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Mayoral Race too close to Call

Mayoral Race too close to Call

An exit poll of those who have already voted in the Auckland mayoralty race has revealed a surprising trend – right wing challenger John Palino is just 4 per cent behind incumbent Len Brown.

It’s surprising given the fact that Brown has been able to use his considerable mayoral resources - $5 million and a staff that includes 6 public relations consultants – to grab media and public attention. On the other hand, Palino has run a campaign on a shoe string budget relying mainly on family, friends and volunteers to get his message out.

A couple of recent headline grabbing stories have hurt the Brown campaign. First, the cancellation of berm mowing in the legacy Auckland City Council area. With spring growth many areas look a frightful mess. Second, there is the more serious matter of Brown’s poor stewardship of the Council’s finances. Debt has risen from what was inherited at the amalgamation in 2010 ($2.9b) to $6.7b today. Every day the Council (read ratepayer) coughs up $1m in interest and is set to almost double over the next two years. Council now employs more people than at amalgamation and pays out $700m in wages. Over 1500 Council employees earn more than $100,000 per year. As one wag said, “you couldn’t fit all those people into the Auckland Townhall”

Many wards, Howick included, have endured rates increases totalling over 15 per cent in the last 3 years.

The voter turnout is very low – as of today just 16.09 per cent of those eligible to vote have done so.

Dick Quax

© Scoop Media

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