Posted on November 9, 2015
Auckland Mayoral Candidate Mark Thomas said Len Brown’s decision today sets up for a clear contest between a candidate with detailed experience of the last five years of Auckland Council and twenty in business, and one with detailed experience of the last 30 years of Parliament.
“Auckland now needs to turn its mind to Len’s replacement and to who best understands Auckland’s challenges and can deliver on its opportunities”
Thomas said he wanted to acknowledge Len for his decision not to contest the Auckland Mayoralty.
“Despite our significant differences on the direction he has taken Auckland, he is a passionate Aucklander who has put a lot into building this first period of a united Auckland.”
“He has thrown himself into the role of being Auckland’s cheer-leader-in-chief, but the executive mayoral role of the largest local government structure in Australasia demands a lot more than that.”
Five years on, disillusionment with the Super City has deepened. Average rates increase are in double digits, traffic congestion is getting worse and the region’s growth plans are in limbo. We have seen the impact of the Mayor’s approach to running Auckland spread around the country with three proposals to create other super cities rejected.
“I disagree with Len on the central way he has run Auckland: adopting an officer-led approach to the region’s planning and key decision making.”
“The public, through their councillors and local board members, don’t have an effective enough say in Auckland’s governance. I will change this by adopting a more genuine community led approach to planning. Local Boards will get more authority and a greater share of the existing budget, and councillors will have a greater role in council planning and decision making.”
“Len commented this morning that no training could prepare you to be Mayor of Auckland. That’s wrong. Working as an elected member of Auckland Council for the last five years, combined with twenty years of business and community experience is a more diverse and relevant background than career politics.”
Thomas said he had spent the first six weeks of his campaign meeting with community and business leaders all around the region, and with over a dozen Auckland-based Members of Parliament.
“The reaction has been very positive. I’m getting a lot of agreement on the key issues of a more affordable council, better transport sooner and agreed growth plans.
“A year out from the election, I am also grateful for the personal levels of support I have been receiving.”
Thomas said Len Brown’s record will be as the inaugural Mayor of a united Auckland who championed some of the building blocks for our region’s future. But a new Mayor is needed who can reprioritise those blocks, build much stronger community support and make more progress.