In the weeks leading up to the elections, Indian Weekender will speak to each candidate and ask them about their vision for Auckland, how they plan to address the two important issues faced by Aucklanders—public transport and housing—and their stand on the much debated Auckland Unitary Plan. This week, we spoke to David Hay, Vic Crone and Susanna Kruger. Here’s what the city’s potential future leaders had to say.

David Hay

David HayMost Aucklanders would remember David Hay from his Green Party days before his departure following a dispute over leadership and direction of the party, particularly Green’s “lack of attention to, and engagement with Auckland issues”. He stood for parliament twice, in 2008 and 2011, and has held various positions with the Greens. Hay is now standing for Mayor of Auckland as an independent candidate with the vision statement—cool Auckland: carbon zero by 2060 or sooner.

Your plan for the first 60 days in office if elected

My first priority will be to provide emergency housing for Auckland's homeless. I think we could do that in 60 days or less if we really tried. If there were just one thing I could achieve in two months, that would be it. 

Your views on the Auckland Unitary plan

I am in favour of the Unitary Plan. It has some flaws, and we can deal with those, but overall it is well thought out and sets a direction for Auckland's future.

The plan expands the range of housing types across the city, offering more choice to home-owners.  We now have to ensure that those homes are built to high standard and that vibrant communities are able to develop in and around development areas.

Your approach to the housing and public transport issues

These aren't just Auckland's issues; they're issues for all of New Zealand.

The housing problems are complex and a solution will require a joint effort by the council and government.  The council has some control over issues of land and infrastructure supply but little control over housing supply or housing demand. The council will do what it can, but it can't solve the housing problem without central government’s involvement.

A solution to Auckland's transport problem is quite simple, in theory: we need to build the Rapid Transit Network, which is already in the Auckland Plan. It's an electric rapid rail system to move people on, of, around, and across Auckland's central isthmus. In practice, however, there have been difficulties to get the central government to sign up to building rail instead of motorways. 

We need to create a cross-party consensus, at the central government level, to fund the Rapid Transit Network and address issues of housing supply and demand. And that consensus has to endure over a period of years or decades.

Three initiatives you plan on undertaking as the mayor

Auckland underwent major reforms when it became the "super city". Those reforms need to be continued, consolidated, and completed. There are three key areas I will focus on:

Government Relations: Working with other local authorities, political parties, and the government of the day to improve the working relationship between the central and local government in New Zealand.  Some of the difficulties we are experiencing are not Auckland's alone; our size and rapid growth rate have exposed serious flaws in the way central and local government work together. We can't fix Auckland's problems without addressing this issue, and it would be best to do that on a nation-wide basis.

Stronger Democracy: Changing the structure of local boards and devolving power to them, also introducing Single Transferable Vote elections and replacing the Independent Maori Statutory Board with councillors elected by Maori wards.

High-performing Council: Significant reforms to the management of the council organisation and CCOs to make them more efficient, effective, and responsive.

Your vision for the future of Auckland

"Cool Auckland: carbon zero by 2060 or sooner." 

We mustn't lose sight of our long-term goals, and our plans to get there while dealing with the current problems.

Climate change is the most profound challenge that Auckland faces in the long term. All over the world, cities and regional governments have been taking the lead on reducing carbon emissions and dealing with the effects of climate change, while national governments are still dithering.

Auckland is already a part of the international cities movement through its membership of the C40 group, and we have a Carbon Action Plan in place. I will keep pushing forward and harder on reducing carbon emissions so that we will achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2060, at the very latest.

Vic Crone

Vic Crone

Vic has 20 years’ experience across business, government, and social enterprise. She resigned last year as Managing Director of Xero to shake council up. Her vision for Auckland: a world class city that is smart, inclusive, and competitive. She says that at the moment, it is more expensive than ever to live here and harder to get around. A devoted mother of two and a proud Aucklander, she has a reputation for strong leadership, as a change agent, and as having the courage to achieve what others think impossible.

Your plan for the first 60 days in office if elected

In the first 60 days, my main priority is to get an honest and clear picture from the inside of the council finances, particularly the situation with housing and transport. I will make those observations public.

