Auckland Council Answers to Questionnaire

My questionnaire was emailed to incumbents on Saturday 24 August
It was emailed to those who had provided email addresses with their candidacy registrations on Sunday 25 August
Here are the initial responses:

Waitemata LB Candidate Russell Hoban
1. To be a working and accessible conduit between council and the community,the ratepayers and citizens within a geographical boundary on issues, policies, predicaments and needs affecting all parties.
2. Yes and after hours; I have worked for the council for thirty years and in that time (as an Environmental Health Officer covering noise and pollutions etc.) I have been on a rotating ‘on-call’ emergency roster. I am used to being available and happy to be contactable whenever.
3. phone/email/person (I am responding to your questions only five minutes after I received them). I like to keep on top of things.
4. As above,yes.
5. As answered.
6. I am a fresh candidate; but if I am voted in, I will be resigning my job as you cannot do the two jobs viz.work for council and be on a board. At this time I have to stand down from my work, because as a council employee, you also cannot do both from the closure of that candidacy and the end of elections (12th October) because of potential conflict of interest. I hope that this indicate the level of my commitment.
7. I am remaining flexible to see how much is needed. I may get another part-time job for 1-2 days and have other potential opportunities for this if need be and to supplement my income. My income will be dropping substantially if I am elected.
8. Yes
9. No
10. As of last month, around 6 billion and with an interest rate of between 5 and 6% that is about a million dollars interest a day… I personally do not believe it is good postponing issues through taking on debt.
11. No
12. Elect me and I can find out. I find the current debt unacceptable, so any increase in that is doubly unacceptable. I think the council is being run like a corporation and there is a reason corporations do not run public services and are not already called ‘Local Government’ – I am not being flippant.
13. This has been set up by central government and is a legally established entity that to change, would require central government intervention and councillors involvement – rather than at the level of local boards; however I am against the way that the CCO’s have been set up, outside of the democratic reference and that they are permitted to function like removed corporatoions. I will certain raise this at whatever level I can. Check out our website and this issue:
http://cityvision.org.nz/local-government/ccos-and-accountability/
14. Unless the system that shuts them off from democratically elected influence is
changed, I cannot see how a local board could actually change the system.
They do have performance goals set, but local boards do not set these. I can
only reiterate I am against any local government structure that prevents full
accountability to democratically elected community representatives, who do
after all, own the resources.
15. More protection for residential amenity, more input by residents into resource
consents, aim to stop the keys of the city being thrown to developers, more
fiscal accountability, more organic rubbish collections and parking limitations on
some areas with free residential permits for those living in the area. More control
over liquor licensing and use of public pavements. It’s ridiculous that bars can
use pavements that are in effect, ‘no drinking’ areas.
16.Having access to information and be in areas of decision making where I can
input and publicise areas that I feel weakens the qualities of our city, which
make it one of the best places in the world to live!

