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‘Flip-Flopping’ Mayor Can’t Be Trusted

Media Release
City Vision-Labour Councillors - Auckland City Council
For Immediate Release
6th November 2009
‘Flip-Flopping’ Mayor Can’t Be Trusted

In the last two days Auckland City Mayor John Banks has been forced to back down on two major issues – parking charges and the Queens wharf – casting doubt on his leadership ability.

City Vision/Labour leader, Councillor Richard Northey says the Auckland City mayor, John Banks, and his Citizens and Ratepayers allies on the Council have been forced into an ‘embarrassing’ back down over when their proposals to introduce 6pm to 10pm parking charges in and around the CBD were formally withdrawn at the Transport Committee meeting yesterday.
“John Banks and Citizens and Ratepayers were planning to waste $544,000 on refitting parking metres and new signs trying to make Aucklanders pay if they parked in the CBD at night,” he says.

“Mr Banks might claim to have backed down, but given he is on record recently as saying: “If I wear my policy on my sleeve, I won’t get elected” how can he be trusted? I suppose it is good Mr Banks has performed yet another flip-flop in the face of public outrage, but his judgement and leadership have yet again seriously been called into question.”

Councillor Northey says that the attempt at ‘revenue gouging’ with extra parking charges had outraged Aucklanders living and visiting in the downtown area.

“Mr Banks and the Citizens and Ratepayers Council pushed this exercise on them and wider Auckland should be concerned that a John Banks led super-city would start this after-hours charging agenda back up again. His Deputy-Mayor David Hay told the Transport Committee he “wouldn’t be surprised if charges for parking after 6pm weren’t brought in in parts of the CBD” after a promised reconsideration in February and he also voted down our proposal to end the current trial in the Viaduct.”

Hauraki Gulf Islands Councillor Denise Roche says the current backdown on parking charges is sensible but is concerned about the on-going trial. “The threat of extra parking charges is still there,” she says. “I tried to get the trial in the Viaduct stopped because there is still the possibility they’ll introduce charges across the city at a later date. If the council is serious about wanting to reduce congested parking in the CBD then the obvious answer is better and safer public transport.”

Western Bays Community Board Chair, Bruce Kilmister has also criticised the parking charges and the subsequent back down.
“This has been a waste of resources,” he says. “The Council should have consulted those most affected first. Both the Western Bays Community Board and the Ponsonby Business Association totally reject the prospect of the scheme coming into Ponsonby.”
Councillor Northey says the recent back downs by Council means the Mayor lacks credibility.

“Mr Banks tried to introduce an 11pm closing time for suburban pubs, then unilaterally pulled the policy halfway through the consultation. He championed a flawed design competition for Queen’s Wharf, and then again pulled the plug on it and tried to blame others when the public didn’t like it and a back down on parking charges too,” he says.

“Coupled with Mr Banks’ divisive first term in office that saw pensioner housing being sold off, airport shares being privatised and plans to ram an eastern highway through Hobson bay, it is clear that Mr Banks has not learned anything from his second time as Mayor and remains untransmogrified.”


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