Mixed responses to Goff’s first 100 days
In October political veteran Phil Goff swept into the Auckland mayoralty.
Goff, former Labour leader and longtime MP, sounding the right noises for most Auckland voters, built his campaign policies around paragraph long truisms.
Auckland’s transport infrastructure needs more money via central government, waterways need protecting and something must be done about housing affordability, his campaign webpage read. Now it’s March, it’s more than 100 days on from Goff becoming Mayor - how do Auckland commentators think Goff’s done?
Spinoff writer Simon Wilson gives Goff a mixed scorecard.
‘‘My view of Goff is that he is facing the right way but seems curiously reluctant to take bold steps forward - and sometimes he runs away.’’ As a manager Goff has ’’exercised considerable political skill in constructing his council, bringing potential opponents that matter into his team, although he managed to alienate a potential friend,’’ dumped Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse, Wilson said.
‘‘He’s remarkably risk averse, naturally cautious and more inclined to manage than lead.
‘‘He also seems, strangely, intent on doing things on his own rather than building on good work that’s gone before.’’
Wilson cites Goff’s Housing Taskforce rolled-out last week as going ‘‘behind the backs of everyone working in the field’’.
Local and central government agencies, developers and banks belong to the taskforce but community agencies and workers with proven track records are missing, Wilson said.
One of Goff’s biggest tasks is to find a way to fund billions in transport infrastructure but trying to use Auckland’s Annual Plan to find some of that money is misplaced, Wilson said. Instead, Goff needs to shame central government into coughing-up dollars for Auckland. Former long-term Manukau City Mayor Sir Barry Curtis said he’s ‘‘very, very impressed’’ with Goff’s first 100 days.
‘‘He’s doing an excellent job, his grasp of issues, I’m very impressed with the way he relates to communities multicultural such as they are. I’d give him a 10 out of 10 quite frankly.’’ Curtis, Manukau’s Mayor for 24 years, believes Goff has done well getting Auckland Council expenditure under control while Goff has started to restore staff morale, something Auckland region’s super city merger eroded.
Phil Goff became Auckland Mayor in 2016, following more than 35 years in central government politics.