Waitemata and Gulf Ward Councillor Candidate Aleksandar Zivaljevic
1. The ultimate role of a Councillor is to influence strategic direction and provide guidelines for the development of Auckland City. The councillor is to take full responsibility for the achievements and failures of the AC Council during the 3 years term, which implies that the person has to be of high personal integrity, educated and experienced professional.
2.
3. My phone, email and office location will be disclosed to the public after I am elected.
4.
5.
6. Being a Councillor is a full-time commitment.
7. N/A
8. After leading and managing businesses for 20+ years, as well as being educated in the business field, I have a good working knowledge of accounting, taxation and finance fields and related reports (not just P&L and Balance Sheet).
9. I am not comfortable with the Auckland Council’s debt level. But that can be because the Council haven’t disclosed all relevant financial documents, including a detailed financial forecast. Debt is not necessarily a bad thing if the purpose of taking more debt is investing in profitable activity. In this case, to be on a safe side I say that I am not comfortable with the debt level, because I have not enough information to base my opinion on. One of the first things I will do when elected is to make sure that all financial information is opened to the scrutiny of the public.
10. Media reports that the debt is around $6b. Again, without having access to the books, I am not able to confirm that.
11. Expansion of debt has to take in consideration the use of money borrowed and the income expected. If the new debt is expected to be repaid by the ratepayer (or if the risk for that to happen is high), then I am not comfortable with more borrowing. The devil is in (strategic and financial) details…
12. By 2022 the council’s debt is expected to reach $12.5b (source: media as the official sources are silent on this). The feasibility of the projects the borrowing is planned to support has to be thoroughly scrutinised and I have that on my agenda.
13. CCOs’ strategies and financials are to be made transparent to the Councillors and the CEO and the Chairman of each of the CCOs are to report to the Council Board once in a six months or when asked to do that. Strategy of each of the CCOs is to be approved by the Council before it can be imp[lamented. The complexity of this task requires that only business and financially minded professionals be elected as Councillors.
14. CCOs work for and are accountable to all Auckland residents, not just ratepayers. I will make sure that policies be put in place that ensure the Council have appropriate control over CCOs’ strategy (this implies control over investments and expenditures).
15. Well, I live in the area that I represent, thus I not just know, but live the problems of this area. Overpriced and unaffordable residential and commercial properties, high rates, public transport issues, traffic congestion, dirty air (Pollution), unsafe streets, homeless people camping below the bridges, services (police, firefighters, ambulance) over-using their sirens, Local and Central Government offices located in the prime CBD locations, expensive parking in the hospitals …
16. I plan to unite a group of councillors whose standpoints are the same or similar and to use the power of a group as opposed to a power of one that is used now. It will be an advantage if the councillors are elected based on their education and experience, as opposed to just the enthusiasm they show toward improving the situation in Auckland. A group of professionals will collaborate better than a group of people that base their reaction on their instincts or emotions.

Manurewa LB Candidate Michael Bailey
1. Represent the community and advocate for them in Council and local matters
2. Yes
3. By phone, email at the Board office by arrangement.
4. Yes, as I always am.
5. By phone, email, and in person by arrangement if able.
6. Almost
7. I would put in 20-30 hours many weeks.
8. No, only a limited knowledge of them.
9. No
10. About 6 billion
11. No
12. Not sure
13. As a local Board member I would have no real say in CCO’s, however we must all ask questions over the way they operate and attempt to get them to do so openly.
14. See above
15. I have lived in the area for 50 years, so I am very aware of the issues of this ward.
16. Continue to advocate to Council for my constituents for issues that are not able to be addressed locally and from local budgets. Advocate around the Board table for the rest.

