Howick and Pakuranga Times
Botany and Ormiston Times : Howick and Botany Times, Wednesday, August 21, 2013
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Call us now on 530 8461 or 530 8271 Whitford Village, Whitford, Auckland 93331-v2 Make the right choice about your dental care TUNING UP FOR BIRTHDAY A much-loved musical institution in South-East Auckland, the Manukau Symphony Orchestra celebrates its 20th anniversary with a special performance, The Titan -- Mahler Concert, this Saturday night. Page 3 By Marianne Kelly WHENEVER Mayor Len Brown is struggling to make his point at a public meeting, he reminds the older genera- tions of the clear vision the late Sir Dove Myer Robinson had for Auckland and how he was ignored. “Robbie understood how quickly Auckland was growing and he was totally committed to mass transit and rail. But even though he had a strong, compelling view and plan, he couldn’t get all the mayors and the Government onside,” Mr Brown says. “I remind people we should have listened to him. I carry that vision and feel I’ve inher- ited his mantle.” Passion to get Auckland moving again is driving Mr Brown to seek a second term as the super-city’s mayor in September-October’s Auck- land Council elections. In the 2010 campaign, his catch cry was to become “the mayor for all of Auckland”. “Now I am the mayor for all of Auckland and this time I’m saying I know what matters to Aucklanders. Auckland is on track and the reﬂection of a city on track resonates with people,” he says. With Government sup- port for three major transport projects in the bag, his ambi- tion for another term is to step up the pace. “A rail link to the airport is critical and we must make sure we get rail across a sec- ond harbour crossing. “We’ve never had such con- sistency of commitment by local and central government before. “It’s not sexy, but it’s crucial we get Auckland moving.” He’s delighted with the seamless transition from a group of often argumenta- tive local bodies into a strong single entity, saying the unity has “certainly surpassed my expectations”. “When I became mayor, I instructed councillors and local board members to leave their politics at the door and that it was about representing our communities and city. “In 95 per cent of the instances, that’s happened. Some were used to a divisive style, but I wouldn’t abide by it. It’s the way I was in Manu- kau. It’s my style of politics.” Mr Brown’s chuffed with more than 100 “mayor in the chair” sessions that have taken him to the extremes of the region, particularly the small outlying communities, a prac- tice he’ll continue if re-elected on October 12. He acknowledges the Howick ward’s ongoing beef about the $350 UAGC (uni- form annual general charge) used for setting the super- city’s rates. But he stands his ground on setting it at a level that would have the least impact on the most people. “If we were setting it for only Howick and Pakuranga, I’d probably have set it at $500 or $600. But I had to weigh up the interests around the region. “It will be subject to debate every year and every year I’ll reassess it. It’s the only equity lever we’ve got. It’s very much an equity debate and in the end I’ll make up my mind.” However, he acknowledges the council “got it wrong” when coastal areas, such as the Pakuranga peninsula, were earmarked for terraced hous- ing and apartment buildings in the draft Unitary Plan. “We’ve been back to the Kentigern Close group and I believe we’re all slowly arriv- ing at a good place. People are saying they want a more compact city, they don’t want urban sprawl.” A provision for people to build granny ﬂats attached to standalone houses, which they can rent out if desired, he says has “slipped under the radar”. “I’m conﬁdent the Unitary Plan will be ready for ﬁnal consultation by the election and 85 per cent of the con- cerns will be addressed.” He believes he’s lived up to his 2009 stand to protect the former Manukau City Coun- cil’s assets. “I’ve maintained a strong commitment that the airport shares would not be sold, there would be no privatisation of the waterways, and Vector would be kept in public own- ership, even against the advice of the Government,” he says. “But with a united Auckland we needed to build a strong CBD and make a clear com- mitment to bring the heart back to Auckland. “Going to Queen Street used to be a big night out for many of us and it’s getting back to that, without ignoring that Howick’s main street is as vital as it’s ever been. T ➤ urn to page 3 Auckland Mayor Len Brown was delighted to see the trophies Times Newspapers collected at the 2013 NZ Community Newspapers Association (CNA) awards. Times photo Wayne Martin Len's raring to go again ✓ Elections 2013 Your city, your votes Len Brown says the lowlight of his tenure as the first super-city mayor was the opening night of the 2011 Rugby World Cup, while the highlight was the final night. "I walked the fan trail and Auckland glowed. We showed a most outstanding face to the globe, we were genuinely uniting as a city. I felt a real sense of unity that night. "One of the greatest thrills in the job is when people come up to respectfully talk about what is happening in their backyard and reflect on something positive they feel about the city."
Howick and Botany Times Wednesday August 14
Howick and Botany Times, Wednesday, August 29, 2013