Your views on the Auckland Unitary Plan

There are a few things I’d like tweaked if I’m mayor. Firstly, removing the Metropolitan Urban Limit and secondly, more intensification near good public transport. Ultimately, the council needs to genuinely take communities along on the journey rather than shutting them out. People have valid concerns about how their neighbourhoods will look like and how schools, roads, and local facilities will cope.

Your approach to housing and public transport issues

My plan to speed up the housing supply chain includes getting tough on land bankers and property speculators with additional targeted rates, making sure we have strict development expectations in contracts for the land council sells, and a lean process review on the consenting system, which is out of control. Council must work better with these stakeholders, including social housing providers.

My approach to transport is as an integrated smart system. There’s more than $6 billion in transport investment planned over the next seven years, out of the $60 billion 10-year spend. I’ll move more of council’s total spend into transport and broaden funding sources through partnerships. There are six key projects I’ll bring forward not included in council's plan or are too far away. They include the North-Western Busway, Penlink, AMETI, Lake Road, Mill Road, and electrifying rail to Pukekohe. To make public transport more user-friendly, I’ll boost park and rides, increase ferry services, improve feeder services, and focus on better safety.

Three initiatives you plan on undertaking as the mayor

A line-by-line review of all spending and making it public so people can see how their money is being spent. I’ll broaden our funding sources to take the pressure off rates and taxpayers. Finally, I’ll move council towards a digital council so it is better equipped for the future and to serve you.

Your vision for the future of Auckland

My vision for Auckland is a world-class city; one that’s smart, inclusive, and competitive on the world stage.

Susanna Kruger

Susanna KrugerA business school owner offering the Young Entrepreneur Program and Create Your Own J.O.B. course while pioneering the Professional Entrepreneur Pathway, Susanna Kruger comes from Namibia where she was a Government Consultant of Public Service Reform specialising in education, culture, youth, and sport.

Your plan for the first 60 days in office if elected

On the 60th day in office, I will announce a date, budget, venue, programme, and a team for holding one big inter-cultural festival with food and performing arts by all nations. As part of this, I will invite delegates from other cities across the globe presenting awards to individuals representing ‘winds of change’.

Your views on the Auckland Unitary Plan

The Unitary Plan is a corrupt corporate project claiming to address the needs of the community benefitting construction and related industries, bringing nothing more than a new name for an old agenda. I will facilitate investigations into it and into other alleged historic city plan fraud getting corporations to pay out communities, making housing affordable for everyday Kiwis.

Your approach to housing and public transport issues

Auckland’s housing crisis is the result of a win-lose judicial system, a lobbyist political system, and an employment-driven education system. I will employ a mega micro-business plan to allow at least one member of the family to work primarily from home; reversing homelessness, welfare dependency, and poverty. WINZ and related agencies are at best a refuge and at worst a trap administered by employees instead of entrepreneurs. The gate to ‘working towards self-employment’ has to be swung wide open so that I can help people turn hobbies into businesses.

Auckland’s transport crisis is the result of uncontrolled immigration, old-school legislation, and a corporate workforce. I will roll out a job-creating digital transport system to allow for the emerging gig economy to reduce road congestion through freelancing virtual employees, reversing unemployment, exploitation, and crime. The City Rail Link is a second-millennium solution for a third-millennium problem, increasing debt and rates unnecessarily, making Auckland livable only for those who can afford it.

Three initiatives you plan on undertaking as the mayor

As author/speaker/consultant/entrepreneur, I will make Auckland safe by (i) advocating and combating family and structural violence including all sorts of other abuse such as bullying and cruelty, (ii) exposing and banning chemical and poisonous substances from kitchens, bathrooms, and gardens, stopping the producers and sellers of such products, and (iii) challenging and balancing perspectives between locals and immigrants addressing the fears of both groups, creating a culture of seeking to understand. These three initiatives are my current community projects that I will be able to transfer to public projects.

Your vision for the future of Auckland

My vision for Auckland is to make it the young entrepreneur capital of the world creating a truly healthy society, free from abuse and violence and presenting it as an international prototype.

The mayoral election special feature will continue in our next issue.