This month, I would like to to share with you an independent viewpoint about how I am performing as your Councillor. The extract below is from a professional publication which reports on Auckland Council’s political news. It is called the Town Hall and is published by the local government consultancy firm McGredy Winder. This is their summary:
“Sayers is very proudly the elected member for Rodney, happily so, and determined to do the best for the people who put him there. He is also the councillor who has most openly and explicitly taken on the mayor. A month or two back he was hauled into the Mayor’s office and threatened on the consequences, for both himself and the people of Rodney, if he didn’t fall into line over the mayor’s budget. Such blustering and disrespect isn’t actually how this game works and is way out of order. To his credit, not only was Sayers not intimidated, he actually outed the Mayor on his thuggish behaviour. In so doing, Sayers gave a very clear indication of his nettle, and so insulated Rodney from anything adverse the Albert Street dwellers had in store for them. If Rodney is treated worse than average on any issue (including during next year’s 10 year budget setting process), suspicions and accusations of Goff making good on his blackmail will inevitably arise, and Goff can’t afford that.”
I have also been quietly, but very effectively, growing quality relationships among the other councillors, within the Council organisations and in many of Auckland’s communities. Due to the political pressure being applied, I am anticipating the Mayor will respond by making a comment about Council’s spending back into Rodney.
In the meantime, the hard work required to uncover, and to have published, Rodney’s true revenue and expenditure figures is left to me to accomplish alone (see story p16). Despite many roadblocks, I remain undeterred to achieve this outcome. The resulting tsunami of positive public support I have received for genuinely wanting to deliver greater transparency to Rodney’s ratepayers has been overwhelming.
This shows that Auckland Council badly needs a constitutional upgrade. This upgrade of the established set of principles currently governing Auckland should enshrine the right for all elected members, and for members of the public, to easily access detailed financial information about our rates and what they pay for locally. There remains particularly poor transparency around local operational spending and whether local development contributions get spent locally. There is still much work to be done to shape Auckland Council to be sufficiently transparent to its ratepayers.
Representing Rodney within the country’s second most powerful political organisation continues to be a huge privilege for me. With that privilege comes a huge responsibility.
It’s a highly competitive, egocentric political environment. But Rodney is making excellent progress as we steadily keep chalking up local win after win where it counts the most – back in our local communities.
by Greg Sayers