Thursday, April 18, 2024

Former MP standing for Auckland Council

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Maurice Williamson. Photo Alchetron

Former long-serving Member of Parliament for Pakuranga Maurice Williamson has announced he will stand for a seat on the Auckland Council at the local government elections later this year.

“I intend to stand for one of the two seats representing the Howick ward, an area that includes the entire Pakuranga Electorate that I represented for 30 years,” says Williamson.

“It was never my intention to stand for local government following my time in Parliament but public pressure has made me rethink that position. I am approached on an almost daily basis by ratepayers who are seriously concerned about the performance of the Auckland Council.

“Rates just keep on going up, as does debt, yet we seem to be getting less from the council by way of core services.”

Williamson says the Super City, which was formed by amalgamating seven city and district councils into one in 2010, has never delivered for the ratepayer.

“We were told at the time that the amalgamation would see huge efficiency gains, a rationalisation of operational units, and significant cost savings. We were promised the new regime would see a reduction in costs and total staff employed,” Williamson says.

“But in reality, the very opposite has happened. Rates have risen by over 150 per cent in real terms (that’s after correcting for inflation). Liabilities have more than tripled and debt servicing is now costing over a million dollars a day. And that’s while interest rates have been at all-time lows.

“And far from rationalising the number of staff, Auckland Council has experienced a massive increase in overall staff numbers, with at least one in every four of those employees paid over $100,000 a year.

“There has to be a day of reckoning. No organisation can just keep spending money that it hasn’t got and racking up debt.

“If the ratepayers of the Howick Ward are prepared to give me their vote, I will be fixated on reducing costs, staff, debt, liabilities and most importantly, rates.”

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