Anyone hoping to see leading mayoral candidates go head to head in a debate locally has so far been disappointed.
Just two of the 21 mayoral candidates have made an appearance on the Coast – John Tamihere and Alezix Heneti, who were at the Grey Power meeting on August 30. Most notably, so far Phil Goff is a no-show.
To try and fill this void, Hibiscus Matters sent questions to the candidates. John Tamihere did not respond before our deadline, but here is what two of the other front-runners, Craig Lord and Phil Goff, had to say:
Hibiscus Coast ratepayers feel disconnected from what happens in Auckland city. How would you improve that?
Phil Goff: By providing the investment and support needed for the area to manage growth effectively, while safeguarding the natural, relaxed way of life and coastal landscape.
The 10-year budget raises $452 million to clean up our beaches, harbours, rivers and streams over the next 10 years. In the Hibiscus Coast, this funding is already being used for investigations to improve local water quality.
Hibiscus Coast will also benefit from the $311 million raised through the Natural Environment targeted rate, for projects that address pests, weeds and diseases that threaten our native species and ecosystems.
Craig Lord: We need a change in culture and the way council communicates. I would instigate a new process where local boards and councillors are retrained in communication – utilising more digital and social media platforms to stay in touch with the community. At the same time both local boards and councillors need to be diligent in advising their area about the forms of communication available to residents.
What are your two top priorities?
Phil Goff: In addition to restoring and protecting our natural landscape and waterways, I’ll continue to tackle congestion, and enable people to move around our city in a way that is clean and efficient. The dynamic lanes trial at Whangaparaoa Road showed an effective and simple way to make better use the existing road network. I’d like to investigate more transport options to better connect Hibiscus Coast to the rest of Auckland – especially greener ones. I will accelerate the conversion of Auckland’s bus fleet from diesel to electric.
Craig Lord: We need to cull the spending and power plays of Council and CCOs and return them to the role of public servants. Too much money is going into niceties and not enough into necessities by all of these entities. We need to provide core services properly and those are failing because the funding is going to the wrong places, and because the system of service is broken – local needs to look after local so things get done in a much timelier manner and at a better cost. The bullying and unaccountability of the CCOs is a major issue.
My second priority is to get a mandate to build a Waste to Energy plant.
How will you fix the transport woes of the Hibiscus Coast (including public transport)?
Phil Goff: We’ve attained record investment levels in transport through the Auckland Transport Alignment Project with a $28 billion package to make transport in Auckland fit for purpose. Penlink, scheduled as a second decade project in the previous term, has been brought forward to first decade.
Funding is in place to extend the Northern Busway as far as Albany, and continue to improve and build the connecting services. The Local Transport Capital Fund of the local board has doubled, enabling those closest to the community to take direct action to address pain points. The council has also committed an extra $20 million to a Community Safety Fund, for local boards to direct towards initiatives that will prevent, control or mitigate identified safety hazards.
Craig Lord: I would like high-speed elevated mass transport across the entire region with no more focus on light rail. The bus systems are not efficient and need a complete overhaul. Council also needs to put a priority on the major roading requirements for Whangaparoa (Penlink). Council needs to lobby much harder to get those tasks finished before CBD vanity projects.
Time to vote
Voting is now open for the Auckland Council local elections. October 8 is the last day to post voting papers. Official results will be announced on October 17. Info: www.voteauckland.co.nz • Generation Zero, a youth-led organisation, addressed a number of questions focused on transport to local candidates. The responses are at: aucklandelections.co.nz/scores?ward=Albany&localBoard=Hibiscus%20and%20Bays&subdivision=Hibiscus%20Coast