The Working Group Mayoralty debate, Final Curia Poll + list of journalists Wayne Brown intends to ban


Official Ratepayers’ Mayoral Debate 2022 from Slipstream Media on Vimeo.

The write up of our Mayoral Debate was positive, this is the second Mayoral Debate I’ve hosted, and I think we are now getting a very clear sense of what direction each of the Candidates want to take Auckland.

Craig Lord powerfully represented his blue collar credentials by lambasting the procurement process of Auckland Council and promising smaller players will be able to pitch for local work as opposed to the big commercial interests that dominate contract provision.

The Daily Blog this week highlighted enormous monopolistic problems in the drainage industry of all places. I asked Lord what he would do as Mayor to ensure monopolies like the Drainage Infrastructure is broken up to stop the pricing distortions in the local market that results in Rate payers suffering price gouging.

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He was clear that types of rort would be investigated before he and Damien started tearing strips out of each other.

I challenged Wayne on why he banned Simon Wilson and asked what other Journalists he would ban if he were to become Mayor.

There are plenty of good reasons to dislike Simon, look at his haircut, but you can’t deny that he is one of Auckland’s most passionate voices with a real vision for our city – cancelling him is an alarmingly God Complex move for a bloke who hasn’t even won yet.

Efeso was challenged on the costings of his Free Public Transport policy and to his credit, Efeso could name half a dozen funds he would use to fund the policy.

After Wayne boasted he had a bottle of signed wine from Helen Clark and John Key, the biggest cheer went to Craig Lord after he lifted his phone to the air and said, “I don’t have Helen or John’s number, I just speak to the people”.

Te second biggest cheer went to Leo Molloy who also appeared.

Biggest laugh went to Efeso Collins who took all the grumbles from the crowd as recognition they were agreeing with him.

Best startled reaction was from Wayne Brown when he realised we were actually serious about allowing Simon Wilson to ask his question from the floor.

Everyone agreed Mike Lee should never have been removed by Phil Goff as oversight.

The Curia Polling had Wayne ahead of Efeso by 2 points, but seeing as Leo is out and he’d pledged his support to Brown, Wayne’s team would be pretty disappointed he only leads by such a thin margin.

Say what you like about David Farrar (and I believe I have), but he is a math geek who loves the science of polling. We should not on the Left lull ourselves into any false pretence that because David is right wing that makes his polling a lie.

If Farrar says that’s where the numbers are, there’s a very good chance that’s where the numbers are. He’s a right wing lunatic whom I will always disagree with, but his polling science is very fucking good, we would be stupid to write it off.

I think the ‘winner’s the night  was Efeso. When challenged on his numbers, Wayne didn’t really answer any of the questions that have been legitimately raised on his costing claims and I found that genuinely surprising.

There’s no question that Wayne is a technocratic king, and he is bloody smart and it must drive him nuts having to try and dumb everything down all the time, but he’s legitimately flat footed on his figures and that was concerning.

Mr Fixit can’t fix things if his math don’t add up, and the people questioning his costings aren’t schmucks.

Wayne’s very polished ZB advertising is in stark contrast to his slightly confused Grandad routine you see live and the gap between performance and the brand is like paying for an iPhone 14 and getting a fax machine.

The real challenge is the 40% undecided which is enormous.

What they will be asking is ‘free public transport with Efeso vs ill defined productivity gains with Wayne vs a kick up the bum for Council with Craig’.

This race is simply too close to call.

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  1. Far too many so-called journalists, are nothing but middle class Public relations hacks, who decide not to file stories if they do not receive a bonus in their pay checks…proof? Team of $55 million — still will not ask Jacinda from announcements why she ruled out a Royal Inquiry on the Government actions during Covid -19…

  2. Turnout will be king. Don’t count out pure racism, rather than great regard for “Brownie”, being instrumental in trying to keep the brown guy out.

    If Efeso has managed to encourage his supporters to vote he will be in with a very good chance. The right were obviously bricking themselves with the various candidate withdrawals.

    Hopefully Mr Collins will do it, because there is a desperate need to revise the Auckland Super City and its corporatist model of undemocratic, unaccountable CCOs. Ports of Auckland is a confirmed disaster just as the Unions said. Ditto Auckland Transport and Watercare. Sack the lot of them. Efeso Collins says unequivocally–no more asset sales–if he is Mayor.

    It will be a tragedy in one significant way if Efeso does not make it–we live in the 21st century, and Auckland is a huge Polynesian city that needs its first Polynesian Mayor–unless you are a grumpy old white bastard perhaps.

    • I think it will be very much business as usual if Efeso wins, possibly a few small gains with public transport etc.

      Reforming the CCO’s will need someone prepared to enter a real shit fight which is potentially career ending for a politician. Wayne is probably the best option if we want the likes of AT and Watercare sorted out.

      • Can’t see it. Mr Brown’s track record in local Govt.–FNDC–is that he likes sacking people, & ensuring subservience from those that remain rather than making positive structural change to organisations.

        CCOs need legislative change in Parliament to alter, and some actual interest from Auckland ratepayers. So not expecting any Mayor to do that this term. But, Efeso will at least hold the line.

