Wayne Thompson is a NZ Herald reporter.

Ex-mayor has super city debate on agenda

Andrew Williams. Photo / Steven McNicholl
Andrew Williams. Photo / Steven McNicholl

Former North Shore mayor Andrew Williams says it will be "interesting" to carry on into Parliament the debates he once had with former Auckland mayor John Banks over justification of the Super City.

As mayor in 2007-10, Mr Williams aggressively spoke out against the need for merging the region's eight councils.

Then, just over a year ago, he wanted to be the Super City's first mayor but ran fourth in an election which Mr Banks also lost.

He was dejected and bitter then, unable to get enough votes to take a seat on either the Auckland Council or the Waitemata District Health Board.

However, yesterday, as New Zealand First candidate for North Shore, he was singing a happier song at the prospect of being a party list MP - sitting across the House from his old foe Mr Banks.

"It's somewhat ironic that the two of us will be sparring off from time to time.

"I have a few questions about what he promised for the Super City and I'll be trying to get a bit more democracy back into Auckland."

The men nearly came to blows during a 2010 election meeting, when Mr Banks was taking a question and Mr Williams interjected with "Stop lying" and Mr Banks retorted, "Stop drinking".

Mr Williams said that in Parliament, he would bring his knowledge of what communities wanted and he would speak out for Auckland causes such as speeding up preparations for a new Waitemata Harbour crossing to the North Shore.

He said he had known Winston Peters for many years. "I've always been a good supporter of him."

Mr Williams said he would also bring his 30 years' experience in international trade to working across the House to grow exports and hoped for membership of select committees on the topics of trade and economics.

He said he was enjoying full health.

Prescription pain killers and sleeplessness were excuses given by him for behaviour which earned much criticism.

In 2009, it was over unwelcome late-night text messages sent to politicians. One of them, Prime Minister John Key, complained they were "aggressive" and "obnoxious".

Then in March 2010, after a "business meeting" at a Takapuna bar, Mr Williams allegedly urinated outside the council building.

However, some council colleagues say that as mayor he was innovative, energetic, courageous and far-sighted.

- NZ Herald

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