Why I can’t vote Len Brown and why the City Rail Link is a false promise


Unions-Auckland-Poster-2The Auckland Union’s couldn’t back Len for Mayor, and neither can I.

The manner in which Len has betrayed working people by his hands off approach to the Ports of Auckland despute was a total failure of leadership by Len and the fact that there is still no clear cost of how much that flawed industrial action has caused is just insult to injury.

I have always been suspicious of Len’s close relationship with the Committee For Auckland. Membership to the CFA is by invitation only and costs $10 000 a year in annual fees. Many of the same people who are members of this private lobby group also happen to be appointed to the ultra secretive Council Controlled Organisations. Brett O’Riley (Chief Executive Officer ATEED), Robert Domm (Chief Executive Officer Regional Facilities Auckland), Mark Ford (Chief Executive Officer Watercare), John Dalzell (Chief Executive Officer Waterfront Auckland) join Connal Townsend (National Director Property Council of NZ) and Evan Davies (Chief Executive Officer Todd Property Ltd) to give Len a vast property and asset infrastructural influence whose interests are corporate, not civic.

The plank that Len will hold up as his major win is the City Rail Link. With all due respect to its many proponents, it’s a false hope. Len’s “Consensus Building Group” that cost $1m was an attempt to find a way to convince Aucklander’s to stump up for the cash, but what the CBG revealed was that “even with a significant increase in investment, the forecast performance of key parts of the transport system will be worse from 2031 than it is today”.

Say what?

After the billions and billions and billions spent on this, by 2031 traffic gridlock WILL BE WORSE????

Now Generation Zero may want to give Len Brown an A+ via a slanted process that removes any of Len’s motorway negatives, but that seems more aimed at supporting Generation Zero’s aims than Auckland’s. Yes their congestion free plans are part of the solution, but if the end product is to have clear roads so the middle classes can race their hybrid-Lexus to Shadow Puppet Theatre and back again without missing a show on the Arts Channel, then it does not do a damn thing to confront the reality of climate change.

Auckland is a SuperCity of poverty.

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– 18% of Aucklanders claim they don’t have enough money. The national average is 14%.
– For the period 2008-10, Auckland region individual income inequality increased from 100% to 109%
– In the year 2011-12, 20% of Aucklanders didn’t visit the GP when they wanted to.
– In 2010 9% of Aucklanders lived in overcrowded housing
– In 2010 17% of Auckland’s children live in overcrowded housing.
– The unemployment rate for Auckland is 7.3%, double what it was five years ago.
– The unemployment rate for Auckland youth (15-24 year olds) is 19.8%,
– The unemployment rate for Maori youth is 26%
– The unemployment rate for Pacific youth is 31%
– 28,700 Auckland youth are not in employment, education, or training

Patronage on Public transport declines as poverty increases, and working people and students can not afford public transport.

These challenges require far more than the beige response to date by Len. The problems Auckland faces are beyond his cautious approach and require real leadership, not just management.

On those grounds, I can’t tick Len’s box to lead my city.


  1. Hi Martyn,

    You wrote “now Generation Zero may want to give Len Brown an A+”. This is completely untrue.

    If you went to the relevant part of the Generation Zero website here: http://localelections.generationzero.org.nz/auckland/mayor/len-brown, you would see that the scores given to Len were:
    – an A- for Congestion Free Network
    – an A for density done well
    – a B for a better cycling network
    – an A- for climate change ideas.

    No A+ to be found.

    I appreciate constructive criticism and debate around the Local Elections and the different rating systems, but I think it’s unfair when you misrepresent the people you are critiquing in order to bolster your arguments.

    Could you please amend your article to reflect the true scores that Generation Zero gave Len?

    • Hang on what in the Unitary plan is Carbon Free what is the point of an organisation called generation zero when it doesn’t support free public transport over the unitary plan that constructs vast motorways . Whatever credibility you had with the public was lost in that score because you don’t adhere to your own Kaupapa.

        • Quote from the Unitary Plan “Land identified for railway and state highway corridors can be developed”
          Generation Zero is a waste of space and is ignorant of the AMETI options 1-4 building vast motorways across Auckland. By design its a biased political machine that cares very little about a Carbon free environment.

  2. What does this mean?
    “18% of Aucklanders claim they don’t have enough money. The national average is 14%.”
    I have met very, very few Aucklanders who accept they have enough money. The most strident claims of not having enough come from Herne Bay and Parnell. These are people who always want more, but will settle for the poor having less. They are a miserable people, and the backbone of Key’s and Banks’s electoral successes. I assume you don’t mean them?

  3. Kia ora Martyn

    This analysis (such as it is) stands in sharp contrast to your previous pragmatic analysis about the Left’s general ability

  4. No matter who may present the best plans for Auckland’s future, it would have to include a massive infrastructure development in public transport, which I fear the Aucklander’s themselves will not be prepared to pay for.

    This is one of the greatest dilemmas we face, putting politics aside. I am inclined to give Minto my vote, as he does present some ideas and plans that make a lot of sense.

    But to be totally honest, he will not become mayor, as too few are informed about his policies, this is partly due to financial limits he, MANA and his supporters have, it is also due to Minto just not going to appeal to too many, and many who will bother voting, will most certainly be the more conservative voters, who want to protect their homes, their streets and motorways, their suburban environments, public amenities, low density and “green” suburban sprawl areas.

    The most would not want to pay more for public transport. Indeed the only way to pay for it in the long run is by discourage private motorcar traffic, and to get motorists discouraged from driving by paying more for petrol, road use or whatever. Who as an “average” motor vehicle mad Kiwi will volunteer to do this?

    Ratepayers will not trust Len and certainly not Minto, and too many will think of their personal circumstances and agendas before even daring to consider the future of ALL Aucklanders. Why do certain people live in Parnell, Remuera, Kohimarama, St Heliers, or also Mt Eden, Mt Albert, the North Shore and so on? Would they want to share with the residents in Manurewa, Otara, Avondale and other less “wealthy” parts of the $upercity?

    No, there are too many only worried about themselves, their social class and circles, and they will ensure that nothing more “risky” than Len will get the vote.

    So prepare for big projects, financed by big loans from perhaps major Mainland Chinese banks, or other banks, for rate hikes, higher fees for services, restrictions all over the place, and also on the other hand deals with the National led government, to open up green-fields for large housing development.

    There will be more like the housing projects in cooperation with private developers in East Tamaki and GI, there will be more PPPs and whatever, as that is where Len is placed, and that is where he will keep – and further lead – future Aucklanders to. It will be debt that ALL will eventually have to pay for, but not be told beforehand, as they will be allowed to continue their illusionary belief, that life can still go on as it has for the last few decades. Drive your cars, but let the council go into debt, to build what it sees fit, so it will hit you all a bit later.

    I would not even rule out a part privatisation or sale of the Ports of Auckland at one stage. Len is a turncoat and opportunist who changes colours all the times, and the voters in South Auckland a few other places, better do some hard thinking, whether he may not deserve a strong challenge.

    That is if people would bother, as most are brainwashed to death by crap commercialised media, by advertising, by cheap nonsense shows, and get little information about what really goes on in their own city. Most live day to day and week to week to survive and make ends meet, many would not even know what candidate stands for what.

    Despite of all this resignation, good on for John Minto to give it a go, he will get my vote, no matter what, at least a signal will be sent.

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