Se­niors ad­vi­sory panel agreed

The may­oral cam­paign brought can­di­dates – well, three of them – to a Grey Power meet­ing in Three Kings this week. Re­porter Joe Daw­son went along to lis­ten in.

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Older Auck­lan­ders say they are not be­ing lis­tened to.

As plans for the fu­ture of the city have been drawn up and fu­ri­ously de­bated this year some older res­i­dents feel they have been left out of the loop and not prop­erly con­sulted.

But they have been given the op­por­tu­nity to have their say at Grey Power-run ‘meet the can­di­dates’ events over the last two weeks, in­clud­ing in Three Kings on Tues­day.

A Paku­ranga meet­ing last week drew 100 Grey Power mem­bers to lis­ten to the five can­di­dates who had been nom­i­nated at the time the meet­ing was or­gan­ised – in­cum­bent Len Brown and chal­lengers John Palino, Penny Bright, John Minto and Ue­si­fili Unasa.

The Fickling Cen­tre ver­sion is a qui­eter af­fair.

Mr Brown is a no show and Mr Unasa had made his apolo­gies, and only 30 se­niors were in the au­di­ence.

The meet­ing is chaired by Auck­land Grey Power pres­i­dent Anne-Marie Coury, who says a de­lay in get­ting the monthly news­let­ter out may be the rea­son for the low turnout.

When the meet­ing gets un­der way Ms Coury pep­pers the can­di­dates with a se­ries of pre-de­ter­mined ques­tions which cut to the heart of what older Auck­lan­ders are wor­ried about.

Can­di­dates were grilled on rates and re­bates, the es­tab­lish­ment of a se­niors ad­vi­sory panel, road con­ges­tion, open space and the vexed Uni­tary Plan.

De­spite hail­ing from op­po­site ends of the po­lit­i­cal spec­trum – John Minto and Penny Bright on the left, John Palino to the right – the can­di­dates were able to agree on sev­eral points.

The one mil­lion ex­tra peo­ple com­ing to Auck­land in the next 30 years was a fig­ure ‘‘plucked from the air’’; an ad­vi­sory panel was a good idea. On the other mat­ters the can­di­dates were able to re­turn to the main planks of their cam­paigns to solve most prob­lems.

For Mr Palino that means build­ing a sec­ond CBD in Manukau. Prob­lems around road con­ges­tion, hous­ing af­ford­abil­ity and open space could be eased by ‘‘build­ing a new city’’.

‘‘If we build an­other CBD in Manukau it would pull con­ges­tion away from the isth­mus,’’ he says.

Once that is com­plete, a third CBD be­tween Hamil­ton and Auck­land would com­plete his vi­sion.

The self-de­scribed ‘‘in­ves­tiga­tive ac­tivist’’ and for­mer welder Penny Bright says she will be ‘‘mer­ci­less’’ on what she calls Auck­land’s Cash Cow Or­gan­i­sa­tions – the CCOs re­spon­si­ble for things like wa­ter and waste.

‘‘We have now got thou­sands of pri­vate con­trac­tors play­ing piggy in the mid­dle,’’ she says. ‘‘ The root cause of cor­rup­tion is pri­vati­sa­tion.’’

She is also call­ing for a national pop­u­la­tion and mi­gra­tion strat­egy to ease pres­sure on in­fra­struc­ture and hous­ing in Auck­land.

John Minto is ad­vo­cat­ing for a re­turn to the gen­tler 1950s and ’ 60s with a cam­paign based on the val­ues of com­pas­sion and giv­ing ev­ery­one a fair go.

He plans to cut the wages of coun­cil man­age­ment staff and raise the wages of coun­cil work­ers and in­tro­duce in­come-re­lated rates.

He be­lieves the Uni­tary Plan is ‘‘a blue­print for de­vel­op­ers and big busi­ness, not a blue­print for com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ment’’.

Photo: JOE DAW­SON

Ques­tion time: Grey Power Auck­land pres­i­dent Anne-Marie Coury grills can­di­dates John Minto, John Palino and Penny Bright.

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