Albert-Eden (Owairaka) LB Candidate Pauline Anderson
1. I believe the job I was elected for is to be the ears, eyes, and support, for my local communities. To ensure that their wants and needs are heard and responded to in a fair and meaningful way so that they understand and accept the process about the way that decisions are made that effect them on a day to day basis. But more importantly I am hands on and get involved with my communities where ever possible, although sometimes it is impossible to be in two places at once. I am a person of action not just words and do my best to challenge the bureaucratic process at all times. I was recently involved with Mt Albert residents to opposing a new Liquor store. We went to the district court and convinced the judge without the assistance of the police or the Council that the applicant was not of a suitable character. The license was declined. This is how I like to get involved, not by attending meetings.
2. I have been accessible to all ratepayers 24/7, my personal contact number is published on the council website and Local board documents. I freely provide all my contact details plus home address to anyone. I have visited many people in their homes to discuss issues of varying degrees and will continue to do so.
3. As above and I am also linked into many social network, media, blogs, linked in, as well.
4. I have been for the last 3 years and will continue to be available 24/7. I will ensure all my personal contact details are included on the council website and Local documents. I will also continue to use social media, email groups and through consultation to keep people informed of any developments that effect them. I believe the consultation process is flawed and needs to be much better. I will fight for this. This is what Local boards are all about.
5. As above by providing personal contact details so ratepayers have access to me when they need.
6. The role I have played on the local board has seen me commit approximately 25 hours a week to the role this includes some weekend work. I have a small part time role that supplements my income and I am very fortunate that my employer sees value in the work I do on the local board so allows me the flexibility to work the hours to my needs given the demands of the week. If I was appointed to the Role of Local board Chair I would commit full time to this role (as it needs) and not allow any other demands on my time except for my family.
7. Yes I do. I have 15 years banking experience and subsequently ran my own business for 10 years.
8. Absolutely not. Especially given some of the projects the governing body have approved such as the white water course at Manukau that will only benefit a few. We need as a council to stick to core business and set the city to rights around infrastructure, transport, fairer rating systems, growth. The Albert Eden Local board has an annual budget Operational and capital expenditure budget of 16 million dollars 2013 to deliver services and amenities to its board area annually. We are required to work within the budget and can’t simply raise rates and borrow money to balance the books. In fact that is how most households in New Zealand try to operate. The governing body should be made to do the same with some possible very important exceptions where it is proven and accepted to be of greater benefit to the city to do so.
9. $6 Billion. It astounds me that the mayor believes that because we have a good credit rating with standard and poors it means we are showing financial prudence. He seems to believe this is the go ahead to continue to borrow for luxuries when Mums and dads of Auckland are struggling to pay the rates bill.
10. Not at all.
11. According to the Auckland long term plan it will be $12.4 Billion if borrowing continues in line with the plan and no unforeseeable large expenditure is required.
12. (and 13,14) The governing body will need to take a firm hold with the CCO’s and continue to challenge the intent of the Local Government Act reforms. It is clear to me that we the ratepayers have lost a large degree of control over the cities biggest council departments (organisations). Some are working hard to work within the structure but it appears only because it is required. Local boards can do their part by supporting and advocating to the governing body for continued greater transparency and clarity around the work they are doing. We also need to work with our MP’s to make them realise that it is unacceptable for a CCO to have this much control and that the legislation requires an urgent revisit. Other councils will need to take note and support Auckland in its endeavours to regain full oversight and transparency from these organisations. And they could find themselves in the same boat.
13.
14.
15. (and16) The area I cover is the subdivision of Owairaka which includes the areas of Waterview, Pt Chevalier, Kingsland, Mt Albert, Sandringham, Morningside. It’s fair to say that they like most of Auckland suffer from heavy congestion particularly around the main arterials of Great North Road, Mt Albert Road, New North Road, Sandringham Road, St Lukes Road , Carrington Road with heavy congestion clogging secondary roads and residential streets being difficult to enter and exit. Intersections in these areas at key times are unbearable so these areas suffer from rat running and speeding traffic so traffic and pedestrian safety is compromised. Traffic calming and alternative traffic calming measures are high on my list as it was for most of the current local board. Traffic calming is being introduced in some key problematic streets and some alternative measures are also being trialed. The Westfield St Lukes mega centre area and Morningside drive also require close oversight and work.
Whilst we have a number of thriving village centres such as Kingsland and Mt Eden we still have a long way to go to ensure all our villages return to being the heart of their local communities. Mt Albert and Pt Chevalier and to a lesser degree Sandringham require extra support to see them return to their glory days and I know that all these communities support this and are keen for this to happen. We have a number of fantastic community groups setting up and getting involved with delivering vibrant and exciting marklets and ideas to their communities. I want to support this work
Waterview has suffered greatly from the SH20 project and will continue to suffer from this work for the next 5 years. This community requires additional support and investment to ensure they get what they need to maintain and strengthen their sense of identity within their own area. I strongly support the need for a community centre/hub within the area that will become a gathering place and centre for all that is great about Waterview. This will encourage other amenities to the area and should encourage a small village development. I also fully support the mitigation projects that are planned and believe they will also bring an economic rejuvenation to the local area.
Pt Chevalier has issues around overcrowding at their primary school, serious traffic issues at the Coyle Park Pt Chevalier beach area. They also require some consolidation of recreation and sporting facilities to make the best of the privately owned assets. A Public/Private partnership with all the clubs and organisations is a vision for Pt Chevalier that I support as long as all are in agreement that this is the way forward. The community centre needs a plan to make it suitable for use and Pt Chevalier deserves this.
As the Economic development portfolio holder on the board I will assist if re-elected Pt Chevalier to develop and run successfully a business Assn so that can fully avail themselves of what is on offer to Associations/BIDS through the economic development team at council. I was disappointed that this role was not allotted to me by the current local board, given that I had already successfully revitalised the Mt Albert Business Assn and I was the economic development portfolio holder.
Kingsland has issues around traffic management and parking given the narrow nature of the residential streets and the clear way on New North Road and the Eden park activity. This problem needs a long term approach in consultation with the community to ensure that all benefit. Clearly some additional parking is required and some land to accommodate it. It has a very successful Business improvement district operating (BID) but they still require Local board support to make things happen.
Sandringham continues to grow in strength but needs more help on the ground in terms of able committed people. There are some fantastic groups starting up and a very successful farmers market has been operating and the community centre has recently come back under council control which has seen it go from strength to strength. The amenity of Sandringham needs investment and the community centre needs a full renovation to meet the needs of the local community and its user groups. I believe these centres are the lifeblood of our communities and they should be the best they can be within our limited budget.
Mt Albert is probably the saddest of our local villages and the Local Board were unanimous that the redevelopment of the Mt Albert Town centre was to be he key project for the local board. We were unanimously supported also by the governing body and the budget was secured to acquire the private car park adjacent to the newly built train station to provide access to the station and also a public amenity that we hope will become the centre and a gathering place for Mt Albert residents. This in fact was why I got involved in Local body politics so I feel a great sense of pride that we have been able to achieve this during the current term. We now turn to consulting with the residents and community groups to find out their vision for this acquisition. Mt Albert Town centre has also suffered from consistent petty crime, drunkenness, graffiti and the like. The Local Board has assisted the Business Assn with funding to install monitored CCTV throughout the Town centre through my advocacy and we await with interest the results of this project.

