John Tamihere confirms Auckland mayoralty run
John Tamihere confirms Auckland mayoralty run . . . and announces Chris Fletcher as deputy
John Tamihere has this morning confirmed he will run for October’s Auckland Mayoralty – marking a return to politics after 14 successful years as the Chief Executive Officer of Te Whanau o Waipareira.
At a press conference at Whanau House, Henderson, the former Labour MP said a standoff with council property arm Panuku over its social housing policy formula had made it clear to him that the council had lost control over unelected and unaccountable bodies.
That debate took Tamihere all the way to the mayor’s office for a meeting with Phil Goff before fronting a fiery meeting with the full council governing board.
“I wanted to know why we had to severely limit the amount of social housing in a development we were negotiating over,” Tamihere said.
“But the higher up the chain I went, the more arrogance and sense of entitlement I faced. It became very difficult to get straight answers and it became abundantly clear to me that Panuku was a billion dollar Council Controlled Organisation that gave no sense that they were there to serve the ratepayers and people who ultimately pay them.”
Tamihere said an exploratory campaign team then started looking at the possibility of mounting a credible campaign.
“And here we are today.” Tamihere said as he announced his running mate and deputy designate, former National Party Minister Chris Fletcher.
“I want the people of Auckland to know my intentions from day one, and not have to wait to see what comes out of backroom deals after they’ve voted,” Tamihere said.
“This election is not about Labour or National, right or left. It’s all about Auckland, our city, our people.” Tamihere acknowledged Fletcher’s wealth of National and Local Body knowledge – an MP from 1990-1999, Mayor of Auckland, and then a councillor on the Auckland Council since the Super City inception was established in 2010.
“Along with a great wealth of knowledge, Chris also brings a huge amount of integrity and mana,” Tamihere said.
Fletcher said she thought long and hard before committing herself to the Tamihere ticket. “Auckland has for a long time lacked real leadership and vision and I believe JT is the person who will get things done and make people accountable for all the right reasons,” Fletcher said.
“I am one of many Councillors who feel helpless because we don’t have a say in Council Controlled Organisations. That means the people of Auckland have no say. The truth is councillor’s end up spending most of our days in council workshops buried beneath bureaucratic mountains of paper and not where we should be; out in the community listening to the people who voted us in.”
Tamihere - who will stand as an independent – also released five policies that form the foundation of the campaign. They include:
1.Open the books and clean the house
Aucklanders pay billions in rates, but where does all that money go? Auckland has ended up with the most council staff ever, the biggest wage bill ever - and yet the most out of touch and secretive management ever. I will open all the doors and open all the books. We will find out who the billions are being paid to, what it’s being spent on, and why.
2. Return Democracy to Neighbourhoods
Too much power in our city is controlled by faceless bureaucrats in central Auckland. Control of the city must go back into the hands of the people. I will return local resources and decisions to local elected boards and their communities.
3. Bring Public Assets back under Democratic Control
Three quarters of Auckland Council’s assets are run by suits who have no accountability. I want all Council owned organisations under democratic control. As a first step I will appoint elected councillors on every Council business board to ensure openness and oversight.
4. Crack down on Waste and Incompetence
Aucklanders deserve accountability and high performance from their Council. I will establish an Integrity Unit to investigate corruption, unacceptable conduct, and incompetence. This unit will report directly to me. Aucklanders can be confident that their serious complaints will come to me for action.
5. Proper Partnership with Central Government
Aucklanders pay a huge part of the government’s costs. So why are Aucklanders forced pay an extra fuel tax when no other region does? The present mayor should never have agreed to that. The huge infrastructure pressure on Auckland is the direct outcome of Central Government’s unbridled immigration.
As mayor that represents a third of the country, I will expect a more equal partnership especially with transport and housing.
Tamihere said there are many more issues that will be traversed as the nine month campaign unravels.
“Every community has their own issues, and while no one has a magic wand, the role of the council and that of the Mayor is to find solutions, not excuses,” he said.
“Over the next few months, I will be visiting all local boards and asking them to identify their most pressing needs. “It’s time to shake it up.” Ends