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Super City: The Contenders

19 July 2010

On Thursday 15 July, Chapman Tripp and Auckland's business leaders heard Auckland Council Mayoral candidates John Banks and Len Brown speak from the same platform for the first time in their Super City election campaigns.

Each candidate outlined their vision for Auckland, and answered questions from the floor.

Click on the links below to listen to the audio (links are listed in the order the candidates spoke).

Introduction from Chapman Tripp Chief Executive Alastair Carruthers

One Auckland Council, replacing eight.

One district plan, replacing seven.

One rating system, replacing eight.

One rates bill per property, replacing two.

One regional transport authority and one water and waste water provider - each replacing eight entities.

And perhaps most significantly, one elected regional Mayor to preside over one Super City.In six days, an official public notice will announce an election and call for nominations for members in the Auckland Council.  From 17 September, voting papers will arrive at your homes.  At midday on 9 October voting will close.  Chances are high that 86 days from now one of these two fine gentlemen will then find himself in the inaugural role of Super Mayor.

…it’s my privilege to welcome two of the region’s most distinguished, committed and hard working citizens – their worships Mayor John Banks, and Mayor Len Brown.

Podcast Len Brown's opening address

Podcast John Banks' opening address

Question 1

Both candidates here have spoken of the desire to lift Auckland into truly world class status as a city. We know that Auckland ranks among the top five cities in the Mercer Quality of Life survey of 200 world cities. What would you focus on to elevate Auckland to the number one spot?

Podcast John Banks' response

Podcast Len Brown's response

Question 2

Another question relating to lifting the status of the city concerns the spatial plan. This is a document that not all of us may have focussed on, but it is a very long term requirement of the council to lay out how it would see the basis for Auckland’s economic growth and development over many years. What critical features do you think the plan should contain?

Podcast Len Brown's response

Podcast John Banks' response

Question 3

How, practically, do you go about the job of unifying the city? [This question is] about the transition to a single rating system, which must be in place by July 2012. This is when all rates across the city must be harmonised. Could each candidate here comment on what you believe are the greatest challenges to achieving that? In passing, you might like to remark on some of the concerns out in the communities about services that are currently free in some parts of the city and paid for in other parts of the city, the most practical example being swimming pools, which in Manukau don’t cost rate payers and yet in Auckland there is a charge, albeit modest. Do you have views you’d like to share on that?

Podcast John Banks' response

Podcast Len Brown's response

Question 4

A paper was written for the Royal Commission by Professor Hamilton from the University of Bristol. His expertise is in governance arrangements for cities. He pointed out that progressive cities in the world now are using the third strand of knowledge to make their governance systems work. We have in our country, both in central and local government levels, two strands of expertise: we’ve had our elected representatives and we’ve had the executive staff that they appoint. We have, to a certain critical statement, been spectators of what they then do. Now the progressive cities are finding ways to engage with the wisdom of the public. Because all of the wisdom that’s needed to make this huge change will not reside in the minds of these elected local representatives nor in even the Mayor, might I suggest…what sort of principles of operation have you in mind to actually draw on that great wealth of knowledge and take us forward a leap from where we have been governed in the past?

Podcast John Banks' response

Podcast Len Brown's response

Question 5

At a national level government is looking at nation building. What we’re hearing here tonight is a lot about city building and the vision that is involved in that. That’s going to require a significant amount of money by way of investment. Where’s that money going to come from? What is the source for that money? I want to pose a hypothetical question: the new city will have $500-600 million invested in Auckland International Airport, which is thriving. Surely there is a case to be made to reallocate those funds to necessary new investment in infrastructure across the new Super City. I’d be interested in both of your views on that.

Podcast Len Brown's response

Podcast John Banks' response

Question 6

In his answer to the previous question, John Banks raised the issue of Queen’s Wharf. Len Brown was then asked what would he do to sort out the Queen’s Wharf mess?

Podcast Len Brown answers

Podcast John Banks then responds

Question 7

We have a shortage of housing for people, both affordable housing and social housing, that’s housing just for Aucklanders. But if we’re going to grow our population, currently there is 9,500 houses a year short and have been for the last two years - what is your policy about building housing in Auckland and increasing our housing stock and specifically about affordable housing?

Podcast John Banks' response

Podcast Len Brown's response

Final question of the evening

Why do you want this job?

Podcast Len Brown's response

Podcast John Banks' response

For more information, contact our Web Editorwebeditor@chapmantripp.com+64 9 357 9622

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