Mayoral candidate Craig Lord has today listed his personal priorities for the next stage of Auckland’s growth and recovery.
There is a strong focus on returning Council to being a core services provider.
This growth plan includes:
Roading and Traffic Flow.
New Contractor Procurement System.
Full Audit and Refresh of Council Operations.
Waste and Energy.
“Auckland’s problems are deeper than just covid recovery. Council services are bloated with middle and upper management, they are inefficient and the systems are not working for Auckland as a whole. It’s time for a full refresh.”
“Recovery starts from the inside. We need to focus on providing essential core services, getting back to basics and focus on making the city work so the residents can thrive.”
Roading and Traffic Flow:
Auckland Transport have taken the instruction from NZTA to purposely restrict traffic flows and create congestion. This is a terrible practice that is costing the city millions of dollars while dramatically increasing emissions. We need to remove these restraints and let the city move freely.
We also need to place a priority on the completion of major projects such as Penlink and the Hill Street intersection at Warkworth. The Mill Road corridor needs to be pushed forward and the long-time promised Kumeu Bypass must begin.
Huapai and Kumeu desperately require passenger rail.
We must prioritise the safety needs of intersections like Coatesville and SH16, along with Mill Road motorway interchange on the Bombay Hills.
As certains areas of the Super City have been neglected by previous Mayor’s and Auckland Council, Mr Lord will be allocating $124 Million to the Rodney district for repairs and/or surface sealing, and the Franklin district will also receive a major funding boost for similar restorations.
Road maintenance contracts across the entire Auckland region will be fully audited due to the large amount of inconsistencies and costs of resealing and pothole repairs.
New Contractor Procurement:
Contract maintenance for Auckland is currently given to a select few preferred companies. Over time this has created two major problems. Firstly, those few major companies have profited by millions of dollars of ratepayers money, and secondly, the quality of workmanship on finished projects has steadily lowered. To make things worse, there is no accountability or warranty on work so the purse strings are continually being opened for remedial work.
As Mayor, Mr Lord wants to instigate a new system where local contractors are allocated projects in their local areas. Not only will this share the wealth and grow business, it will allow locals to have a sense of pride in their workmanship by looking after their own regions.
Auckland has an abundance of capable contractors who are willing and able to service their city, but the system makes it difficult for them to be awarded the work.
Mr Lord will bring in new systems to remove the red tape, provide open and transparent details so all contractors can bring themselves up to spec on the codes and standards required to receive contracts. Council will also assist the businesses to achieve their ‘WOF’.
Finally, by ensuring that the maintenance contractors provide quality workmanship with accountability, Aucklanders will save money.
Full Audit and Refresh of Council Operations:
Each department of Auckland Council needs to be fully audited to analyse the efficiency and effectiveness of supply.
One of the largest complaints from residents is how long it takes for anything to be sorted. This encompasses the entire range of services from waste, to building permits.
The departments need more frontline staff, less middle management, and more efficient systems in both communication and activation.
This auditing process will be achieved by utilising a mix of specialists from internal and external sources with the end goal being streamlined efficiency both practically and fiscally.
Auckland needs more policing. There is no debate on this.
As Mayor, Mr Lord will be lobbying the Government to reinstate a downtown CBD station to provide 24/7 ‘boots on the ground’ and to increase the overall policing across the city.
The niceties need to stop and the necessities need to be prioritised.
Auckland Council must focus on being a provider of core services and ensure they are not encroaching on tasks that the Central Government should be undertaking.
While controlling the overall debt is crucial, that is not the underlying problem with Auckland Council, rather it is the reckless spending and lack of accountability with various projects and departments.
Responsible borrowing for infrastructure improvements and repairs is an acceptable practice, but increasing rates and implementing new taxes to cover the financial holes that have been created by being fiscally inept is not.
While the loss of pet projects will upset a minor few, the overall goal of budget responsibility is more important for the coming years.
Local Boards, Councillors and Council Departments need to be brutally honest with themselves and the citizens of Auckland when it comes to spending the ratepayer dollar and Mr Lord will be working with everyone to ensure this message and plan is put in place.
Quite simply, it is all about going back to basics.
Waste and Energy:
While we are slowly starting to improve our recycling and waste management mentality, the reality is that there will never be a zero waste scenario.
The growth of Auckland waste is a dirty secret that needs to be addressed.
Mr Lord will be lobbying the Auckland citizens and Central Government for a mandate to fully investigate and execute the building of a Waste to Energy plant.
This high end modern technology will assist in the enforcement of recycling with smart pre-factory solutions, will remove the need for landfills, and as a byproduct will provide power to the city.
“Whilst a Covid recovery is certainly in play, it is not the driving force behind my goals. For years Auckland Council has failed its citizens. So for me, the focus across the next few years will be about making the city more efficient, transparent and accountable. Those are often used buzz words but they are also the correct ones to use right now. This city needs to be led in a pragmatic way and I want to unite the Councillors, Local Boards and departments to provide positive results and benefits for everyone.”