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Stephen Berry’s Guide to Voting Auckland 2016




Auckland had the lowest voter turnout in the country in 2013. One of the reasons for this will be general apathy but with the various wards, local boards, district licensing boards to vote for and the difficulty knowing just who the candidates are it can be difficult to make an informed decision about who best to vote for.

I stood for Mayor and Council in 2013 and while I am not a candidate in this year’s race, it is still important to me that the next Council has a majority of individuals who support low rates, reduced borrowing and commitment to only funding the core activities which are essential to keep Auckland functioning. It is especially vital that the next Council understands we will only have more affordable housing when the Council stops distorting the market with its cumbersome regulations and rules which create artificial shortages. That’s why I have written this guide to voting in the 2016 local body elections starting with a focus on the mayoral race.

It seems almost inevitable that Phil Goff will win the mayoralty as he consistently polls more than all the other eighteen candidates put together. Unfortunately more centre-right candidates did not withdraw to consolidate the vote so there has never been a single candidate emerge with the support to threaten him.

I will rate each candidate on a $ to $$$$$ scale. $ for the candidate with policies that will result in higher rates, a bankrupt council and a continuation of crazy inflation levels in the housing market. $$$$$ will be given to those candidates whose policies will result in lower rates, a balanced budget and improving housing affordability.

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• Mario Alupis $$ - Opposed to rates increases and fuel taxes unless “taxpayers” vote for them.

• Aileen Austin $$ - difficult to tell exactly what she will do as her profile mentions a lot of issues with few solutions..

• Penny Bright $ - there is no denying Penny Bright’s enthusiasm and passion however her extreme-left ideas will turn Auckland into an economic Chernobyl

• Patrick Brown – Communist League $ - Obviously an idiot.

• Tricia Cheel $ – Anti-fluoride fruit loop.

• Vic Crone $$$ - Vic is the leading centre-right candidate but I have found little inspiring in her campaign. Several of her policies are similar to Phil Goff’s which is disappointing as she spent the first six months of her campaign with none at all so had plenty of time to come up with something visionary. Supports a cap on rates of 2% .Her desire to charge higher rates on houses for being empty shows she supports continued heavy intervention in the housing market and has little regard for private property rights.

• Phil Goff $$ - Likely to be a continuation of the policies followed by Len Brown but he will at least keep his pants on at work.

• David Hay $$ – former Green Party candidate focused on making a cool carbon-zero Auckland.

• Alezix Heneti $$ - A perennial mayoral candidate in various parts of the country from an enormous family.

• Adam Holland – Auckland Legalise Cannabis - $$ A troll candidate with policies that cannot actually be achieved at local body level. On the upside he a disdain for most politicians and supports legalising cannabis.

• Susana Kruger $$ - Her “mega micro business plan to address homelessness, welfare-dependency and poverty” shows little regard for restricting Council to its core functions.

• Stan Martin $$$ - He at least wants to restrict rates increases to the level of inflation and opposes compact city planning.. However he is also against selling any assets and supports giving Maori privileged access to Council decision making processes.

• Binh Thanh Nguyen $$$ - His support of increasing land supply for construction is a positive but unfortunately he seems to think immigration needs to be managed by the Council. His policy to harvest tidal power for energy is certainly original.

• Phil O’Connor – Christian’s Against Abortion $ - Nasty lunatic. Stands every election for a position which has nothing to do with abortion.

• John Palino $$$$$ John stands apart from every other candidate in this race with a serious commitment to smaller council, lower rates and more affordable housing. He will cut rates by ten percent and reduce traffic congestion by allowing the creation of satellite cities. His support for abolishing the Rural Urban boundary will create an affordable housing market by eliminating the city’s artificial land shortage.

• Tyrone Raumati – Greater Auckland $ Wants to make Auckland greater. I have no idea how he plans to do this aside from honouring the Treaty.

• Chloe Swarbrick $$$ - Her policies on housing are actually pretty good with a commitment to streamlining the consents process and increasing land supply. Her support for reforming how rates are collected is promising though I’m not sure if that in itself will keep them down.

• Mark Thomas $$$$ There is probably no other candidate in this race with more relevant experience for the role of Mayor. His policies show a lot of promise, offering ratepayers the opportunity to choose a rates increase of zero, two or four percent after holding rates increases to zero in the first year of his term. Supports restricting council to its core functions and making it easier for developers to build affordable housing.