  3. Out of interest I attended last night’s mayoral debate in Epsom hosted by the Working Group and the Ratepayers Alliance. As someone who has only lived in Auckland as an adult for approximately five years (I was born in Auckland however if that really matters) it was an interesting experience to see local democracy in action in the city I now call my home.

    Looking at the results of the latest Curia poll putting Wayne Brown slightly ahead of Efeso Collins and way out in front unsurprisingly with the older cohort. I fear that as usual voter turnout will be as low as in previous elections and that Auckland will end up with a mayor who predominately represents the viewpoint of affluent homeowners especially those in the blue ribbon suburbs.

    No doubt Brown is a highly competent professional, however one completely devoid of charm, not great at building working relationships with the vast array stakeholders required either and lacking in any form of long term vision for Auckland. The main thrust of his argument is “penny pinching” and keeping rates low, obviously this went down well with the well healed older audience of Epsom where he is no doubt to many their “poster boy”.

    The main problem in my opinion is a lack of vision in Auckland local government and a myopic focus upon keeping rates low because this is the key issue that the electorate really cares about especially those who can be bothered to actually turn out and vote. So in the a nutshell the future of this city is being predominately decided by a bunch of home owning older Aucklanders who have little interest in the future and are mostly focused on their back pockets.

    Is Collins the person to sell a vision of a better fairer more sustainable Auckland to the electorate? Possibly, I thought he performed well in front of what was no doubt a hostile crowd, and put the argument quite well for his free public transport policy. However I personally I still have my doubts on it and I would prefer to see subsidised fares for those who can afford it (but free for those on any form of benefit) and that money being invested into PT infrastructure. My fear is that even if public transport is free but still sub-standard the majority will still not use it especially in a place like Auckland where private car usage is so engrained in the psyche of the population.

    Another problem is, I must add the caveat I am not an engineer, however I did work for a number of years in Australia for a construction information business, which amongst other things collaborated closely with some of the key industry bodies. Is that a lot of the Auckland’s infrastructure has been done “on the cheap” you just have to look at our harbour bridge which was built without rail or pedestrian access and initially with only four traffic lanes just because the National Government of the time went for the austerity version. An additional four lanes had to be added less than ten years later if that is not a lack of vision or foresight I don’t know what is.

    If Auckland is going to be a world class city that will not only attract inward investment, but also be a fairer more sustainable place to live, work and play for all its residents giving them amongst other things affordable, efficient public transport and secure stable affordable housing. Then Auckland needs a mayor who not only has vision but the ability to sell that vision and engage with a sceptical electorate. The alternative being the city will continue to struggle with second rate aging infrastructure and an ever widening gap between rich and poor.

    You just have to look overseas to cities that have made the choice to invest in infrastructure and have reaped the benefit/return on that investment. Cities such as Vienna, Berlin, Sydney or Zurich are excellent examples that Auckland could aspire towards.

    In order to fund development whether that be in transport infrastructure or other services monies need to be raised from multiple sources. Here in lies the problem with Auckland, rates are the main source of income for council hence the focus upon them by the electorate. So to fund development of the city the council in collaboration with central Government needs to examine alternative sources of significant revenue such as stamp (or property transfer) duty for properties over a certain value. This is done successfully by Australian states and the sky has not fallen in so why not here and whilst we are at it a proper capital gains tax with the revenue shared between central and local Government. These may sound like revolutionary dangerous socialist concepts in NZ but in many countries these are the norm and unsurprisingly these are the ones that have successfully invested in their society at both a national and local level.

    Put quite simply if you want good infrastructure and other services you have to pay for them. So it is time to grow up Auckland and build a city that future generations can be justifiably proud of, but we are going to have to pay for it especially those of us who can afford to.

    The big question is whether anyone has the vision, foresight and desire to sell a brighter future for all the residents of Auckland and will a sufficient proportion of the electorate be prepared to vote for real meaningful change. The short answer is I very much doubt it, but hey you never know.

  4. Agreed, too close to call.

    What’s not assisting Collins is he seems to come from the same mold as most of the brains trust in this current government, academia and or then politics, with some bureaucracy employment enroute. And that worries me given the inability and pure impracticality that the decision makers have in Labour have demonstrated explaining why they’ve been so useless in achieving much. Do we really want a mayor like that?

    Secondly Auckland Transport is a major bug bear, will Collins remain the status quo? I suspect so.

    Congestion charges that Labour want are only going to heap more misery on all but largely on those who can’t afford yet another bill. I assume he’ll back that too. And of course the petrol tax controlled by AT had ironically served to make getting around even more difficult than before so those idiots controlling more public money is hugely worrying!

    Simon Wilson is a Collins cheerleader and that’s a big negative as well and you may think his vision for Auckland is fantastic but there are plenty of us who aren’t professionals who don’t live in Grey Lynn or Pt Chev who can’t live Simon’s warped vision nor want to. But it at least tells me this is Collins vision too!

    Brown on the other hand looks like he’ll quickly get offside with anyone who opposes him and quickly become a tyrant. His tenure in Northland doesn’t read well. Meaning even more council dysfunction.

    But he’s anti AT or least wants to look into it and has at least read that room.

    But out of these two, swallowing dead rats no matter what is all I can conclude. The other contenders are a waste of time.

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