Posted on September 13, 2016
This morning I announced that I have been asked to withdraw from the Auckland mayoral race – based on two other polls which also show Phil Goff with a considerable lead.
I won’t withdraw because I am not a quitter and I won’t breach faith with the people across Auckland who are supporting me.
But people have asked me to consider my position because they think, as I do, that a Phil Goff mayoralty would not deliver the new leadership that Auckland needs.
But I owe it to them and to everyone to speak the truth: a Goff win seems inevitable unless Aucklanders get engaged. My focus will change for the remaining 3 weeks of the campaign to making it clear to Aucklanders what the consequences of a Goff mayoralty will be.
Having campaigned for nearly a year and spoken to thousands of Aucklanders, it is clear to me that the Auckland Council reputation is badly damaged.
With 85% of Aucklanders dissatisfied with Auckland Council, I had hoped to tap into and build support from those interested in a very different approach.
What I have discovered is that council’s standing is so low that many people don’t care.
They care about transport and housing and council waste, but not about the council and as a result not really about the contest to be the next mayor. As a result, the media has also not really focused on the mayoral race.
As it stands, the Auckland mayoralty appears likely to be decided just on the basis of who is the best known – not who has the skills and policies to make the changes needed.
I have debated Phil Goff more than any other mayoral candidate. Although I have no personal issues with Phil, it is very clear to me he has neither the local government and Auckland Council experience nor the insights and policies to make the changes Auckland needs.
The only public poll on the mayoralty showed housing and transport were overwhelming the issues of greatest concern to Aucklanders. Yet this poll had Phil Goff with more than double the support of the next four candidates, despite his having not released housing and transport policies at this stage.
I have greatly appreciated support from many Aucklanders and am grateful to have been widely acknowledged as a credible candidate for Mayor – including from people who are not supporting me.
I have very much enjoyed being part of Auckland Council for the last six years, helping build stronger communities and contributing to one of the most effective local boards.
I believed the best way for me to improve Auckland Council was as mayor, but if current polling is confirmed and Phil Goff wins, I will find a way from outside council to make council more relevant for people – as part of preparing a campaign for the Mayoralty in 2019.
I will use the remaining weeks to make people aware of the lack of change a Phil Goff mayoralty will bring and to encourage people to vote positively for a new mayor who can fix the dysfunction that exists between Auckland and its council.