Bernard Orsman is Super City reporter for the NZ Herald.

Auckland - a tale of two cities

Desley Simpson (left) and Efeso Collins come from different backgrounds, but they told the same story about the importance of family on the journey to the council table. Photo / Supplied
Desley Simpson (left) and Efeso Collins come from different backgrounds, but they told the same story about the importance of family on the journey to the council table. Photo / Supplied

They come from different backgrounds, but they told the same story about the importance of family on the journey to the council table.

Desley Simpson, the new councillor for Orakei and wife of National Party president and rich-lister Peter Goodfellow.

Efeso Collins, the son of Samoan immigrants working on factory floors at New Zealand Products in Penrose, cleaning the operating theatres at Middlemore Hospital and driving cab 059 for South Auckland Taxis to build a better life for their six children in a state house on Preston Rd in Otara.

Collins and Simpson were among five new Auckland councillors to deliver their maiden speeches at the Auckland Town Hall yesterday, less than 12 hours after Mayor Phil Goff and councillors were sworn in in the historic building's famed Great Hall.

Rodney councillor Greg Sayers, North Shore councillor Richard Hills and Manurewa-Papakura councillor Daniel Newman also gave maiden speeches.

It was family reasons that moved Simpson and Collins to the point of tears. Simpson's connections to the city going back to her great-great-uncle Sir Henry Brett becoming the sixth Mayor of Auckland in 1878, and donating the first pipe organ in the town hall.

She choked when remembering her grandfather, Sir James Donald, a member of the Auckland Harbour Board, whose fob chain presented to him she was wearing.

"Four generations later, like my forefathers, I have a love for this city and a desire to serve its people embedded in my DNA," said an emotional Simpson.

At the point of reaching out to his parents, Collins shed a tear for his father who died eight years ago - "I'm sure my dad is watching happily from heaven" - before finishing his speech and picking up his 4-year-old daughter, having spoken of the hundreds of kids in his Manukau ward who go to school hungry and families forced to decide to pay for food, power or rent.

"It is for these constituents, the people I sit beside in church every Sunday, shop with at Hunters Corner, barter with at the Mangere markets . . . it is for them that I stand for today."


Young people were a theme for Hills and Newman, both young councillors by local government standards.

"Young people are just people that happen to be younger than us," Hills said, "so let's respect their ideas and thoughts and plan a city for them".

Said Newman: "One of the greatest challenges facing my community is the plight of so many of our Year 9 cohort who are unable to cope with secondary curriculum because of insufficient standards of literacy and numeracy."

Sayers echoed the message heard time and again on the hustings - the need for council to do more with less.

"Council must live within its financial means. This means we must stop the wastage and overspending," said Sayers, who wants more money to go into sealing dirt roads.

- NZ Herald

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