Thursday, April 18, 2024

Mayoral candidates compete for votes at Grey Power debate

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Taking part in a recent mayoral candidates’ debate in Howick were Craig Lord, Ted Johnston, John Lehmann, Viv Beck, Michael Kampkes, and Wayne Brown (not pictured). Times photo Wayne Martin

The Auckland mayoral candidate debate road show has rolled into east Auckland again with six of the contenders vying to take over the role from Phil Goff making their pitch to hundreds of voters.

Goff is not standing for re-election at the Auckland Council elections being held next month.

Taking part in the debate staged by the Grey Power Howick Pakuranga and Districts Association at Howick Presbyterian Church on August 26 were Wayne Brown, Viv Beck, Craig Lord, Ted Johnston, John Lehmann, and Michael Kampkes.

Each candidate began by introducing themselves and explaining why those present should vote for them.

Lord said he wants to overhaul the council’s preferred contractor procurement system.

“We need to get local contractors working local [so] we pay those contractors directly instead of having to come from the other side of the city to fix your footpath.

“The glazier preferred contactor for Warkworth was coming from Pukekohe.

“You are paying for that. We can save you a fortune by overhauling this system.”

Johnston, a criminal barrister, said there are problems with Auckland Transport, “massive wastage”, and talked about issues relating to public transport.

“We’ve got a situation where the Government’s going to spend $14.9 billion to build light rail from Britomart to the airport, but it’s only 7km from the Puhinui Station to the airport.

“So why are we wasting $15b? This whole city has quite a good skeleton for a rail system.

“Having lived in London I’ve seen what works and what doesn’t.”

Lehmann’s opening remarks focused on crime, saying over the years he’s seen Auckland going “down and down and down”.

“We’ve got problems with crime, with ram-raids, and it’s like the ‘Wild West’ out there sometimes.

“You’ve got shootouts in the street.”

He said one reason for high crime rates was the way the city’s been run since the super-city amalgamation in 2010.

Lehmann said he wanted to implement free bus rides and a rates freeze.

Beck said she’s developed policies relating to transport and congestion, crime and housing and infrastructure.

She said there needs to be a much more efficient way of managing the council.

“It’s very important the mayor has the [right] skill set and leadership style, because you’re one vote on council.

“You need to work with all the other councillors around the table very constructively, whatever their view, to make decisions people respect.

“You need to get high performance from councillors and council-controlled organisations and you have to be able to work with the Government of the day to get our fair share of resources.”

Kampkes said his campaign was focusing on the issue of housing intensification.

It’s an issue that’s “going to affect seniors seriously”, he said.

Brown said one of the city’s biggest problems is “unfinished, behind-time, over-expensive infrastructure projects everywhere”.

He said existing major projects needed to be completed before others, such as light rail to Auckland Airport, were tackled.

Brown pointed to issues around drainage and flooding in east Auckland which “should have been fixed years and years ago”.

“Now that we’ve got money set aside for global warming, I think I’m going to use it for mitigating [flooding] for those poor people stuck in those houses.”

The candidates answered questions relating to issues including New Zealand’s aging population and the increasing problems of senior housing.

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