Steve Joyce says “No”, Auckland Council says “Yes”


New Auckland mayor Phil Goff is yet to be sworn in, and already the un-elected mandarins are trying to show him who really runs the place. First was the council’s development agency Panuku, which lodged a resource consent application for a $12 million, 75m boardwalk into the harbour from Queens Wharf while the rest of us were diverted by the final week of the election campaign.

This despite a campaign pledge by Goff that as mayor, he would ban any further reclamation into the harbour. True, the 3.5m wide public walkway will be on piles, not reclaimed land. But it’s hard to see it as anything but a deliberate attempt to sneak around the new mayor’s promise.

Mr Goff has now demanded a rethink and told Radio NZ “I’ve made it clear to council and to the council-controlled organisations that when any matter that may be controversial comes up, I need to be advised on that; I expect that to happen on each and every occasion.”

It seems to have lasted about as long as previous mayor, Len Brown’s similar “no surprises” edict.

Goff’s start has been stellar. ?He’s announced a stadium that he didn’t campaign on, and his un-elected officials are rolling out initiatives that undermine Goff’s policies.

Last weekend, up popped Brett O’Riley, chief executive of economic development CCO, Ateed, declaring he will spend “hundreds of thousands” of ratepayers dollars to prop up the proposed WBO heavyweight boxing match in December.

It will be “one of the most high-profile events that Auckland has ever hosted,” Mr Riley said. “We definitely intend to be a major partner in the fight.”

So much for the new mayor’s belt-tightening regime.

As we are powerless observers, all we have to go on is schadenfreude.


– Brian Rudman, NZ Herald