Auckland’s mayor-elect, Wayne Brown, has issued a statement following meetings to examine the council’s finances. He said he was “shocked” at what he saw in relation to Eke Panuku Development Auckland, the council’s semi-autonomous property arm, and encouraged a resignation.
Brown commended the chair of another council-controlled organisation, Auckland Transport’s Adrienne Young Cooper, for resigning following his election, saying she had demonstrated “integrity and leadership”. He continued: “I think the chairperson of Eke Panuku Development Auckland [Paul Majurey] should similarly show integrity and leadership by considering his immediate position.”
Brown said a view of the books had confirmed his view that Aucklanders are “sailing into an economic and fiscal storm”. While essential services would be protected, “serious savings” were needed, he said. “As mortgage rates rise and people come off fixed loans, Aucklanders are going to be paying double or triple on their weekly mortgages, while the value of their homes risks continuing to fall,” said Brown. “Under my leadership, and working with the new governing body, Independent Māori Statutory Board, and local boards, Auckland Council will do everything it can to not add to the pain Aucklanders are about to experience.”
The new mayor will be holding one-on-one meetings with councillors from tomorrow.
The image of the day is brought to you by an obscured pop star and an oversized meal.
Here at The Spinoff offices we’ve been buzzing all morning about the Black Ferns’ triumphant Rugby World Cup opener at Eden Park on Saturday. The feel good vibe, the poi, the legends Ruby Tui and Portia Woodman, a surprise Patea Māori Club performance: in short, a bloody good time was had by all.
And that’s not even mentioning Rita Ora’s performance, which we’re in the process of forensically examining for the benefit of everyone who wasn’t there.
Today’s image of the day, taken by Spinoff senior writer Alex Casey, is of that very performance – or least it was going to be until a man eating a kebab walked into frame, perfectly blocking the shot. You can see Rita and crew on the field there, and behind the kebab, honestly, is the stage she soon climbed up onto.
It’s a crude measure, of course – and as recent terms have shown, council votes rarely if ever break simply along such lines. But below is how the new council roughly looks in terms of politics, by our assessment. More meaningful, in many ways, is the extent to which councillors broadly supported and worked constructively with the Mayor Phil Goff direction of travel, or broadly blocked it. We’ve annotated those who’ve been councillors before accordingly as PG☑ or PG🛑.
Andy Baker (Team Franklin, Franklin)
Daniel Newman (Manurewa-Papakura Action Team, Manurewa-Papakura, PG🛑)
The Ministry of Health’s latest Covid-19 update has confirmed a further 9,405 cases over the past seven days. Of those, 1,021 were reinfections and the daily average number of new cases was 1,598.
There are now 134 people in hospital with the virus, including four cases in intensive care.
The average daily number of Covid-related deaths has risen to two, with the official death toll increasing by 25 over the past week. That includes 17 deaths officially attributed to the virus, with the remaining eight undetermined.
While case, hospitalisation and death rates have remained fairly steady since restrictions were lifted, one expert has warned that new subvariants overseas could drive another surge in infections before Christmas. Covid-19 modeller Michael Plank told Newshub that while heading into summer was advantageous, a wave remained possible.
A “shattered” Tim Shadbolt has reflected on his legacy as Invercargill mayor.
After almost three decades in the job, Shadbolt has lost the mayoralty to his deputy Nobby Clark. He also failed to make it back as a councillor.
Shadbolt, who previously told The Spinoff he did not expected to win this time, told Newshub’s AM his “whole world” had come shattering down. “But that’s democracy and you’ve got to accept it gracefully,” he said.
“I guess my legacy now is what comes into play and looking back over what I’ve sort of achieved and it’s all around me.”
Reflecting on that legacy, Shadbolt said his favourite moment was walking the red carpet for the World’s Fastest Indian premiere with Sir Anthony Hopkins, though admitted “probably people are more likely to remember me for towing the concrete mixer behind the mayoral car”.
Close to 65,000 votes were returned on Saturday morning in Auckland, bringing the turnout up to 35% in the preliminary results. That’s a lift from 31% as of Friday night, with still special votes, expected to be about 3% of all votes, to come. In 2019 the final turnout was 35.27%.
Those votes cast on Saturday have seen two council results switch from the progress count reported on Saturday.
In the Albert-Eden-Puketāpapa ward, Julie Fairey was trailing Will McKenzie by fewer than 300 votes. In the latest result, the City Vision candidate now has a 551 lead over her C&R rival.
