The ARA has issued this media release
AUCKLAND FUTURE IN BED WITH "TERRIBLE TEN"
15 AUGUST 2016
The Auckland Ratepayers' Alliance is staggered that National Party-aligned Council ticket Auckland Future has endorsed three of the "Terrible Ten" Councillors who supported Len Brown's 9.9% rates hikes last year. Reacting to comments by Auckland Future officials at last night's Auckland Future campaign launch, Jo Holmes, a spokesperson for the Ratepayers' Alliance, says:
"Auckland Future are trying to convince Aucklanders that they stand for fiscal responsibility. Yet they are cosying up to Penny Webster, Bill Cashmore and Linda Cooper - three current councillors who have consistently voted for Len Brown's fiscal irresponsibility.”
“We are dumbfounded that not only did Auckland Future decide not to stand a new candidate in Rodney but have gone so far as to actually endorse Penny Webster. Cr Webster is the very councillor who cheered Len Brown's Finance and Performance Committee steering Auckland onto the high debt high rates pathway.”
“Auckland Future are now the only group of centre-right candidates which to date have not signed up to the Ratepayers' Alliance's 2% Ratepayer Protection Pledge.”
“If Auckland Future stood for fiscal responsibility, they would have no trouble in signing the Ratepayer Protection Pledge. The fact their candidates haven’t, and are now getting in bed with three of the Terrible Ten, suggests that they do not really mean what they say when it comes to fiscal responsibility.”
“Here at the Ratepayers' Alliance, we stand for policy, not politicians. That's why we have welcomed politicians from the left and the right signing up to the Ratepayer Protection Pledge. As an example, both leading candidates in the Waitemata and Golf Ward, Bill Ralston and Mike Lee, have signed up. Their voters know they stand for fiscal responsibility and are prepared to be held accountable. If only we had the same guarantee from Auckland Future’s candidates.”
What made the evening surreal was the introduction of Councillor candidates was made by Cllr. Denise Krum. Krum has spent the last three years acting in a fiscally responsible manner being one of the few to oppose the Terrible Three on just about every issue.
Eventually the floor was handed over to Victoria Crone, Auckland Future’s Mayoral candidate. Crone has pledged to keep rates rises at 2% but can ratepayers trust her given the endorsement of three Councillors with a six year track record of supporting a profligate Labour Mayor to the hilt. After all, even Goff is promising a 2.5% rates cap and who can trust that given the long list of promised capital projects he wants to undertake.
Meanwhile the more prudent centre-right C&R grouping either stayed away or were not invited. Bill Ralston is using his political nous by declaring himself as an independent candidate while establishing his centre right credentials with Auckland Future.
However, the fascinating feature of the surreal evening was that it was a night of Pasifika. It was hosted by the Tongan Auckland Future grouping. We were greeted with island drumming, the men wearing traditional taʻovala dress, and Tongan wall hangings. The reason? National has been working very hard in south Auckland to prize the Pacific Island vote away from Labour. Many of Auckland Future’s candidates for both Council and local boards are Tongan or Samoan. Also well represented were members of the Chinese community who are influential in central Auckland.
This is a smart move by Auckland Future. Reflecting Auckland’s increasing cultural diversity is a must if the city is to thrive, as is loosening the grip of Labour in the South and Central city. An even smarter move would be for Auckland Future candidates to back the independent Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance pledge. That would give our 17000 members some confidence that they mean what they say.