E nga tangata whenua o tenei rohe – Ngati Whatua – kia ora koutou
E nga hau e wha – nga mihi nui ki a koutou
Auckland is the most unequal city in New Zealand – there is extreme wealth enjoyed by a tiny few while the majority struggle. It’s a city run for East Parnell while in West and South Auckland in particular families struggle from day to day and week to week. Auckland is a city where half our workers are paid less than $24,000 a year while last year less than 100 received close to $3 billion in unearned, untaxed income.
It’s a city of unliveable wages, unaffordable housing and endless traffic gridlock.
And it’s getting worse because central government policy is aided by a “smile and wave” Auckland mayor who rolls over every time big business or the government come calling.
That’s why we have a mayor who backs a national convention centre funded off the backs of low-income families via 230 extra pokie machines and extra gaming tables for Sky city casino. It’s a disgrace and the mayor should be ashamed.
That’s why we have a mayor who’s signed up – on 24 July last year – to the destruction of state homes in Glen Innes, Point England and Panmure and the turfing out the families onto the scrapheap – and what for? To make a seaside suburb for the wealthy – so much for a mayor who says he’s concerned about affordable housing.
That’s why we have a mayor who refused to back his own council workers when they were under attack – and are still under attack – from a vicious, thuggish council employer – the Ports of Auckland – more shame behavior from our mayor.
Our city structure was designed by Rodney Hide and the Act Party and it doesn’t fit. It’s unacceptable that corporate appointees on Auckland’s Council Controlled Organisations spend 75% of our rates without being under the democratic control of the council.
In my vision all this changes. My Auckland in 20 years will be run for the 99% and this is how we’ll do it –
1. We will pay everyone employed by the council and council contractors the living wage of $18.40 an hour and we will pay for this by slashing the salaries of senior managers at the council. 123 of these managers and executives are paid more than $200,000 each – more than the combined salary bill for all NZ members of parliament! We will set the maximum salary at five times the living wage so the CEO will be paid $191,000 rather than $768,759 and the mayor’s salary will be slashed to $150,000 or four times the living wage.
2. We will build 20,000 good quality, affordable, council rental homes for Auckland families because this is where the need is greatest.
3. We will end traffic gridlock within 12 months at less than half the cost of the government’s new roads and we’ll give Aucklanders another hour at home with their family every workday. We will do this with fare-free public transport – no cash, no cards – jump on and go as far as you need to. We pay for this from already budgeted funding for roads we won’t need. The 1950s thinking that we can tarseal our way out of gridlock is plain stupid. Other cities around the world are moving to free public transport – we should join them.
4. We will campaign for income related rates and in the meantime will shift the rates burden from families on low and middle incomes.
My vision is a city where the mayor works for all Aucklanders – not just the wealthy few and their hangers on…
Unlike Len Brown, when you vote for me you know which side I’m on…
(John Minto’s address to Auckland Mayoral debate at Auckland University on 4 September 2013)