Some of Auckland's problems have been caused by supervening events like Covid, but a competent and effective council lead by a strong and wise leader would not have worsened them.
The deteriorating state of the council's books are because of its mismanagement.
In hard times like now, Auckland needs Ted Johnston, BSc BA LLB.
I won't make backroom deals with the Government. My yes will be yes, and my no will be no.
But it is not enough to see issues and want to fix Auckland. You have to know where to target.
As a lawyer, I am a problem solver, and no-one can pull the wool over my eyes. Rules, statutes and regulations are my domain, and I will use them to get Auckland moving again. The others will be taken on wild goose chases by the senior management, like episodes of "Yes Minister".
You need to see the bigger picture and how Auckland fits in, but as co-leader of the New Conservative party, I have a large part in making policies. I am a leader not a puppet.
Simon Wilson recently blamed Queen St landlords for empty shops. Landlords don't want that, but if there is no foot traffic and no customers, businesses will not want to rent. And filling them up with fleamarket stalls will depress the city even more setting the tone for a skid row. No sensible businessman will pour their finances into a money pit.
AT, with its lunatic disruption of traffic and making it nearly impossible to navigate the city, and the inconvenience of a low-quality public rail system have crippled the CBD. No one wants to add an extra two or three hours solely to shop there.
Wilson is correct, however, in that, unless the city centre attracts people back, nothing can be done. You cannot get people into the CBD until you make it easier to get into the city. You upgrade the rail transport network to the city, unblock the roads, and make parking free.
The CBD is the epitome of Auckland council's incompetence.
Chlöe Swarbrick is wrong. You don't get rid of traffic jams by getting rid of traffic. The council tried that and is failing terribly. You don't force people out of cars, you make people want to leave their cars behind. But that will only occur if you provide a convenient efficient option.
Her idea to copy George St in Sydney won't work here, as so much of the foot-traffic is gone. Instead we will more likely follow LA, building better seats for more homeless to sleep on. She is talking of a future, but you can't jump straight to it without the infrastructure of an efficient convenient public rail system. Her dream will just remain a continuing nightmare for us citizens of Auckland.
So how to fix Auckland?
A strong, qualified, wise and skilled mayor, Ted Johnston BSc BA LLB, lawyer.
Focus on core services, not wish lists; council to live within its means, all councillors attend budgeting classes.
Stop regional taxes on petrol; refuse congestion tax; aim for no increase in rates; and immediately stop global warming levies and expenditure, until we are on our feet.
Cut the $2 billion spending on cycling.
Oppose Three waters confiscation of Auckland assets, with passive resistance, non-co-operation, and go-slow to bad Government policies.
I will restructure the governance and committee structure to make it more accountable, and transparent under S9(3)(c) of the Local Govt ( Auckland Council) Act 2009.
Clean out AT and the other CCO boards. Remove their cultures of incompetence. No more wasted $67 million such as at Ports of Auckland.
Work with the Government to demand treatment of gun-wielding gangs as terrorist groups.
Join the Puhinui station to the airport by train, and save $14 billion, to complete a proper rail network. Connect the North Shore via a tunnel or rail bridge attached to the Harbour Bridge. And join North Shore to west Auckland. Join Manukau to Botany, then Glen Innes and city.
Read the other candidates' views:
• Craig Lord: We have changed and Auckland needs to change as well
• Michael Morris: A revitalised Auckland for all inhabitants, great and small
• Leo Molloy: Auckland got lost because it didn't know where it was going
• Wayne Brown: Fixing up downtown means finishing what we've started
• Viv Beck: Let's back ourselves to make things happen
• Efeso Collins: Bringing hope back will revitalise Auckland
• John Lehmann: Let's reconnect Auckland Council, the ratepayers, and the public
• Gary Brown: Ideas aplenty to kickstart the city
Move the port to Manukau Harbour and free up some of the best land currently wasted.
The council opposes developments in Drury about the size of Napier. That's possibly 25,000 homes, and opposes it as it will cost $1 billion in infrastructure but it wants to waste $2 billion on cycling. We will approve Drury. It is desperately needed.
Paint the Harbour Bridge blue and rename as the "Azure arch" for negligible cost to create a tourist icon.
Start an Auckland lottery to fund Auckland's social spending.
Have a "meet the Mayor and solve your problem", monthly day to bring back confidence and transparency.
"Trust Ted." He will do the job.
• Ted Johnston is co-leader of the New Conservative party and is an Auckland mayoralty candidate.