The Auckland Council elections are completed and Phil Goff has been returned to power as the Mayor of Auckland. So, the topical question is, what might be different under his reign from the previous three years?
Under his first term, councillors were divided into two factions. Those supporters of Goff were called the ‘A team’ by the media and those who were not in the clique were dubbed the ‘B team’. One change we are likely to see is the Mayor employing a far more inclusive leadership style with all the councillors.
This has already been evidenced to me in my early meetings with the Mayor. There is no doubt in my mind of his intent to improve on his first-term relationships. This will be beneficial for Rodney. For example through the Mayor employing a listening ear, the fixing of Hill Street, gaining better road maintenance standards and dramatically increasing the rate of delivery of the road sealing programme have all been endorsed as projects he will champion with me. These endorsements and support are very different from what I experienced last term. My job is to ensure these are indeed delivered as wins for Rodney.
In my opinion, a key action the Mayor must undertake to instil greater confidence and trust in the Council is to commission an independent review of the performance of Council Controlled Organisations (CCOs). This is something he promised on the election hustings.
There is a strong undercurrent of concern that ordinary ratepayers are being marginalised and citizens’ rights increasingly overridden by all-powerful CCO bureaucracies. To his credit, Mayor Goff has formally announced that he will be reining in the city’s CCOs. This should be seen as more good news.
The people of Rodney have expressed frustration with the CCOs’ performance and delivery, along with their poor levels of responsiveness when issues are lodged with them. The five CCOs are Auckland Transport (AT), Panuku Development Auckland, Watercare, Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development (ATEED), and Regional Facilities Auckland (RFA). Collectively, they control 75 per cent of all Council’s spending of your rates.
The review will be conducted independently of Auckland Council staff and will consider, among other things, whether any of the CCOs should be abolished, downsized, or even amalgamated back into Auckland Council. The primary driver of the review is to determine what value for money each CCO is really delivering Mayor Goff wants the independent panel up and running before Christmas with the findings delivered by the middle of next year. That’s pretty quick!
I’m predicting the review will be good for Rodney, particularly in the roading space, by getting ‘better bang for our buck’ from Auckland Transport and better customer service levels in general. I will update you if this “shake up” is “shaping up” as we all might be hoping. Stopping Council’s wastage and overspending remains a primary focus for me.
Greg Sayers, Rodney Councillor