Labour Party MP and mayoral hopeful, Phil Goff, inspected the Warkworth Town Hall renovation, Hill Street intersection and the Warkworth waterfront.
Mahurangi had its first taste of the local government election year when Auckland mayoral candidate Phil Goff visited Warkworth last month.
Mr Goff made the trip at the invitation of NZ First MP Tracey Martin, who has invited all mayoral candidates to spend a day in Rodney to get to know the area. He met with the Warkworth Area Business Association, the Northern Action Group (NAG), Warkworth Area Liaison Group, Matakana Coast Tourism, Grey Power and residents and ratepayer groups from Leigh and Snells Beach.
But, Mr Goff was introduced to some of the issues before even getting out of his car, as he struggled to find a park in the town on a Monday morning.
Living on an eight-hectare farm near Clevedon, South Auckland, Mr Goff said he knows what it’s like to be a rural ratepayer in the Super City. But when questioned on his position on Rodney issues, he said he had no silver bullets.
“I’m not coming up here with answers, but it’s one of my first priorities to return when I’m better briefed on the region,” Mr Goff said. “This is my first campaign visit here, but I can guarantee it won’t be my last.”
When asked about the issue of unsealed roads, he said Council needed to do better at providing infrastructure to rural Rodney.
“More needs to be spent where the standard of amenity isn’t what people expect in the 21st century. I lived on an unsealed road, but it was sealed 15 years ago. There are virtually no unsealed roads south of Auckland.”
He said most Aucklanders were disappointed with the Super City and, now six years on from amalgamation, there needed to be an independent review.
“I don’t feel that what we expected to be achieved has come about. People feel that the efficiencies that could have been achieved haven’t been fully realised. We were told there would be $2.6 billion of savings over the first 10 years of the Super City, but no-one can tell me what savings have been made so far and if we are on target.”
He also supported devolving more Council decisions to local communities and local boards.
“It’s my philosophy that decisions need to be made as close as possible to where they have an impact. The Super City population is one-third of the country, so there should be devolution of Government decisions to the Council and from the Council to local boards. There will be problems with that, but it’s the way of the future.”
He also said he preferred a user pays system, such as motorways tolls, to pay for the major transport upgrades needed in the city.
“I use the motorway every day. I shouldn’t be paying the same amount for transport as my 90-year-old father. I use it more; I should pay more.”