Bernard Orsman is Super City reporter for the NZ Herald.

John Palino's strategy to make Auckland the best city in the world

John Palino has written a book, A Vision for Auckland, in the lead-up to a second tilt at the Super City mayoralty. Photo / Hagen Hopkins
John Palino has written a book, A Vision for Auckland, in the lead-up to a second tilt at the Super City mayoralty. Photo / Hagen Hopkins

Cutting rates by 10 per cent and an attack on the ideologically driven compact city model are part of John Palino's manifesto for the Auckland mayoralty.

The New Jersey-born, New York-trained hospitality businessman has written a book, A Vision for Auckland, in the lead-up to a second tilt at the Super City mayoralty.

The 93-page book, which reads as a manifesto, outlines an alternative strategy to make Auckland the best city in the world.

"Aucklanders have not received the 'Super City dividend'," said Mr Palino who polled 108,928 votes to Len Brown's 164,338 in 2013.

"Over the last six years we have had a dysfunctional mayor and council, who have drastically increased rates, massively increased debt and imposed restrictive and expensive regulations and processes on all Aucklanders," he said.

His policies to solve the problems Auckland and Aucklanders have includes cutting rates by 10 per cent over three years, introducing an Auckland Ratepayers Bill of Rights and a Citizens Decision Review Panel to allow Aucklanders to appeal against stupid decisions made by council staff.

Mr Palino has promised to make council spending transparent and to focus on core services, promote economic growth with business friendly processes and limit iwi consultation to genuine cultural issues.

GROWTH & HOUSING

The proposed Unitary Plan has been an abject failure, said Mr Palino, who wants to remove the metropolitan urban limit, quickly free up more land and plan satellite CBDs in places close to transport routes.

Fledging satellite CBDs include Manukau and Henderson, he said, with potential in Albany and yet to be developed areas north and south.

"We cannot expect our current city to simply add 500,000 new people within the current or slightly expanded boundaries as the current Unitary Plan proposes.

"The ideologically driven 'smart growth' policies of the current council have held Auckland back. They have contributed to making Auckland the fourth least affordable city in the world.

"Smart growth ideologues are attempting to impose high density on some of our beautiful, leafy suburbs. This will totally change the character of Auckland.

"Intensification is for city centres and master planned growth areas, not for established suburbs," Mr Palino said.

FINANCES

On the financial front, Mr Palino said he will find savings through efficiencies, better procurement practices, lower staffing costs and reducing non-core and wasteful spending to cut rates by 10 per cent. All council spending will be put online.

"I will be dedicating 25 per cent of the mayor's office budget to seeking costs savings and efficiency gains," he said.

His Auckland Ratepayers Bill of Rights will keep the total rate take to no more than the rate of inflation, require a referendum to raise rates above inflation and return any surplus rates to ratepayers or paying down debt.

The centre-right mayoral candidate is "neither ideologically for nor against asset sales", saying he would not advocate selling Auckland Airport shares, given their rise in value; but can see no reason for not selling the port business but keeping the "prime waterfront land" for the people of Auckland.

TRANSPORT

On transport, Mr Palino does not support congestion charges on existing roads, but toll roads for new roads where there is a sound business case.

"Auckland Council had essentially tied itself in ideological knots over transport," said Mr Palino, pointing to the city rail link as the only major transport project.

The city rail link has a very poor business case and a flawed premise of more and more people travelling to the CBD, he said.

"Actively encouraging and allowing intensification of satellite CBDs close to the existing transport structure is a sensible long term strategy."

Mr Palino would move forward on roading projects, such as the east-west connection between Onehunga and Mt Wellington and a second harbour crossing.

Bucking the current push for more cycleways, Mr Palino said as a small business owner he was aware of how much removing parking for cycleways can cost business and annoy people.

"As mayor I will institute a review of cycleways and have an open mind, rather than an ideological approach," he said.

MAORI

Mr Palino said Maori play an important part in the life and future of Auckland, but the city needs a mayor and council willing to come to some sort of sensible compromise on obligations to Maori rather than imposing expensive and time-consuming iwi consultation requirements.

He has proposed a review of Maori consultation policies and procedures, change the way culturally significant sites are designated and set consultancy rules to provide certainty about costs and processes.

John Palino's manifesto



• Cut rates by 10 per cent over three years
• Open up more land for housing
• Build satellite CBDs in places like Manukau and Henderson
• Limit iwi consultation
• Review spending on cycleways
• Introduce an Auckland Ratepayers Bill of Rights

• For a copy of the book go to: www.palinoformayor.co.nz

- NZ Herald

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