• Wayne Young $ At least he recognises that he has zero chance of winning. After he changes the Council’s coat of arms he will embark on a socialist building platform.

Now we move on to the races for Auckland’s thirteen wards and twenty-one local boards. Rating 74 candidates individually is a mammoth task so I will just discuss each ward and their key candidates as a whole while touching on some of the Local Board contests.


INCUMBENTS – Wayne Walker and John Watson.

Wayne Walker is one of the Terrible Ten Councillors who voted to increase rates to 9.9% and has been a consistent ally of Len Brown.. He was also responsible for running up a $50,000 bill so the Council could discuss the TPPA. John Watson is not as bad as his comrade in arms. He voted against the rates increase needed to fund his big spending ideas but has at least attempted to restrict business class travel for Councillors. Neither really deserves your vote.

Alezix Heneti is not a serious contender. John Bensch is a businessman who opposes high rates and has previous experience as the CEO of a local council. Auckland Future is running two candidates in this ward: Local Board chairman Lisa Whyte and former League coach Graham Lowe. Both support capping rates at 2% but Lowe has no previous experience in politics.

MY RECOMMENDATION: Vote for John Bensch and Lisa Whyte.


INCUMBENTS: Cathy Casey and Chris Fletcher.

Cathy Casey is a crackpot socialist pit-bull standing on the City Vision ticket with Local Board chairman Peter Haynes who has made a career out of sticking his nose into other people’s business to prevent growth and progress; notably with his bemoaning of private property owners choosing to replace their volcanic rock walls.

Chris Fletcher is standing on the Communities and Residents ticket along with newbie Benjamin Lee. Fletcher has straddled the centre during her term meaning her track record is flaky but she is far from being the worst option on offer here. Both Fletcher and Lee have signed the Ratepayer Protection Pledge.

Auckland Future has foolishly added Rob Harris to the mix which threatens to split the centre-right vote.

Boris Sokratov shows some promise with his opposition to rates increases and support for being financially prudent. Bridgette Sullivan-Taylor’s experience in preparing cities for extreme events such as natural disasters and recession may prove valuable if the next elected council looks the same as this one.

Greg McKeown’s progressive values count him out for me.

MY RECOMMENDATION: A strategic vote for Chris Fletcher and Benjamin Lee to keep out City Vision.


INCUMBENT: Bill Cashmore

A wonderful opportunity has been missed in this ward as Brown-ally Cashmore has been elected unopposed.

Franklin Local Board: The two candidates that really deserve your vote are Ian Cummings, a strong defender of private property rights and Team Franklin’s Niko Kloeten who previously ran an exemplary campaign for Council in 2013.


INCUMBENTS: Sharon Stewart and Dick Quax.

Stewart and Quax have done a fantastic job representing Howick over the last six years. They are two of a handful of Councillors who have stood firm in opposing rates increases, stupid spending and the compact city model and absolutely deserve your support in re-electing them for a third term.

MY RECOMMENDATION: Sharon Stewart and Dick Quax


INCUMBENTS: Labour’s Alf Filipaina and Arthur Anae.

Arthur Anae is not standing for election in this ward and I expect its heavily left-wing voter base will elect the two Labour candidates Filipaina and Local Board chairman Fa'anana Efeso Collins. The alternatives are Respect Our Community Campaign’s Brendan Corbett who fought a NIMBY campaign to stop a motorway being built through Mangere-Otahuhu. Auckland Future has also put up Sooalu Setu Mua and Ika Tameifuna; neither of whom really stands a chance in this ward.

MY RECOMMENDATION: Vote for Auckland Future’s Mua and Tameifuna


INCUMBENTS: John Walker and Calum Penrose.

Calum Penrose is one of the Terrible Ten who supported the 9.9% rates increase so he needs to go. John Walker’s regular habit of falling asleep in council meetings suggests his best years are behind him and he really should be stepping aside.

Daniel Newman is the only other candidate in this race and despite his foolish challenging of the availability of safe alternatives to illegal drugs otherwise seems to be a competent candidate who supports responsible policies on rates and spending.

MY RECOMMENDATION: Cast only one vote for Daniel Newman. Casting a second vote for any other candidate could prevent him from being elected.

Manurewa Local Board: My best picks for the Local Board are Joseph Allan, Angela Dalton, Tanya Kaite, Daniella McCormick, Rangi McClean, Ken Penney and Angela Cunningham-Marino. Definitely do not vote for Simeon Browne; a moralistic grandstander against alcohol venues.


