Super City elections 2013: Transport a big issue for Franklin

By Vaimoana Tapaleao

Next month, Aucklanders vote for who represents them - from the mayor to local board members. In the lead-up to the elections, the Herald is examining all 13 Super City wards, and analysing the big issues and contests.

Many Franklin people travel to the city to work every day but candidate Bill Cashmore says train timetables need to be improved. Photo / Richard Robinson
Many Franklin people travel to the city to work every day but candidate Bill Cashmore says train timetables need to be improved. Photo / Richard Robinson

Making sure Franklin is not the forgotten part of town is the big issue for residents there.

Ensuring better public transport to and from downtown Auckland will make sure people are connected, residents say, but they also want fair rates and to maintain their rural character.

The retirement of popular Franklin ward councillor Des Morrison has provided an opportunity for a new person to take up his spot on the council.

One of those to put their hand up for it is Independent candidate Lyn Murphy.

Dr Murphy has been pushing key issues such as creating safer roads for all users, particularly for cyclists.

She also wants to protect the district's green and rural lifestyle and is a big supporter of the "Save Brookby" campaign.

The campaign is backed by a group of locals who are fighting a proposal from two local businesses to expand in the area and could see an average of 160 truck movements a day.

The other ward candidate and an interesting inclusion in the race is Niko Kloeten, a 26-year-old former journalist at the National Business Review.

Mr Kloeten is representing the Affordable Auckland ticket and is targeting young people in his campaign.

At his launch this month, he told the crowd of the worrying debt that young adults would be facing in the next few years.

Unaffordable housing, job shortages and council debt were all hurting Aucklanders and particularly in Franklin, where more and more young people were leaving.

Residents have picked Bill Cashmore, of the Team Franklin ticket, as the man to beat.

Mr Cashmore has deep roots in the area and is a fourth generation sheep and cattle farmer in Orere.

He is the deputy chairman of the Franklin Local Board and a popular man among locals - a population made up of mostly European (76.6 per cent) and Maori (12.5 per cent).

Mr Cashmore said what most people in the ward wanted addressed was better public transport in and out of the city, fair business rates and improved social services.

He said train and bus services needed to improve to help the 50 per cent of Franklin locals who travelled into the city for work every day.

"If you're living in Pukekohe, it's not easy getting to the city via public transport. We need that electrification through to Pukekohe and the train timetables need to be a little bit more suitable for people out here," he said. "It's a work in progress."

Some business owners in the district said although business rates had dropped a little in the past year, they were still too high when compared with the money coming in.

A shop owner in Ramarama, who has lived there for eight years, said his family sometimes struggled to make ends meet because of business rates and other household bills.

Mr Cashmore said coming together as a Super City was always going to bring some struggles, but he acknowledged that things such as rates needed to be divvied out accordingly.

"Auckland is a multi-faceted beast. But rates for a business in Pukekohe shouldn't be the same as the rates in the city. It has been a lot better as the business rates drop, but it could be better."

Many residents felt they were the forgotten cousins on the other side of town.

One man said he would be giving his mayoral vote to John Palino because he felt Len Brown's council had neglected his district.

Mr Cashmore said the local board had worked hard to unify the district and said the hope was that other Aucklanders saw that fighting spirit.

"You're at the end of the rail line - literally. But there is a lot of potential here in Franklin that could really benefit the city."

Ward profile

Ethnicity: European 76.6 per cent, Maori 12. per cent, Asian 5. per cent, Pasifika 3.3 per cent
Median age: 37 years
Median personal income: $29,188
Median household income: $66,391
Current councillor: Des Morrison
Local board: Franklin

Ward candidates
* Bill Cashmore, Team Franklin C&R
* Niko Kloeten, Affordable Auckland
* Lyn Murphy, Independent

Local board candidates

Pukekohe subdivision
* Andy Baker, Team Franklin
* Ian Bell, Independent
* Alan Cole, Team Franklin
* Sarah Higgins, Team Franklin
* Murray Arthur Kay, Team Franklin
* Niko Kloeten, Affordable Auckland
* Paul Muir, Independent
* Magan Ranchhod
Wairoa subdivision
* Malcolm Bell, Team Franklin
* Angela Fulljames, Team Franklin
* Lance Gedge, Independent
* Rowan Muir, Team Franklin
* Lyn Murphy, Independent
Waiuku subdivision
* Brendon Compton, Team Franklin
* Rick Drayson, Conservative Party NZ
* Daniel Lynch, Independent
* Jill Naysmith, Team Franklin

Local body basics

There are three main contests:
1. Mayoral election.
2. 20 councillors in 13 wards.
3. 21 local boards.

Key dates

September 20-25: Postal voting papers delivered.
October 12: Election day.

This week

Monday: Manukau
Yesterday: Manurewa-Papakura
Today: Franklin.

For more on the candidates in your local area see voteauckland.co.nz

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a1 at 01 Oct 2014 09:57:24 Processing Time: 890ms