This has been recognized by some experienced Councillors who know the way they can make a difference is to influence the direction and governance of their local boards. Fiscally responsible Councillors Cameron Brewer and George Wood have both announced they are standing down from six years on the Governing Body and are instead standing for election to their local boards in Rodney and Devonport-Takapuna respectively.
George Wood explains why in a letter:
Why I’m Standing Only for the Devonport-Takapuna Local Board
After discussions with trusted friends in our area, and talking the issues through, I have decided not to seek re-election to Auckland Council, but to stand for the Devonport-Takapuna Local Board in the forthcoming local body elections in October. The more I thought about it, and the more we talked it over, the easier that decision has become. It's the areas and communities of Castor Bay, Milford, Forrest Hill, Sunnynook, Takapuna, Belmont, Bayswater and Devonport that have always been my passion, since 1998 when I won the first of my three terms as Mayor of North Shore City.
And it’s those areas, now covered by the Devonport-Takapuna Local Board (DTLB), that I see as having the greatest need for rejuvenation, and restoration of the levels and standards of service they used to enjoy prior to North Shore City being absorbed into Auckland “super-city” in 2010. During my nearly two terms as a Councillor for North Shore Ward for the last 5½ years, two things have become clear to me:
- Other Local Boards within the expanded Auckland City have achieved advances for their areas that have been not been matched by the present DTLB in ours. I believe this is because present DTLB members have allowed themselves to be distracted by side issues, and they have failed to listen to the voices of their community.
- It helps Local Boards to achieve those advances if they are led by someone who knows the ropes within the Governing Body of Auckland Council. In my second Council term, having been appointed as chairman of the Whole of Council Regional Strategy and Policy Committee, I have been able to further my grasp of how Council works both at political and bureaucracy levels, and who are the appropriate contacts.
- That’s why I have decided not just to seek election to the new DT Local Board, but will accept nomination as its chairman. And, that’s why I will stand alongside a team of like-minded people, who have asked me to be chairman, and who share my determination to make up the ground we have lost in our local area over the last 5½ years.
Experienced, independent leadership is required to get things back on track and look to the future not the past. Candidates who stand against the current failed board members appear to have heeded my advice and kept their powder dry until the last minute (nominations close on Friday this week). I have no doubt good people will put their names forward so the community can choose between certain failure with the current board members or renewed hope a better future.
George Wood’s experience will make him a formidable leader for his community, as will Cameron’s. I wish both George and Cameron every success.