Fletcher takes a stand

POLITICAL PAIRING: Former Auckland city mayor Christine Fletcher and current councillor Paul Goldsmith are the Citizens & Ratepayers supercity election candidates for the Albert-Eden-Roskill ward.
JASON OXENHAM
POLITICAL PAIRING: Former Auckland city mayor Christine Fletcher and current councillor Paul Goldsmith are the Citizens & Ratepayers supercity election candidates for the Albert-Eden-Roskill ward.

FORMER Auckland City Council mayor Christine Fletcher is looking to resurrect her dormant political career.

Mrs Fletcher, 55, will seek election as a councillor on the centre-right Citizens & Ratepayers ticket in the Albert-Eden-Roskill ward during October's elections, alongside current Auckland city councillor Paul Goldsmith.

The former National MP for Eden and later Epsom, who was mayor from 1998 to 2001, says one of the major reasons she decided to re-enter the world of local body politics is her support of the supercity concept.

"It makes people think more strategically in a regional sense," Mrs Fletcher says.

"There are so many issues that don't recognise geographic boundaries, like transport and infrastructure."

But Mrs Fletcher knows election isn't guaranteed, with centre-left group City Vision likely to put up a strong fight.

"It reminds me very much of when I first went to Parliament.

"Eden was a combination of Mt Roskill and Mt Eden. It was a bell weather seat and I don't think things have changed."

If elected Mrs Fletcher says she wouldn't have any problems supporting her mayoral successor John Banks, who defeated her in 2001.

After Mr Banks was tipped out by voters in 2004, losing to cereal king Dick Hubbard, Mrs Fletcher acted in an advisory role to her former parliamentary colleague during the 2007 election.

"It wasn't before we had some pretty heated discussion about policy.

"When he lost to Hubbard, I think he did some very serious thinking. This term he has done extremely well as mayor."

Along with pursuing business interests since unsuccessfully contesting the Auckland city mayoralty in 2004, Mrs Fletcher has had continued involvement with a number of charitable organisations, including her role as chairwoman of the Motutapu Restoration Trust.

Mr Goldsmith says combining with Mrs Fletcher to contest the Albert-Eden-Roskill ward provides a good mix of political youth and experience.

While he lives just a few hundred metres outside the new ward, which stretches from Pt Chevalier in the west to Greenlane in the east, the Remuera resident says he has plenty of connections to the local community.

"I spent more than half my life in Mt Roskill at Waikowhai primary and intermediate schools. I know the area really well."

A newcomer to local body politics is community worker Alfred Ngaro, who will contest the single-member Tamaki-Maungakiekie ward for Citizens & Ratepayers.

Mr Ngaro believes he has a good chance of winning in the area, which is currently dominated by Labour councillors Richard Northey and Leila Boyle.

"That sort of strength is something that was there previously. People are getting a bit more savvy now."

He says former Auckland city councillor Sam Lotu-Iiga's win at the 2007 local body elections and victory in the Maungakiekie seat at the 2008 general election gives him confidence.

Meanwhile, Auckland regional councillor Michael Barnett will stand in the city-fringe Waitemata-Gulf ward and Auckland city councillor Noelene Raffills is set to stand in the Whau ward.

Citizens & Ratepayers president John Slater believes there is a good balance among the 11 candidates announced, while nine more will follow soon.

City Vision and Labour are still going through the nomination process.

Central Leader