Candidates share their visions at public forum
The first public forum in the race for Mayor of Auckland went ahead in Pakuranga this morning.
Held by the local Grey Power Association, five of the 17 candidates attended to talk about rates, forming a seniors' advisory panel, council debt and the role of the Council Controlled Organisations.
Incumbent Len Brown, businessman John Palino, Methodist minister Uesifili Unasa, Mana Party's John Minto and activist Penny Bright were invited because they were the only firm candidates when the meeting was organised in July.
The crowd of over 100 cheered for Mr Palino's opposition to the Manukau whitewater rafting centre and booed at Ms Bright's assertion that businessmen should not be allowed anywhere near elected public positions.
Mr Brown outlined his transport plan with emphasis in starting work on the City Rail Link in three years.
Mr Palino plans to put in place a sinking lid on the number of council staff and bring council spending back to focus on core services.
Howick Pakuranga Grey Power president Arthur Moore says the event went well and each candidate clearly cared about the main issues facing older people.
''For us rates and council debt are huge issues. Interest rates are rising and a large portion of our rates bills go to just servicing debt.''
Mr Unasa gave his general support to the way the super-city has been running but wanted the role of advisory panels to be changed to make them more financially prudent and to have more impact on council decisions.
Mr Minto wants free public transport and the rates to be based on income rather than property, shifting the burden away from low and middle income people and onto high income earners and businesses.
Ms Bright says Auckland has become too business friendly and needs to focus on the people.
She denounced the ''corporate takeover'' of the city and called for the abolition of the CCOs instead referring to them as ''cash cow organisations.''
Another public debate is being held at the University or Auckland's Fisher and Paykel Appliances Auditorium on September 4 from 6pm to 7.30pm.
The event is being chaired by journalist and political commentator Rod Oram.
- (Live Matches)
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