has the powers but he no longer wields the influence. We saw this recently with the Prime Minister refuting outright the Mayor’s request to further fast-track the City Rail Link. In election year, political party leaders normally queue up to be seen with the Auckland Mayor but so far the photo opportunities have been few and far between.

Auckland should be in the box seat, but unfortunately we’re still bearing the brunt of many a dinner party joke up and down the country.

The reason why we’re not drumming up much public interest in the likes of our annual budget is not because people are in agreement with this council’s direction but more so the apathy reflects some hopelessness the public is feeling.

The lack of interest and coverage shows that the public and media have effectively given up on this term, with 2016 set to be a watershed election.

One thing’s for sure the third term will be just as different again with a new Mayor and many new councillors after a whole new public mandate and direction sought and secured.

In the meantime all councillors are committed to making a difference. For me it means keeping the Mayor accountable and focusing on the likes of fighting for lower rates increases and pushing for more sustainable debt levels. I will also continue to advocate for regional funding for projects in the Orakei ward area.

What’s more this term, I am picking my fights a little more strategically and not wading into everything and anything. I’m also really enjoying helping constituents with their local problems. Always happy to hear from the public via cameron.brewer@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

Overseas Investment: Auditor-General To Examine OIO

The Auditor-General is to examine how the Overseas Investment Office collects and manages information following a request from the parliament's finance and expenditure committee. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Bill English Living In Denial

The working poor have been a direct byproduct of the economic policies in vogue for the past 30 years or more, all over the Western world... That anger was evident in the Brexit vote, and it underlies the support for Donald Trump in the United States. More>>

ALSO:

Final Reading Of Parental Leave Bill: Families With New Babies Victims Of Veto

“For the first time ever, a Bill will have a third reading debate and no vote will be taken at the end because the National Government has used its veto – an extreme measure against families,” says the Bill’s sponsor, Labour MP Sue Moroney. More>>

ALSO:

Water, Pests, Erosion...: Commissioner Releases Mixed Report Card On Environment

The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment has released a mixed report card in her assessment of the state of New Zealand’s environment. “We are lucky to live in an exceptionally beautiful country, but we have some big issues to face up to” said Dr Jan Wright. More>>

ALSO:

Education: Private Schools Beneficiaries Of Extra Cash

“Not only did this year’s Budget freeze operational funding for state schools, but 86 per cent of secondary school principals say they don’t get enough funding, and the demand for school donations from parents is rising at 10 times the rate of inflation... Now we’ve got Hekia Parata proposing more cash for private schools." More>>

ALSO:

Shop Hours Bill Second Reading: Government Blocks Easter Trading Petition

The union representing retail workers is warning that the Government is out of touch with working people after passing the second reading of the Shop Trading Hours Amendment Bill, a law handing local authorities the power to permit trading on Easter Sunday. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news