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‘Never Say Never’: Alf Filipaina Won’t Rule Out Running For Auckland Mayoralty

Auckland councillor and veteran Pacific politician Alf Filipaina is not ruling out a tilt at next year’s mayoralty.

“At the moment for me, if there is a decision to be made well then I’ll be making it after I talk to my family and very close friends. And you know, you never say never.”

But he guarantees that by early January 2025, it will be very clear who the contenders will be, including if he’ll add his name into the race.

Filipaina is also aware Auckland Council’s current governing body is not fully united on the Mayor’s approach, saying he’s most concerned about whether the city is being run like a business.

“There’s still a lot for us to do, there really is from a Pacific perspective,” he says of working to improve the quality of life for Aucklanders, particularly its Pacific communities.

"The stats end up saying to us that we need to do a lot more for Māori and our Pasifika population because they are always at the top end of things.”

Filipaina adds that the “four wellbeings” that the previous Labour Government introduced, need to remain front of mind for the city’s decision makers.

“Environmental, economic, cultural and social wellbeing. That's the core responsibility of local government,” he says.

“There is a fine line and there needs to be ... an understanding, an agreement that the four well-beings are very crucial to local government and to Auckland Council and our community.”

Filipaina says local boards and the role they play are another important aspect he’d like to see accentuated.

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“I think we need to have to look at the big picture, the big picture being 21 people make the decisions around the governing body. [But] we should never ever forget that Auckland Council collectively is the governing body and our twenty one local boards.”

He describes the current dynamics of council as split, with some councillors being too focused on the economic side of things.

“I think there are still councillors around that table that have the four wellbeings that I mentioned earlier, at the forefront of their decisions. And I think you have others who have a business sort of mentality and are saying Auckland Council has to be run as a business.

“[But] the local boards are key. They’re our link to our community because the councillors have to have a regional approach.”

The Mayor’s office declined to comment regarding Filipaina’s future plans for next year’s election.

LDR is local body journalism co-funded by RNZ and NZ On Air.

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