In Whau, Labour candidate Kerrin Leoni is now in front of the incumbent councillor, C&R’s Tracy Mulholland, by 278 votes.
Electoral officer Dale Ofsoske said in a statement: “Given the large volume of special votes that came in, we’ve added extra resource to process and count these. The addition of validated special votes could again change the final count to be announced on Friday.”
Wayne Brown’s lead over Efeso Collins in the mayoral election is now at 57,753 votes.
The prime minister has denied that the weekend’s poor showing for Labour-endorsed candidates in local elections was a reflection of the current government.
Major mayoral hopefuls like Paul Eagle in Wellington and Efeso Collins in Auckland – both backed openly by Jacinda Ardern – failed to get elected. Eagle came in fourth, despite being seen as a frontrunner for much of the campaign.
Speaking to TVNZ’s Breakfast, Ardern said she didn’t see the link between the government and local election outcome. “I’ve never interpreted local government elections in that way. If you just take Auckland as an example, during that period you’d had Helen Clark as prime minister [and] John Banks as mayor, John Key as prime minister [and] Len Brown as mayor,” said Ardern.
“Often people run as independents, or on different tickets, but also they just have a different rhythm to them. I don’t think it’s fair to just necessarily draw those straight comparisons. In my mind, always there’s been times when central and local government have had different positions on issues but actually, these are also times when we need to work together.”
As Hayden Donnell wrote for The Spinoff today, the weekend’s election results can broadly be seen as a win for National. “The Hindenburg-style combustion of just about every Labour candidate in the country seems like a good sign for National, even if only 14 people total voted in our local elections,” he said.
Auckland’s new mayor has arrived at the city’s council building for his first full day on the job.
He spent yesterday with family, including a long brunch in Ponsonby before viewing the city – and his new constituents – from the air. According to the Herald, Brown took to the sky in a helicopter owned by a friend, heading out to Piha to test the waters. “Surf was bloody good… and dozens of surfers everywhere,” he said.
Enjoying a low key Sunday meant pulling out of major news interviews with the likes of TVNZ’s Q&A, though Brown today rejected claims that he had backtracked on arranged engagements.
Speaking to media in the lobby of Auckland Council, a smiling Brown joked that his first order of business was securing a swipe card to get up to his 27th floor office. “Then we’re going to be presented with a whole range of financial things for me to go to… I quite like that sort of stuff.”
Just hours after being elected, the chair of Auckland Transport, Adrienne Young-Cooper, “willingly” resigned from the role. “I governed Auckland Transport in accordance with the statement of intent agreed with Auckland Council and navigated the organisation through the extraordinary challenges of Covid 19 and its aftermath,” she said in a statement. “There are many talented and dedicated people serving the people of Auckland at AT. They deserve respect.”
Brown told media that everyone else on the boards of council-controlled agencies would be remaining “for a little bit” and suggested they could continue to function without a board for an interim period. Conversations on these matters had already begun, Brown said, though he was first focused on meeting with his new team of councillors “many of whom I haven’t met”.
As “The Fixer”, Brown’s campaign was centred around tackling ongoing issues in the super city. He reiterated this morning that he planned to address problems Aucklanders has raised.
“I’ve had 300 texts listing every possible [thing that Aucklanders] need fixing so I’m going to get on with the things I can deal with first,” he said.
Flanking Brown during his first major media appearance since Saturday’s election were his spokesperson Ben Thomas and right wing lobbyist, and one of Brown’s advisors, Matthew Hooton. He was joined later by Auckland Council chief executive officer Jim Stabback.
Defeated candidate Efeso Collins, who for much of the mayoral campaign was seen as a frontrunner, would likely meet with the new mayor for a casual beer and a chat this week.
Last week, Pinnacle Midlands Health was investigating a major cyberattack in which hackers potentially accessed the patient data of up to 450,000 people across the North Island. This morning, the Herald’s Chris Keall and Rachel Maher are reporting that sensitive patient files and high-level data stolen in the attack have been posted to the dark web by a ransomware group with Russian links.
Cybersecurity expert Alastair Millar said it was possible the hackers could be seeking a large financial sum or to sell the data on the dark web, as was done in a hack on Waikato District Health Board last year.
Want to read The Bulletin in full? Click here to subscribe and join over 36,000 New Zealanders who start each weekday with the biggest stories in politics, business, media and culture.