INCUMBENT: Denise Krum

Auckland Future’s incredible incompetence has seen them select two candidates from their ticket for the same single person ward. Denise Krum has done a fantastic job as councillor with a consistent track record voting in favour of keeping rates low and opposing stupid council spending. The other candidates are Labour’s Patrick Cummuskey and Viliami Tesi who will surely now be doing his very best to tell people not to vote for himself.

MY RECOMMENDATION: 100% support for Denise Krum


INCUMBENTS: Chris Darby and George Wood.

George Wood is stepping down from council this election, but Chris Darby is standing again. Darby was a consistent ally of Len Brown and the centre-left in the last term, voting for the 9.9% rates increase. He has spearheaded the compact city central-planning model and has complete disdain for private property rights, backing the campaigns of heritage nosey’s to stop people developing their own properties. Now Darby is trying to erase the past, positioning himself as a champion for lower rates which shows how just how little regard he has for the intelligence of North Shore voters. Darby has tacitly teamed up with Labour Northcote candidate Richard Hills to win North Shore this election. Hills is an advocate of more rail/cycle lanes/public transport subsidies.

What is also suspect about these two individuals is the affiliation they have given on the voting papers. The rules state:

“Affiliations that will not be accepted are ones:

° that might cause offence or ' are likely to confuse or mislead electors or

° are election slogans rather than the name of an organisation or group.”

Chris Darby’s affiliation is Taking the Shore Forward while Hills’ is A Positive Voice for the Shore. I would love to see the documentation which shows that these are the names of actual organisations because it looks bloody suspect to me.

Of the other candidates Mary-Anne Benson-Cooper promises to be an honest voice while John Hill and Lesley Kahn simply say they will be representatives. I don’t know about you but I prefer politicians to have some actual plans when they ask for my vote. Tate Robertson’s short candidate statement says he supports better public transport and more diverse and affordable housing.

Grant Gillon and Anne-Ellise Smithson are the Shore Action candidates. I would recommend you stay well clear of voting for them.. Gillon is a former unionist and Alliance MP while Smithson is a former Green party candidate. Damien Light is standing for United Future.

Finally there are three obviously centre-right candidates. Michael Buttle looks like a very reasonable choice, supporting a financially responsible council that maintains core services. Unfortunately I don’t rate his chances of success. Auckland Future have put forward Danielle Grant and Fay Freeman. Both have business experience and are committed to keeping rates increases capped at 2% while eliminating waste and reducing debt.

MY RECOMMENDATION: Vote strategically to get rid of Darby. Vote for Auckland Future’s Danielle Grant and Fay Freeman

Devonport-Takapuna Local Board: Vote for all six Team George Wood candidates.

Kaipatiki Local Board: Trevor Courtier, Danielle Grant and Kevin Moorhead look to be the best candidates.


INCUMBENT: Cameron Brewer

Cameron Brewer has stepped down from Council to run for the Rodney Local Board leaving the way open for Orakei Local Board Chairman Desley Simpson to stand for the ward. Simpson has done an outstanding job in her previous role and would have to be the hardest working Board representative of the last term.

Of the other candidates, Richard Leckinger is a decent bloke who says he is, like me, socially liberal and financially conservative. Unfortunately he is also affiliated with the Green party which is cause for concern. Community Voice’s Mike Padfield is a former mayoral candidate who also supports a freeze on rates due to increasing house prices. Finally Ian Wilson is standing as an Independent though his candidate profile hints at an enthusiasm for left-wing central planning.

Orakei is lucky to be spoilt for choice when it comes to quality candidates but one stands head and shoulders above the rest.

MY RECOMMENDATION: This is an easy one; definitely Desley Simpson.

Orakei Local Board: I would expect the C&R team to make a clean sweep of this local board again and they deserve to do so. Special mention should be made of new candidate Carmel Claridge who has been a key part of the Auckland Ratepayer’s Alliance and will make an excellent board representative.


INCUMBENT: Penny Webster

I would expect Penny to feel the full force of Rodney’s outrage at the terrible job she has done in the last term. A vocal supporter of Len Brown who voted for the 9.9% rates increase; she has to go!

Holly Southernwood, the fire-breathing organiser of the 2014 Helensville candidate debate is also standing for the ward but I expect her to make little impact. Seeing as there still is no authorisation statement on her Facebook page and she had her car painted without one I question whether she knows what she is doing.

