Auckland Mayoral Candidates Challenged To Front Up

Auckland Mayoral Candidate Mark Thomas has challenged other candidates to be specific about their plans and provide relevant background information, where unknown, such as who they had voted for in previous General Elections.

Thomas also said vague plans to reduce rates, improve transport or move the port were meaningless without a funded plan on how to achieve them. The former National candidate also said how a candidate had voted in past General Elections was an important indicator.

“I have been discussing my plan to make Auckland more affordable by rewriting the Auckland Plan to remove its focus on government services and non-core activities.

“To reduce average rates by 1%, we need to find only $15M in the $1.5 billion rates budget. However Aucklanders coping with an average of 9.9% increases this year will expect better than that.

“Council spends $400 million each year in governance and support areas and $185 million annually in economic and cultural development. These were the two areas Aucklanders wanted significant reductions in, but this didn’t happen. Thomas said he would reduce programmes in these areas, and also cut lower value projects in other parts of the council budget.”

“I have signed up to an honest discussion with ratepayers around the assets council owns, because I know we do a poor job running many of these.

Thomas said he had also been discussing the specific local transport projects he would advance, and the regional projects he would defer. He had yet to hear that detail from other candidates.”

Thomas said in the twelve weeks since he had launched he had built a campaign team, had fundraising and paid advertising underway, had visited 20 of the 21 local board areas in Auckland and had participated in dozens of meetings and community events.

“I am grateful for the support and encouragement I have been receiving from senior political, business and community leaders. But the most positive feedback has been from the Aucklanders I have met all around the region. They see benefit in a candidate who both understands Auckland Council and the political environment but also who has the practical business background to make the changes needed.

“To be taken seriously by ratepayers, Auckland mayoral candidates also need to be committed to the task. Thomas said he was working 45 hours a week on the campaign, and that his main opponents’ decisions to maintain their existing demanding roles would make it harder for them to devote the time needed to understand the issues.

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