Last chance to decide Auckland's future

By Bernard Orsman, Wayne Thompson

Tomorrow is the deadline for votes in the local body elections. The Herald's Auckland team sums up the key battles and issues of the campaign

Auckland City

MAYORAL CANDIDATES

John Banks - former mayor
Felicity Coggan - Communist League
Steve Crow - 1Auckland.com
John Hinchcliff - Independent
Dick Hubbard - sitting mayor
Phil O'Connor - Christians Against Abortion
Lisa Prager - Independent
Raymond Presland - Independent
Scruff Ralph - Independent
Susan Roberts - Independent
Glen Snelgar - Truewater
Alex Swney - Independent
Steve Taylor - Direct Democracy Party of New Zealand
Coralie van Camp - Independent
Elaine West - Independent

HERALD-DIGIPOLL TOP THREE
Results from 25 September
John Banks: 43.7 per cent
Dick Hubbard: 35.2 per cent
Alex Swney: 7.2 per cent

THE PARTIES

Right-leaning Citizens & Ratepayers
Left-leaning City Vision-Labour
Action Hobson (alternative right-leaning standing in Hobson ward only)

THE ISSUES

Property and water rates, transport, council spending, environmental sustainability, leadership, urban design.

THE CAMPAIGN

The procession of one-term mayors at Auckland City looks set to continue with Dick Hubbard being tossed out for John Banks, who claims to have undergone a "transmogrification".

The polls points to Mr Banks becoming the first mayor to make a comeback since Sir Dove-Myer Robinson in 1968. Mr Hubbard would join Mr Banks and his predecessor, Christine Fletcher, to depart after three years.

The 2007 campaign has been more niggle than the big rumble of 2004 when Mr Hubbard, the cereal maker, rode the wave of public opposition to the eastern highway, V8 car race and Mr Banks' aggressive leadership style. This time, there have been no defining policy issues - just three years of political infighting, soaring property and water rates, THAT $85,000 overseas junket, and a mayor who has never looked confidently in control.

Signs point to a swing to the right for control of the council, but the final make-up hinges on results in the Hobson and Eden-Albert wards.

Waitakere City

MAYORAL CANDIDATES

Bob Harvey, sitting mayor
John Tamihere, chief executive Waipareira Trust and former MP
Linda Cooper, councillor
Peter Chan, councillor
Steve McDonald, Henderson Community Board member
Rebecca Broad, Workers Party.

HERALD-DIGIPOLL
Results from 25 September
Bob Harvey 48.9 per cent
John Tamihere 32.2 per cent
Linda Cooper 8.7 per cent

ISSUES

Property rates, council spending,coping with growth.

THE CAMPAIGN

John Tamihere, enjoying his hometown campaign, said it was time for a change after 15 years of Harvey leadership. He offered his skills as a former Cabinet minister and head of a large urban Maori authority.

He highlighted the cost of household rubbish disposal and how little ratepayers understood the impact on rates of the city's borrowing. Rates had risen by 21.42 per cent in the past three years.

Mr Tamihere also said he would boost small business employment and mount a "safer streets" campaign and a "Proud Westie" campaign.

Mr Harvey's campaign slogan was "integrity and trust".

He said he would continue to strive for improved public transport, an airport at Whenuapai and more jobs in film making, boat building and tourism.

North Shore City

MAYORAL CANDIDATES

George Wood, sitting mayor
Andrew Williams, Takapuna Community Board deputy chairman
Aileen Austin, conservation tutor
Major Bob Pope, former Army Association president

HERALD DIGIPOLL SURVEY
Results from 25 September
George Wood 63.4 per cent
Andrew Williams 15 per cent
Callum Blair 13 per cent ( withdrawn).

ISSUES

Proposed Whenuapai Airport, council spending, 8.1 per cent annual rate rises.

THE CAMPAIGN

Controversy struck over the awkward timing of a withdrawal by former candidate Callum Blair - after a third of voting slips were returned.

Campaigning on a No Commercial Airport plank, Mr Blair retired after Andrew Williams got the official blessing of the Whenuapai Airbase Action Group (Waag). Mr Williams' critics pointed out the former councillor's past support for an airport.

Mr Williams also hammered a "Don't Waste the Rates" message based on this year's 6.9 per cent rates rises and further increases predicted in the 10-year works plan.

As the campaign rolled on, the mayor of nine years countered Mr Williams' attack by calling for a referendum on Whenuapai and saying the new council might extend planned works progress out to 15 years. Wayne Thompson

Manukau City

MAYORAL CANDIDATES

Craig Little, Independent
Arthur Anae, Independent
Paul Pavletich, Independent
Kelvyn Alp, Direct Democracy Party
David Collings Independent
Annie King Independent
Baskaran Appu, Communist League
John Harvey, Independent

HERALD-DIGIPOLL
Results from 25 September
Len Brown: 29.1 per cent
Dick Quax: 21.6 per cent
Willie Jackson 16.2 per cent

ISSUES

Rates, water and wastewater, transport, community safety, council spending

THE CAMPAIGN

Sir Barry Curtis' 24-year reign as mayor of Manukau City ends this Saturday when his successor is named.

But whether the people actually care is another thing, with less than 40 per cent of all eligible voters likely to exercise their right.

The three leading candidates are lawyer Len Brown, former Olympian Dick Quax and broadcaster Willie Jackson.

The trio share common ground on rates, wastewater and community safety but have differing views on transport, council expenditure and advocacy for the country's third largest city.

Mr Brown holds a slight lead over Mr Quax according to a recent Herald-Digipoll.

His long-term campaigning and broad-range appeal to the distinct communities of Manukau possibly gives him an advantage over Mr Quax, who with his People's Choice party should fare well in Manukau's eastern areas.

Trailing is Mr Jackson, who polled 16.2 per cent after little more than a month in the race and could have left his run a bit late.

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