Super City debate: Candidates square off

By Edward Gay

Mayoral hopefuls for Auckland's new Super City have promised everything from fewer liquor shops to a green waste curbside collection.

About 100 people turned out to see the seven candidates go head-to-head in the first Super City debate at Auckland's Unitec tonight.

Auckland Mayor John Banks said he wanted to see an end to the "proliferation of liquor outlets that are sending our communities to hell".

Manukau Mayor Len Brown spoke of Auckland harnessing the country's green image and introducing a curbside green waste collection, as well as solar panels and more public transport.

"It is New Zealand's point of difference in the marketplace, and we need to be the spearheaded kauri of that in the marketplace," Mr Brown said.

Candidates also spoke of the need to include the diverse communities across Auckland in decision-making.

Mr Brown said he would turn up to local board meetings and ensure the unelected heads of the Council Controlled Organisations did the same.

North Shore Mayor Andrew Williams spoke of a "dynamic connected city"
with strong local boards.

"I want to turn Auckland into a city where people say all over
Auckland: 'Hey, Auckland is a great place,'" Mr Williams said.

Comedian and Waitakere councillor Ewen Gilmour said referenda were needed to keep the people in touch with their council.

He said referenda could be sent out with the rates bill twice a year saying: "Here you go, you owe us a s*** load of money but how do you feel about Maori seats?"

Another candidate, water campaigner Penny Bright, said the Super City had been set up "by big business, for big business".

She said the Council Controlled Organisations would be led by people who were not democratically elected and would treat the ratepayers of Auckland as cash cows.

Ms Bright said people should vote for her to send a clear protest message to the Government that the Super City and the privatisation of water are not wanted.

Mr Banks said everyone has the right to water at a "very fair and reasonable price".

"Under my leadership, water will stay in the ownership of the people of Auckland," Mr Banks said.

He said the council needed to build on its asset base, not sell its assets off.

Anti-smacking campaigner Colin Craig said there are some great ideas being put forward by candidates, but people needed to keep in mind how things will be paid for.

Actor Simon Prast said his vision was of a city of "colour, culture, commerce and content".

He said the people of Auckland needed to vote for a new generation of leadership which was "inspirational, decisive and articulate".

- NZ Herald

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