Can a 100 to 1 outsider win the next Auckland mayoral race now that Brown has confirmed he will not seek re-election after being ditched by the Labour Party in favour of Phil Goff? If Goff doesn't promise to curb debt and stop raiding ratepayers' wallets for more cash to pay for transport fixes that are anything but solutions then the answer is yes.
After the ABs had secured the RWC, thereby eliminating all further anxiety, there was little else to do on the Gold Coast but relax, enjoy the 28 to 30 degree warmth, and bask in the glory of being a Kiwi. The Aussies were very subdued the next day, but came to life on Tuesday as further sporting history was made when Michelle Payne became first female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup. All in all, a great time for a female Kiwi to be across the ditch.
Meanwhile little news filtered through from back home except the announcement on Thursday that Phil Goff had finally confirmed what we all knew, that he would be Labour’s preferred candidate for the mayoralty of Auckland in next years local body elections.
The Taxpayers Union was quick off the mark to call for Goff's resignation as an MP while he campaigns. Here is their media release.
TAXPAYERS SHOULDN'T PAY FOR PHIL GOFF'S MAYORAL CAMPAIGN
The Taxpayers’ Union is calling on the Labour MP Phil Goff to confirm that he will be resigning from Parliament when he announces his tilt to stand for Auckland Mayor. New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says:
“We’re calling for Mr Goff to confirm that he will not be campaigning on the taxpayer coin. If he is indeed Labour’s new candidate for the Auckland mayoralty he should do the decent thing and resign from Parliament to conduct the campaign."
“Taxpayers won’t tolerate a situation where Mr Goff is paid to be an MP in Wellington, but is instead campaigning to be Labour’s new mayor in Auckland."
Worries about the financial probity of a Goff mayoralty were taken up by the Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance which had this to say:
FINANCES SHOULD BE CENTRE-PIECE OF GOFF MAYORAL RACE
The Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance is welcoming the expected announcement from Labour's Phil Goffthat he will be putting his hat in the ring to be the next Mayor of Auckland. Carmel Claridge, Spokesperson for the Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance, says:
“While many of our members will welcome Labour replacing Len Brown for another candidate, we need to see a credible plan to end Auckland Council's high rates, high debt, trajectory."
“Right now Auckland Council owes creditors more on a per person basis than any other council in New Zealand. Even Christchurch ratepayers have a smaller per capita debt burden.”
“All Super City mayoral candidates will need credible plans which set out how they are going to pay for their promises. If Mr Goff is running on promises of transport spending, we just want to know how he plans to pay for it. After 9.9% rate hikes and with more borrowing out of the question, dipping deeper into ratepayers' pockets isn’t an option."
If Goff’s promise is to spend on transport then Auckland is doomed to even more debt and ever more double digit rates hikes because he will buy into the corporate welfare project that is Kiwirail and the City Rail Link.
Goff need look no further than the Gold Coast to see how a city with a third of Auckland’s population but spread out over as wide an area manages public transport. From a tourist point of view, the combination of light rail (trams) and a solid gold bus service makes getting around on public transport a delight. No need for timetables because the buses run every few minutes up and down the length of the city with easy tram connections from Broadbeach north. Trams are also every few minutes.
In Auckland overground is affordable, underground is not. Managing public transport sensibly in Auckland is as simple as that, but I doubt Goff would do other than fall into line behind his bureaucrats, which is why Goff would make an appalling mayor.
Maybe the pundits are right and Goff and Key have done a deal over managing Auckland’s future. If so they might be in for a shock if ratepayers get an option of voting for a credible business person who knows how to manage finances and curb activist bureaucrats.
The mood in Auckland is for change not more of the same. I wouldn’t mind a punt on a 100 to 1 outsider who can deliver what ratepayers and not politicians want winning the Mayoral race, because digging deeper into our pockets is not an option.