Auckland Local Body elections

I've heard many people talk about who they will vote for in the Auckland Local body elections, the first for the Auckland Supercity (which combines four cities into one). The change to the supercity is a substantial reduction in the democratic say people in Auckland have over their local government - it really takes the local out of local government, with each local Councillor having a larger constituency than the Members of Parliament in national politics, and it was rushed through against the objections of most Aucklanders by Rodney Hide, the Local Government Minister from the small and now very unpopular ACT party.

It is important that as Aucklanders we make the best of a bad situation, and elect the best possible councillors and mayor. It is a First Past the Post election (and, thanks to Rodney Hide, Aucklanders, unlike people in every other area in the country, don't have the right to a referendum to change to STV), and so strategic voting comes into play - it unfortunately has to be a two horse race.

In the mayoral election, there are really only two players with a real shot, Len Brown and John Banks. The elections for councillors are more complex - there are several left and right wing tickets; the biggest left-wing ticket is City Vision, and the biggest right-wing ticket is Citizens & Ratepayers Now.

I think it would be very bad for Auckland if John Banks and Citizens & Ratepayers got in - here's a few quotes from John Banks:

  • "If I wear my policy on my sleeve, I won't get elected" - in other words, John Banks won't tell you what he would do if he is elected mayor of the supercity, because otherwise you wouldn't vote for him! A pretty good reason not to vote for him.
  • Len Brown (current Mayor of Manukau City) “led a social disaster, his city has been a social disaster for Auckland”. He doesn't “want South Auckland replicated across the North Shore and across all of Auckland”. In other words, straight out prejudiced bashing of a big chunk of the new supercity.

Rodney Hide gave the supercity council the power to sell off management rights to our water assets for the next 50 years - so they can sell water back to us at inflated rates. John Banks and C&R have sold off assets before - for example, half of Auckland Airport in 2003, and selling off our water, our parks, and our libraries could easily be some of those policies they don't want to tell us about.

C&Rs tagline is "lowest possible rates" - probably by selling off our assets and underinvesting in our future. It will undoubtedly cost Aucklanders more in the long run. Public transport in Auckland is already very poor - getting around is slow and travel times are unreliable - but you can't get the "lowest possible rates" if you want to invest in the future.

Without a doubt, I'm voting for Len Brown and City Vision (who have a policy to oppose privatisation and support public transport). There may be candidates who could do the same thing better, but voting for City Vision & Len Brown is the best way to not split the vote in a First Past the Post election (and most of the best ones have not run because they don't want to split the vote, and have instead put their support behind City Vision).