Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Low Turnout Makes Your Vote in Auckland More Important

Guest post by Stephen Berry

With voter turnout in Auckland currently 40% lower than in 2010, Auckland residents should realise that their single vote will be even more important than before. So don’t vote strategically, vote for the person advocating the platform you truly support because this election. With the low turnout, your vote counts more than ever.

Affordable Auckland, who I represent, is a new local body party, fielding four candidates across Auckland

  • Heidi Bale – Whau Local Board
  • Stephen Berry – Mayor, Waitemata & Gulf ward, Waitemata Local Board
  • Peter Chan - Waitakere ward
  • Niko Kloeten - Franklin ward, Franklin (Pukekohe subdivision) Local Board

Affordable Auckland is offering a genuine alternative to business as usual at Auckland Council. While your average representative rolls over every time rates increase, Affordable Auckland has an actual plan to cut your rates.

Council is currently dominated by pork-barrellers and project-pushers who want to get everyone else to fund their personal interests and growing empires. Only Affordable Auckland says the role of Council is to focus on quality spending on the absolute essentials that make the city function, not on burnt-out theatres, artificial white-water rafting facilities, and tramway novelties leading nowhere.

Affordable Auckland has been at the forefront of the attack on exploding council debt, with a commitment to balance the budget in three years and then pay off debt in the following term. Voters who share my concern need to ask themselves if the alternative candidates have the same dedication to minimising future rates that I and my colleagues do.

While the majority of candidates mount platforms of “character preservation” which consign proper private property rights to the dustbin, Affordable Auckland stands apart as the champion of private property rights. If what you’re doing on your land doesn’t impact upon neighbouring properties, then what business are your activities of the Council? Should respecting your neighbour’s land be the rule, or should farmers and others be consulting a giant rulebook to find out if what it takes to run their business is approved by a politician?

Finally, the most important issue of this campaign is affordable housing. The incumbents trot out the same old concern without the plans to make a difference. Len Brown isn’t going to abolish the urban limit. Cathy Casey thinks her plan to force developers to include “affordable homes” in all developments over 15 houses will work, when we know this will only raise prices discourage more development.

Only Affordable Auckland states the solution to affordable housing is for the Council to do less rather than more. Have less restrictive zoning, allow fewer hobby-horse activists to block development, and have vastly fewer delays in granting consent to new development.

Affordable Auckland is fighting one hell of a campaign to show Aucklanders there is a real credible alternative to going down the same worn out path of doing more of the same.

  • Heidi Bale stands out in Whau for her advocacy of frugal application of local board funding.
  • Peter Chan is the only Waitakere local who bats for a lower rates and regulation philosophy.
  • Niko Kloeten is scaring the beejesus out of the establishment in Franklin with his knowledge of the issues and his significant support from the locals.
  • I am the only candidate for Mayor and Waitemata & for the Gulf ward really advocating for the interests of ratepayers and young families seeking genuinely affordable housing.

Based on current trends, your vote is forty percent more powerful than in 2010, so if you really support Affordable Auckland’s path to an affordable Auckland, don’t vote just to block the incumbent – vote Affordable Auckland!

Stephen Berry is the leader of Affordable Auckland and the nationwide Affordable Cities ticket, and Affordable Auckland candidate for Mayor,  for Waitemata & Gulf, and for Waitemata Local Board.

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