Stephen Berry is a Mayoral Candidate, Councillor Candidate for the Waitemata & Gulf ward and Waitemata LB Candidate.
1. Their job is to administer the core functions required for the city to operate.
2. Yes
3. By mobile phone and email
4. Within reason. I don’t plan on taking phone calls at 2am but I am prepared to go the extra mile to communicate effectively with ratepayers.
5. By mobile phone and email
6. I view Mayor, Council and Local Board as being full time commitments, though if I am elected to Local Board I do intend to maintain a part time job.If I can work 60 hours a week and run a campaign/political party as I am doing now, I can dedicate myself full time to a Local Board position as well as work a part time job on the side.
7. In the case of being elected to a Local Board, I expect to be dedicating at least 40 hours a week to the role. In the other positions I am sure it will be much more.
8. I have basic accounting qualifications as well as a retail management background. I’m very comfortable reading financial statements.
9. I am very uncomfortable with current debt levels.
10. Current debt is in excess of $5.5 billion.
11. No
12. Based on Auckland’s Long Term Plan, I would estimate around $10 billion, however I’m sceptical that it could stay so low considering we will be borrowing $1.2 billion this financial year. At that rate, it will be $11.6 billion.
13. I’m not sure politicians are the best people to be running organizations that have essentially been set up to operate as businesses.
14. I’ll hold those CCO’s whose objectives are to return profits to the Council accountable for doing so and manage the performance of those individuals responsible for their operation.
15. The problems of the greater Auckland area are high rates, high spending and unaffordable housing.
16. (i) I will cut rates. I won’t limit increases to the rate of inflation… I won’t put a cap on increases. I will cut rates.
(ii) I will restrict the Council to funding only those activities which are legally required and essential for the operation of the city e.g. rubbish collection, libraries, public transport.
(iii) I pledge to run a balanced budget within three years. The borrowing of today will result in the high rates of tomorrow.
(iv) I will make housing more affordable by cutting rates, spending and borrowing. I will drastically reduce the time delays and monetary impacts involved in obtaining building consents from the council by adopting zoning policies which allow private property owners to do what they wish with their own property on the condition it does not infringe the rights of their neighbours to do the same. I will abolish the urban limit.

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