Goff’s first 100 days: fix Auckland Council’s reputation

Mr Goff thinks that as long as nobody trusts politicians, the council, or him, he may have a tough job on his hands.

One of the most quoted pieces of information by candidates on the mayoral campaign trail was a council survey released mid-year in which only 15 percent of questioned Aucklanders expressed satisfaction with the council’s performance.

Only 17 percent trusted the council to make the right decision. On the face of it, that is quite an indictment.

However, the results were similar to a nationwide survey by Victoria University, in which only 12 percent of respondents had either complete or “lots” of trust in their local council – so it was not a purely Auckland issue.

The full version of the council’s survey also tells a more varied story. About 52 percent of respondents said they knew nothing or almost nothing about the council and what it does – and yet many of those had a view on trust or satisfaction.

Large parts of Auckland felt the council had a strong or superior reputation, with the least favourable views held in the city’s farthest north, south, and west.

Yet the survey, and the apparent need to bring in former Air New Zealand executives Rob Fyfe and Norm Thompson for at least informal advice, was to be the first thing Mr Goff was expected to raise at today’s meeting with council chief executive Stephen Town.

Mr Goff yesterday talked of the need for action to tackle homelessness, and the housing crisis. But on his to-do list, these will follow the reputation issue. If there is one.

The council will have a “to do” list for its new mayor. One of the biggest early items is preparing next year’s budget – which needs to take shape before Christmas.

It will be interesting to see how long Goff can pretend to be in control of the organisation that essentially just controls him. ?All the unelected power brokers will protect their patches, and whatever happens will need more money.

We’ve seen it all before. ?And Phil Goff has left a legacy in central government of tax and spend. ?To expect any different now would be sufficient reason to be intitutionalised.

 

– Todd Nial, RNZ

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