Bernard Orsman

Bernard Orsman is Super City reporter for the NZ Herald.

Brown's offer: a steady hand

Mayor says no time for deviation as he launches bid for second term.

Mayor Len Brown and Mayoress Shan Inglis. Photo / Norrie Montgomery
Mayor Len Brown and Mayoress Shan Inglis. Photo / Norrie Montgomery

Auckland is a work in progress and now is not the time to deviate from the current path, says Len Brown as he seeks a second term as mayor of the Super City.

With Mayoress Shan Inglis and their three daughters at his side for yesterday's campaign launch, Mr Brown reminded Aucklanders of the city's history of replacing mayors after one term and division over plans and direction.

"We have got the plan, got the direction and central government is behind us. It is time to hold firm and continue to power Auckland up."

Mr Brown said much had been done in his first three years and the city now had a genuine partnership with Wellington. This was a reference to the announcement by Prime Minister John Key two weeks ago that the Government would fund half of the $2.86 billion city rail loop.

"It is going to be delivered," he said to loud applause from about 150 supporters at the campaign launch in Cornwall Park.

Mr Brown said his second big challenge would be building more affordable housing. He also promised to keep average rates increases around the rate of inflation.

His other main priority was getting the Auckland economy growing and creating jobs.

Mr Brown - a member of the Labour Party - made no mention in his speech of his support for the SkyCity convention-centre-for-pokies deal, for which he has been criticised.

He has also upset traditional supporters by refusing to back port workers in the long-running dispute on the wharves and not doing enough to resolve the issue.

Following his campaign speech, Mr Brown said he had always supported both the economic benefits the convention centre would bring to the city, and harm minimisation measures to identify problem gamblers. The ports strike, he said, was an issue between the ports company and the Maritime Union, not the council, which owns 100 per cent of the company.

Mr Brown's position on social justice issues has prompted the head of the Auckland Council's Pacific Peoples Advisory Panel, the Rev Uesifili UNasa, to stand against the mayor.

He also faces challenges from left-wing activists John Minto - a Mana Party member - and Penny Bright.

The only centre-right challenger at this stage is businessman John Palino.

Nominations for October's local body elections open on Friday and close on August 16.

- NZ Herald

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