John Elliott: Local Body Election Update

Auckland Council has launched a new website for this year’s election in October. is a one-stop destination for candidates and voters. It has information about how to vote, why people should vote, and how Auckland Council works.

Auckland Council General Manager Democracy Services, Marguerite Delbet, says, “We live in one of the most culturally diverse regions in the world so we need to make sure all Aucklanders have the information they need to get involved and make informed decisions.”

Candidates can access a range of resources, including information about how nominations work, how to campaign and the roles, responsibilities and remuneration of elected members.

One of the main reasons people don’t vote is because they don’t know enough about candidates. This new website aims to fix that by putting on-line statements by candidates including why they are standing.

Minister of Local Government, Nanaia Mahuta, has praised the website initiative and said, “We need to support candidates to stand and voters to make informed decisions so that our locally elected members represent our common interests.”

Key dates are:
19 July – candidate nominations open.
16 August – candidate nominations close at 12 noon.
20 September – voting opens.
8 October – last day to post voting papers.
12 October – voting closes at 12 noon.

Cats amongst the pigeons – new candidates announced. I can now announce that Councillor Mike Lee will stand again for his Waitemata Ward council seat. His statement, embargoed until announced in this month’s Ponsonby News, is released on this page.

Lee says it was a difficult decision, but feels there is unfinished business, and with the mess of Goff’s poor leadership and the secrecy of the CCOs, there certainly is. Lee will seek to correct what he sees as an “arrogant, overbearing council/CCO bureaucracy, appalling financial mismanagement and bureaucratic waste.” Mike Lee has served Auckland long and well. He deserved his retirement but will be well supported to continue his service. A campaign battle with Pippa Coom looms. Rob Thomas may join the fray adding another complexity to the battle, and my information tells me there will be a C&R woman candidate announced soon to further complicate the Waitemata race.

I personally prefer that local body elections do not feature party political candidates. However, we have two slates of candidates in Auckland elections who are, just under the surface, surrogates – for C&R read National Party, and for City Vision read Labour and the Greens.

Many, even most, local issues are neither left nor right, so I favour a mix on each local board.

The Waitemata Local Board will be fiercely contested, too. A full slate of C&R candidates is about to be announced. City Vision already has their seven candidates selected. I know that there will be several independents, possibly including heritage expert Alan Matson.
I’ll keep you informed. (JOHN ELLIOTT)

Statement from Mike Lee

I have decided to stand again for council for the Waitemata & Gulf Ward – as an independent.

It was always my intention to retire at the end of this present term. Accordingly, late last year, my wife Jenny and I moved back to Waiheke Island. But for the best part of the past year I have been lobbied by council colleagues and by supporters in the Waitemata & Gulf Ward to stand again for one more term.

I think this has been one of the hardest decisions I have had to make during my time in politics. However, I have come to the conclusion that there could be no happy, peaceful retirement for me given the state of affairs in the so-called ‘Super City’ – I would be therefore better off to stand and fight.

I am dismayed at the situation Auckland is in. I firmly believe the ‘Super City is the worse thing that has ever happened to Auckland. The people of Auckland have to endure an arrogant, overbearing council/CCO bureaucracy, appalling financial mismanagement and bureaucratic waste. The council’s growing debt situation (presently being swept under the carpet), will, I predict, almost immediately after the election, be revealed to show how truly bad the situation is. I am also certain this will be the pretext for another attempt to privatise Auckland’s remaining incoming-earning assets such as the council’s car parking buildings and even the Ports of Auckland.

This must be strongly opposed and a more prudent management regime adopted. Working with my councillor colleagues, I believe there is work for me still to be done. I want to continue achieving long-term goals such as those I have attained over the last three years, including the Parnell Train Station, the Motukorea-Browns Island Regional Park, the soon to be re-commissioned waterfront heritage tramway, the eradication of rats from DoC-owned Rakitu Island near Great Barrier (which I instigated with the Great Barrier Local Board in 2011 and as a member of the Nature Heritage Fund arranged much of the funding for in 2013).

I will strongly oppose the council agenda to impose reticulated sewerage on Waiheke Island and I also will to continue to speak out strongly on behalf of the overwhelming majority of Aucklanders who want trains – not light rail to Auckland Airport. While I will announce more of these goals during the election campaign, if re-elected I see my primary role to speak out on behalf of the public and to continue to hold the council, Auckland Transport, Panuku, etc, accountable – in the public interest.

I thank those Aucklanders who asked me to stand for mayor, and I did think seriously about it, but the harsh reality is the way the Super City has been designed means any such undertaking can only be realistic for a candidate with wealthy backers. I do not have that sort of backing.

Given the direction and the growing power of the present council/CCO elite, a strong independent voice, speaking out on behalf of the public is needed now more than ever. Therefore, I will once again be seeking the support of the people of Waitemata & Gulf. (MIKE LEE)