As new councilors blow out their candles and make wishes on the Auckland City Council’s 12th birthday, a very different set of priorities appears to inform the new governing body.
A range of ambitions was demonstrated when seven new city councilors delivered their maiden speeches at the first meeting of the Auckland City Council governing body at the City Chambers.
Auckland City Council’s new councilors’ wishlists for their 12th birthdays—a milestone that passed when this fifth term began—was a diverse array of wishes for the city.
In his inaugural address, new mayor Wayne Brown said 2022 was an opportunity to rethink the Auckland City Council, forced by circumstances.
With the Governing Body reaching puberty, seven injections of fresh blood in the form of new Ward Councilors who delivered their maiden speeches today may be the ones that truly capitalize on the opportunity.
There was a clear demarcation line between the speakers.
On the one hand, three young women with ambitions to heal inequalities and advance climate action. Meanwhile, her four older men at Pakeher fit nicely into Brown’s philosophy of keeping purse strings tight, bringing a no-nonsense reform approach to the wider council group.
Andrew Baker, Franklin Ward
Franklin City Councilman Andrew Baker takes over from outgoing Deputy Mayor Bill Cashmore after 12 years on Franklin’s local council. Like Desiree Simpson, the new deputy before him, he was quick to point out that he wasn’t Cashmore 2.0.
Like many new MPs, Baker is used to being on the other side of the table in the boardroom of Congress, presenting himself to the Governing Body as a member of the local committees, which he likens to political apprenticeships.
As an alumnus of the local board, Baker says he can “provide an unparalleled understanding of what life is really like in the other arm of our shared governance model.” said.
Coming from the southern rural borders of the city of Franklin, he said that Franklin “is, by and large, a community that still struggles to understand that it is part of Oakland, and that all parts of Oakland are treated fairly.” It does not mean that
Baker called on the Governing Body to make good use of council time in this upcoming term, imploring himself and his fellow councilors to “speak only when silence can be improved.”
Julie Fairey, Albert Eden Puketapapa Ward
Julie Fairley, yet another new legislator elevated to the position after more than a decade on her local board, began by giving her new colleague a tidbit of autobiography as part of her maiden speech. As an executive at the University of Auckland Student Association, she worked alongside Ephesus Collins and her fellow new counselor Rotu Huli.
“At the time, I outright rejected that it was local government, because it’s very uncool,” she said. I did.”
When Supercity was first formed, Fairey put his hat on the ring of the Puketatapapa Local Committee, but at the time, imagining that the local committee was too far from the halls of power, the local committee was a I was skeptical about how it would work.
She said the council needs to get out of the way at times, but her vision for her job is more focused than some of her fellow new councilors focused on budget roles. also seems to be holistic.
“Every time I flush the toilet, enjoy the shade, walk to the dairy, eat at the local Thai restaurant, ride the basket swing, and hear Lulu while I’m writing a speech late at night. Even…the council touches on all these things,” she said.
Rotuhuli, Manukau District
Huli came to work taking advantage of the space Ephesus Collins once held as a councilor affiliated with the Labor Party in Manukau District.
Like Fairey, she has years of experience serving on local boards and wants the council to play a role in reducing inequality across the city.
In fact, she made it clear this quarter that equity is a recurring area of concern for her, stating:
She said issues such as the information gap and the availability of housing would be at the top of her agenda.
“A lot of our family didn’t vote because it was more important to have food on the table,” she said.
Paying tribute to her parents, Furi spoke about spending her childhood as one of nine children and immigrating from Samoa at a young age in the 1970s.
Mike Lee, Waitemata, Gulf Ward
This wasn’t Mike Leigh’s first maiden speech.
The political veteran has held the same position from 2010 to 2019 and has been a local politician in the Auckland area for over 30 years.
But his brief hiatus from the Hall of Power gave him the opportunity to deliver what Wayne Brown called “a sober speech.”
Lee said he ran for his previous seat because he believed the Auckland Council was in jeopardy.
“I think our mayor, on his very arduous campaign road, made that point long and hard at many, many conferences,” he said. “The crisis is economic, but I must say it is also cultural in the sense of how the people we are supposed to serve perceive the Council.”
He said he will instigate reforms from where he sits, particularly in areas such as the benefits paid to private contractors and the quality of the public consultation process.
He said he heard more criticism of the council’s Have Your Say consultation program on the campaign trail than he did on fees.
“It’s a false, false consultation where people are repeatedly asked to speak out, but the Council and the CCO almost inevitably follow their lead,” he said. “We need to seriously consider how we handle public consultation.”
He also called for greater transparency from the council group, saying that as a member of the public he found it difficult to obtain information he said should be made public.
“On the 26th floor of 135 Albert Street, there is a sign that says a lot. The sign reads: CONFIDENTIAL, PUBLIC EXCLUDED.”
Lee wants to reconsider attitudes that ban public gatherings and only ban them when there is a sound legal basis.
Keryn Leoni, Fau Ward
The Governing Body’s first Wahine Maori representative, from Wau District, overtook incumbent Tracy Mulholland by a whopping 300 votes.
Like Furi and Fairey, Leoni believes the council can use tools to foster community ties and ease the pain of rising inequality exacerbated by the pandemic years.
She has worked in London for about 10 years and has seen local organizations provide more funding and social outreach, she said.
“We cannot rely on the central government alone to break the cycle of poverty,” she said.
Leoni returned to Auckland in the mid-2010s. Because she knew there was still great inequality in the city and she wanted to join the fight.
Her priorities included recovering the economy from Covid, providing clean water, and working in a 15-minute city that would reduce the need for transportation.
“This is what we need here in Tamaki Makaulau and what we deserve,” she said.
Ken Turner, Waitakere District
Former pig farmer Ken Turner, after a nine-year journey to get to this job, now wants to be the eyes, ears and voice of voters.
He recognized that the councilors were responsible for the region as a whole, but his focus seemed to be first and foremost on his own corner of the West.
“We understand that City Councilors have a responsibility to act in Auckland’s best interests, but a healthy and prosperous Waitakere will benefit all of Auckland,” he said.
Mr. Turner said he opposes any action that “goes against technological progress and rational thinking.” Speed, for example, said the bumps would increase emissions and planned to truck the food scraps to Leporoa.
He spoke of a holistic approach in which the governing body uses an evidence-based approach across all issues.
“How much does it cost compared to what and what are the facts?” He said. “Common sense and public money should not be thrown out the window.”
Maurice Williamson, Howick Ward
Another veteran politician, who spent most of his time in Congress, Williamson joked about being asked to give his maiden speech.
“Coming at the end of a very long list of mind-blowing speeches, I feel like Elizabeth Taylor’s eighth husband.” can you?”
Frivolity aside, Williamson’s speech was a watering-down of previous council spending patterns. He was particularly appalled that the City Rail Link price tag had not been confirmed.
“We have to stop spending money we don’t have,” he said. “Piling up debt is terrifying to any of us for future generations.”
Williamson has characterized himself as a socially liberal financial conservative, despite his call that most of the body might think of him as a “right-wing evil horned devil.” I got
His disdain for parliamentary spending was central to his campaign, and it seems to remain his watchword in the Governing Body.
“I don’t want to make any suggestions here unless I’m absolutely sure where the funding for that will come from, or if it’s going to be taken out of another program.”
Like Turner, Williamson criticized the speed bumps, particularly the set built by the local school, with some options and the often-used Pakuranga Road speed limit.
“The asylum is run by a lunatic,” he said.
https://www.newsroom.co.nz/clashing-birthday-wishes-for-auckland-council Auckland Council’s Conflicting Birthday Wishes