Bernard Orsman

Bernard Orsman is Super City reporter for the NZ Herald.

Super City elections 2013: Heated battle for Waitemata and Gulf ward

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

The Waitemata and Gulf ward encompasses a large area, including the Auckland CBD. Photo / Greg Bowker
The Waitemata and Gulf ward encompasses a large area, including the Auckland CBD. Photo / Greg Bowker

The gloves are off in the Waitemata and Gulf ward to claim the prize of what the incumbent Mike Lee calls the capital of Auckland.

His main opponent, Greg Moyle, says it is crucial to defeat the left-wing Mr Lee to change the balance of power on the council. Mr Lee calls Mr Moyle an "unreconstructed conservative" who represents the old days of Citizens & Ratepayers' domination of Auckland City politics.

There is little love between the two men, who want to represent a ward stretching from the liberal, but fast gentrifying, western suburbs of Westmere, Ponsonby, Grey Lynn and Arch Hill to the conservative eastern reaches of Parnell and Newmarket.

In the middle is the CBD - the city's economic, educational and cultural centre, while out in the Hauraki Gulf lie Great Barrier Island and Waiheke Island, where Mr Lee has a big head start, having lived there on and off since 1972.

Add the prospect of the America's Cup being hosted on the waterfront and there is enormous kudos to be gained from winning the seat.

Three years ago, Mr Lee was like Team New Zealand up-wind - he smoked his conservative opponents Alex Swney and Tenby Powell, out-polling their combined total of 8761 votes with 11,436 votes.

This time around, the former Auckland Regional Council chairman and unashamedly left-winger is taking no prisoners, responding in kind to a "begging letter" Mr Moyle has sent to potential supporters asking for help to fund a $45,000 campaign plan to beat Mr Lee and a council that continues with erratic and bad decisions.

"Greg is very much Auckland City politics as usual," says Mr Lee.

Shale Chambers, who chairs the pro-Mike Lee, City Vision-controlled Waitemata Local Board, has weighed in by accusing Mr Moyle - one of two independents on the board - of being "AWOL for three years, living on a three-year knowledge of the old Auckland City Council, collecting his pay". Ouch.

Mr Moyle's line is he is the only business-friendly candidate for Waitemata - an area which came out of its liberal left shadow when National's Nikki Kaye beat long-standing Labour MP Judith Tizard in Auckland Central in 2008 and held the seat in 2011.

The businessman, who calls himself a "pragmatic environmentalist or a boring centralist", is projecting himself as a doer in the ward, giving a long list of achievements from his days as an Auckland City councillor. They include re-sanding Judges Bay, a new skate park at Victoria Park, the St Patrick's Square upgrade and a 40km/h speed limit on Ponsonby Rd.

He also wants to rein in the erratic and bad decisions of the first Auckland Council term to focus on core council activity, respecting private property rights (balanced with heritage) and promote public private partnerships.

One project Mr Moyle opposes is the "tram to nowhere" - an $8 million, 1.5km tram circuit of Wynyard Quarter that has been a pet project of Mr Lee, who wants to extend it to Britomart to create light rail for the city. The America's Cup could be the catalyst for extending the tram service.

Mr Lee rejects the suggestion he is a spendthrift, saying he has spoken out against spending hundreds of millions of dollars on new IT systems for the Super City and opposed the $104 million purchase of the ASB Bank Centre for the new council headquarters.

The transport committee chairman wants to redouble efforts on public transport, including the Parnell heritage station, and protect the city's heritage and historic townscapes.

Another candidate wanting to step up to the council from the Waitemata board is the independent Rob Thomas, who stood for the ward in 2010 and came fourth with 2905 votes.

The 32-year-old, whose long-term goal is to be Mayor of Auckland, has been door-knocking for four months promising to introduce resident-only parking in the inner suburbs, support for the inner city rail link, better cycling routes and preventing stormwater discharges into waterways.

Other candidates are Stephen Berry, of the right-wing Affordable Auckland ticket; sculptor Charlotte Fisher and Aleksandar Zivaljevic.

As well as standing for the ward, Mr Moyle and Mr Thomas are also standing for the Waitemata Local Board, as are Mr Berry and Ms Fisher. Mr Moyle has set up a new Team Waitemata ticket with five candidates. City Vision has a full ticket of seven candidates.

Local body basics

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

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

This week
Yesterday: Rodney
Today: Waitemata
Tomorrow: Maungakiekie-Tamaki

Waitemata and Gulf

Population: 79,240
Auckland councillors:1
Local Boards: 3
Ethnicity: European 65 per cent, Asian 21 per cent, Pacific 7 per cent, Maori 6 per cent
Median Age: 30.5 years
Median household income: $73,691
Current councillor: Mike Lee

Ward candidates (1 seat)
Stephen Berry (Affordable Auckland)
Charlotte Fisher
Mike Lee
Greg Moyle (Independent)
Rob Thomas (Independent)
Aleksandar Zivaljevic

Local boards
Great Barrier (5 seats)
Jeff Cleave (Independent)
Margaret Daly
Susan Daly (Independent)
Izzy Fordham (Independent)
Judy Gilbert
Anne Kernohan
Nathan Laven (Independent)
Ted Scott
Christina Spence
Nikki Watts (Independent)

Waiheke (5 seats)
Becs Ballard
Shirin Brown (Independent)
Ross Gillespie
Jo Holmes (Waiheke 'A' Team)
Graham Hooper (Independent)
Sue McCann (Independent)
Don McKenzie (Waiheke 'A' Team)
John Meeuwsen
Richard Melville (Independent)
Faye Storer (Waiheke 'A' Team)
Beatle Treadwell
Paul Walden

Waitemata (7 seats)
Amos Adam
Mark Beckett (Team Waitemata)
Stephen Berry (Affordable Auckland)
Shale Chambers (City Vision)
Pippa Coom (City Vision)
Mark Davey (Team Waitemata)
Christopher Dempsey (City Vision)
Charlotte Fisher
Stephen Greenfield (Conservative)
Gerry Hill (Independent)
Russell Hoban (City Vision)
Kris MacPherson (Independent)
Allan Matson (Independent)
Peter Meads (Team Waitemata)
Greg Moyle (Team Waitemata)
Beth O'Loughlin (Team Waitemata)
Tricia Reade (City Vision)
Vernon Tava (City Vision)
Rob Thomas (Independent)
Deborah Yates (Independent)

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