Steven Garner is having a second go at winning the ward after being beaten by Webster in 2013. Garner has done a poor job on the Rodney local board, being frequently late and absent from meetings while taking holidays during important decisions and attempting to relitigate matters on his return. Completely undeserving of your vote.

The final candidate is businessman Greg Sayers. He has stood up for Rodney over the last three years, fighting to ensure the region gets more of the rates it contributes to the supercity coffers. He has run an excellent campaign highlighting the neglect the region suffers, especially the state of the roads and the many potholes around the ward.

MY RECOMMENDATION: Say it with Sayers at the ballot box.

Rodney Local Board: Incumbent Beth Houlbrooke is widely known to be a dedicated representative and deserves to be re-elected while Phelan Pirrie has worked hard for the region, delivering millions of dollars of footpaths. They have built the Rodney First ticket which includes former Councillor Cameron Brewer. I recommend you cast your votes for all Rodney First candidates.


INCUMBENTS: Penny Hulse and Linda Cooper.

No single Councillor has done more to destroy the Auckland housing market than Len Brown’s Deputy Penny Hulse. In her hard-left central planning stupidity she has fought tooth and claw to preserve the Metropolitan Urban Limit, strangling land supply and creating a paradise for housing speculators. Rather than take any responsibility for her actions, she throws her hands up on television and calls on central government to clean up her mess. Despite the misery and poverty she has inflicted upon low-income renters and increasing numbers of homeless families, she looks a very safe bet to be re-elected by the same people she is impoverishing.

Linda Cooper has been one of the big disappointments of the last term. She made a fantastic start, slamming the handing out of $142 satchels to all the newly elected councillors and board members. Since then she has positioned herself sharply to the left, voting for the 9.9% rates increase and becoming best friends with Hulse. Both incumbents need to be turfed out this election.

The other leading left-wing candidate is Future West’s Greg Presland. A vocal cheerleader for the eco-terrorists who invaded a Titirangi home to stop an approved Kauri being felled, Presland is an enemy of the rights of property owners.

Peter Chan is having another go at winning the ward, having previously stood as an Affordable Auckland candidate. He is serious about keeping rates low and opening up land supply to allow the market to provide more affordable housing.

David Rankin is running a bold campaign in the ward. He wants to stop any further construction on the rail loop and invest the funds in road construction. He says the way to achieve more affordable housing is extend the city limits and create more residential housing zones. He also wants to abolish the Independent Maori Statutory Board.

I think John Riddell, who also opposes the continual rates increases would make a fine councillor but I doubt he will attract the necessary support to be a key contender in this race.

MY RECOMMENDATION: Vote Peter Chan and David Rankin.



Hard-left Councillor Mike Lee is now trying to present himself as an ally of ratepayers for voting against the latest rates increase but voters won’t forget he was one of the Terrible Ten who supported the previous 9.9% increase. Lee is a supporter of cumbersome central planning and advocate for nosey NIMBYs who oppose progress and disrespect property rights. He needs to go but is popular in the ward.

Cyclist Rob Thomas is not the person to replace him. Hopefully his environmental credentials only cost Lee votes.

Bill Ralston is the genuine centre-right candidate in this race. He’s a supporter of low rates and wants to find alternative ways of funding Auckland’s infrastructure other than milking the ratepayer. If anyone can beat Mike Lee, it’s Bill.


Local Board: The Waitemata Local Board has been dominated by City Vision over the last term. They’ve wasted ratepayer money over their last term, doling out funds to artists who attached $10,000 percussion instruments to traffic signs and erected sparkly ping pong tables in Aotea Square. Vote for the Auckland Future team to get them out.

On the Waiheke Local Board, only one candidate is deserving of your vote. Jo Holmes has been instrumental in setting up the Auckland Ratepayer’s Alliance and regularly exposes the corruption and stupidity of the Waiheke Local Board on her blog.



Clow has made up the centre-left grouping of the Council but didn’t possess sufficient guts to vote for the 9.9% rates increase in 2014.

While Wayne David would like to see your rates spent on better things than phallic artwork, the only candidate who makes serious mention of low rates, cutting waste and controlling debt in Auckland Future’s Mark Brikell.


This concludes Stephen Berry’s Guide to Voting Auckland 2016.

Stephen Berry was a candidate for Mayor in 2013. He finished in third place collecting 13650 votes.

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