Former Air New Zealand bosses could be installed in Auckland Council to rebuild public confidence in the failed institution, says new Auckland mayor Phil Goff.
Goff has revealed he has been in talks with former hot shots of the national airline, Rob Fyfe and Norm Thompson, to work with council chief executive Stephen Town on improving the council's image.
"They have expressed some interest, in the first instance, of giving some advice and looking at the organisation on a reasonably informal basis and sharing their knowledge, their expertise and their skills with the chief executive and executive leadership team," Goff told the Herald on Sunday.
Last night, Fyfe confirmed he and Thompson had talked with Goff about how they had repositioned Air New Zealand and developed a strong customer focus.
Fyfe said he would be more than happy to work with Goff to create a culture change at council and improve customer experiences.
Goff put the top bureaucrats on notice soon after sweeping to power as the new Mayor of Auckland with 179,206 votes, or 47.6 per cent of votes counted to date. His nearest rival Vic Crone received 105,413 votes.
Chloe Swarbrick won 26,474 votes, overtaking John Palino who was tipped in polls to come third.
Before a crowd of elated supporters, including Opposition leader Andrew Little and several Labour colleagues, Goff said his top priority was rebuilding public trust.
"None of us can be satisfied with the level of trust and confidence that the public had in the former council. At 15 per cent and 17 per cent trust and satisfaction, that is a fail mark," said Goff of a council trust survey.
He said he looked forward to a constructive relationship with Town, who he will meet tomorrow.
"I don't know Stephen Town well but reports I get on him is he is a competent chief executive," Goff told the Herald last month.
Goff said he was a Cabinet minister when Air New Zealand was on the verge of bankruptcy and needed a $900 million taxpayer bailout when a team headed by Fyfe and Thompson turned the company around.
Goff believes that experience could be useful at Auckland Council.
"The private sector has to be responsive to their clients otherwise they go out of business. In the public sector you don't have that same discipline, but it should not make us any less responsive to the people who fund us, our ratepayers and residents."
Fyfe said he was not looking for any remuneration for helping out.
"I'm thrilled [Goff] has been successful. He is incredibly hard-working and well respected in Parliament on both sides of the House. He can make a real impact on the city," Fyfe said.
Goff succeeds Len Brown, who announced last November he was standing down.
Goff has listed traffic congestion and housing affordability as the two "overwhelmingly obvious problems" facing Auckland. He has also promised to hold rates to 2.5 per cent, and stop any further reclamation of Waitemata Harbour for port use.
In a rare interview, Goff's wife Mary told the Herald last night he was probably the best person for the job.
The polls were good and he was always going to get there, she said.
"I think it will be very good for him. He is always up for a challenge and I think he is easier to live with when he has got a challenge."
As well as the mayoralty, Auckland voters have delivered Goff a centre-left council. In Rodney, former council finance chairwoman Penny Webster was defeated by Greg Sayers and Manurewa-Papakura councillor Calum Penrose lost his seat to Daniel Newman. Mike Lee held off a challenge from centre-right media personality Bill Ralston for the Waitemata and Gulf ward seat.
The new centre-right Auckland Future ticket bombed badly, no more so north of the Harbour Bridge where it failed to win any of four seats in the North Shore and Albany wards.
Crone conceded she was going through "a real mix of emotions", but hinted at another run. And Swarbrick had no plans to disappear from the public eye. "[My campaign] was to get Aucklanders to really see themselves as stakeholders in their future. I will continue to work for Auckland and the betterment of our society."