Come On, West Auckland! It’s Our Time!

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Future West with Len Brown

Voting papers are being sent out from today, and Future West and Future Whau have made it real easy to vote for Your Street, not Queen Street.

For Mayor of the Auckland Super City, tick Len Brown.

For the Henderson-Massey and Waitakere Ranges Local Board, tick all the Future West Candidates.

For the Whau Local Board, tick all the Future Whau Candidates.

For the Portage and Waitakere Licensing Trusts, tick all the Future West and City Vision Candidates.

Why? From our About page:

[Future West and Future Whau’s] goal is to get strong, progressive local people elected, so the Waitakere way is kept alive in the new, amalgamated structure. The coalition backs community-power and keeping community assets like libraries, pools and water in community control. It wants safer streets, local jobs, better public transport and to see the Eco-City values spread across the region. It also supports Maori representation on Council.

Tell your friends, tell your family, tell your co-workers, tell your neighbours – the only way to vote in West Auckland is Future West and Future Whau.

Love your library

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Massey Library

Lyndon Walker

The Auckland Supercity merger will see Aucklanders have access to the 55 libraries and four mobile libraries in the Auckland region; from Wellsford to Waiheke to Waiuku. This will make it the largest collection of libraries in Australasia, giving Aucklanders access to around 3.5 million items.

Beyond the books, public libraries provide many valuable services; providing book clubs, kids classes, retiree sessions and a venue and meeting place for public events. They provide internet access for those who can’t afford it and many other valuable community services.

I feel that an important role of the new local boards will be to protect community assets like our libraries. There will be a strong temptation for the new council to “rationalise” services, which really means to slash and cut. When completing your voting papers, vote Future West for protecting your local library.

The Great Radio New Zealand Mayoral Debate

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by Greg Presland

I attended the Mayoral Debate this morning hosted by Radio New Zealand. Present were the three leading candididates, Len Brown, John Banks and Andrew Williams.

Before the debate started the body language was fascinating. Len and Banksie shook hands warmly. The chill between Banks and Williams was evident.

Len spoke about his transport plans. They included rail to the Airport, completing the rail network look by construction of the Queen Street tunnel, a possible road tunnel to the North Shore although he acknowledged that the Anzac Bridge project had some promise. When asked for a timeframe he said 5 to 7 years for the Queen Street tunnel.

Banks was asked a similar question. He talked about the need for world class infrastructure and how he supported passenger transport but did not come up with any dates.

Len Brown became passionate when he talked about the neglect that Otahuhu has suffered from the Auckland City Council. Despite 30 years of inaction and despite the promise of a swimming pool Otahuhu had been ignored. He also commented that the money that could have been spent on the pool had been spent instead on putting sand on Judges Bay.

Banks countered by saying that South Aucklanders used Judges Bay as well! This could be the Melissa Lee moment of the campaign. It spoke volumes of his mindset. “The good people” live in places like Remuera. “Other” people such as those from South Auckland could also use Judges Bay. I cannot imagine anything that would be more enraging to the good people of South Auckland.

Rating was discussed. Banks made a comment about the “wild promises of my opponents” which brought the wonderful response by Williams noting that Banks “was promising to bring the Olympics to Auckland”.

Banks also read a supposed verbatim comment made by Len at a previous meeting that Banks was not at where it was alleged that Len had advocated for income tax to replace rates.

Len replied that Banks should have been there. He also made it clear that he was advocating for a full review of funding for Local Government and that to do it properly all options should be on the table. It is clear from his comments that his primary interest was fairness, particularly for the poor. I am not so sure that Banks sees this issue in the same terms.

Len was on top of his game. He was quick with responses, very effective with his jibes and was very funny. Banks in contrast was wooden and although he delivered his selection of quotes well, he floundered when dealing with a debate of the issues.

All in all to my mind it was a clear win to Len. If course I could be accused of being biased …

Why we CAN get the public transport right

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Lyndon Walker

A few years back I was staying in an outer suburb of Sydney with friends. We were catching a train to the city but missed it narrowly. My friends were bemused when I ran down the ramp to try to catch it. Of course my experience of public transport was from Auckland, where missing a bus or train would mean an hour wait. The next train came 5 minutes later. I was astounded.

Aucklanders have suffered from poor transport for far too long, and it need not be so. One of the keys to supplying good public transport services is to have the right services supplied at the right places and the right times. This might seem tricky but in fact the last census recorded the home and work locations of every person in Auckland. Statistics New Zealand has mapped all of this data and will provide it for free. FREE! A redesign of bus routes and public transport services could dramatically improve services but we have yet to see any use made of the census data. Next year we will have another census. I hope we won’t see the data wasted again when it could be used to improve the state of transport in Auckland.

Why Local Government is important

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By Greg Presland

Our hearts and best wishes go to the people of Christchurch who are obviously struggling with life changing events.  After seeing the photographs and video all that I can say is that I am astounded that as far as I am aware no one has been killed as a direct result of the earthquake.

New Zealand will have to fall behind the rebuilding of Christchurcn and the surrounding areas.  I hope that the Government shows the same amount of largesse and generosity to Cantabrians who may not have insurance as it has shown to wealthy investors of South Canterbury Finance.

For me the weekend’s experience sums up why Local Government is important.

Firstly it must manage and enforce building standards.  Some think that the standards are too high, but after you see the effects of a 7.1 grade earthquake you tend to be very grateful that the standards are set where they are.

Secondly I am impressed by the Civil Defence response.  The impression I get is that the organisation slipped quickly into gear and that basics such as water and sewerage are already being addressed.

Thirdly the earthquake shows how important basic infrastructure such as roads, water supply and sewerage are.  They are expensive to establish and maintain but as soon as something happens to them their absence becomes stark.  I understand that most of Christchurch’s power and water is up and running.  Obviously the priority for the area is to reestablish fully these systems.

If the cheap option had been chosen in any of these areas then the results could have been entirely different.   Cheapest is not best.