Thursday, April 18, 2024

Councillors look forward to ‘fixing Auckland’

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Former Pakuranga MP Maurice Williamson has been elected to Auckland Council’s governing body. Photo supplied

Sharon Stewart and Maurice Williamson say they’re looking forward to working with new Auckland mayor Wayne Brown to tackle the city’s major challenges.

The two Independent candidates were the highest vote winners for the Howick ward’s seats on Auckland Council’s governing body in the local elections on October 8.

Stewart topped all local candidates in the race, earning 15,923 preliminary votes.

Williamson, the former National Party MP for Pakuranga, was second with 14,455 preliminary votes.

Incumbent Howick ward councillor Paul Young lost his seat, finishing third.

His running mate, Howick Local Board member Bo Burns, finished fourth.

Candidates Damian Light and Morgan Xiao were fifth and sixth respectively.

Stewart says: “I’m very pleased to be re-elected again to serve my community as an Auckland councillor.

“I’d like to thank the people of Howick for supporting me again and I’m looking forward to working alongside Maurice Williamson on the new council.

“We’re both excited with the results and are keen to get stuck in with the new mayor Wayne Brown in trying to fix the city.

“This will be the first centre-right mayor we’ve had in the city since the amalgamation [in 2010] and with the numbers looking good we should be able to have a good go at fixing the city.”

Sharon Stewart was re-elected to Auckland Council in the Howick ward. Photo supplied

Stewart says she enjoyed campaigning with Williamson.

She thanks him for “stepping up” over the last fortnight when she had to be in Wellington to be at the bedside and then funeral of her mother-in-law Hazel who passed away at age 94.

“Once again thank you to the people of Howick,” Stewart says.

“You can rely on Maurice Williamson and me to look after the interests of Howick and Auckland.

“We’re also looking forward to working with the new Howick Local Board.”

Williamson served as Pakuranga MP from 1987-2017.

He held numerous ministerial roles in previous National-led Governments before leaving Parliament to take up a post as New Zealand’s consul-general in Los Angeles.

The experienced politician stood for a council seat on the message of reining in council spending and getting it to focus on core business.

He says the results of this year’s local elections are a “really good outcome” and he’s pleased to see incoming Auckland mayor Wayne Brown “end up with enough votes around the table to do what he wants to do”.

“Wayne’s got about 13 of the 20 [councillors] onside.

“That means he’ll be able to go ahead and do the things he wants without having to continually either back down or compromise.”

Williamson says he’s known Brown for decades and has an “enormous amount of faith” in him.

“Back in the 1990s I was Minister of Transport and I appointed him chairman of the Land Transport Safety Authority.

“He did a bloody good job so I was delighted with that [Brown’s victory as mayor].”

Williamson says he stood for a council seat for one specific reason.

“Things down at the local community level … I’m a big fan of the local boards dealing with that stuff.

“The big issues and the massive things that are citywide issues should go up to the council, but a whole lot of things that impact just this community should go down to the board.

“They should be given more say and more power to decide on the things that impact just the people of this area.”

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