Politicians prepare for election battles

01:17, May 26 2010

Auckland Regional Council chairman Mike Lee is vowing to help Waiheke as he and other local government politicians prepare for supercity elections this October.

Longtime island resident Mr Lee is expected to stand as an independent candidate for the supercity’s new Waitamata and Gulf ward, in which Waiheke sits.

It is likely he will be backed by the left-wing City Vision group and will be facing one of two possible Citizen and Ratepayers (C&R) candidates now that Michael Barnett has decided to stand down.

C&R has yet to make a decision whether it will be Greg Moyle or Ken Baguley – both are current Auckland City councillors.

Meanwhile, Mr Lee says he will be standing on his record and his own programme. “If endorsed by City Vision, I will be campaigning in the city part of the ward with City Vision local board candidates, and in the Gulf with Denise Roche on Waiheke and like-minded independents on Great Barrier.”

Mr Lee says he will also be working closely with independent and centre-left candidates across the region, including mayoral candidate Len Brown.

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He says their mission will be to stop a C&R/Auckland City takeover of the region and work for maximum independence for communities such as Waiheke.

“The supercity certainly has its shortcomings but it does provide a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Waiheke to break the vice-like oppressive grip of C&R and Auckland City bureaucrats over our island.”

Mr Lee believes he and others on the island should start working to create a broad non-partisan approach to a programme of action for Waiheke in the supercity.

He says islanders need to take control back of their infrastructure - wharves, roads, and waste stream.

Mr Lee says there should also be guaranteed protection in perpetuity of the island’s private infrastructure - the water tanks and septic tanks.

“These are fundamental to Waiheke’s independent island lifestyle.”

At a recent ceremony arranged by islanders to present Auckland City with this year’s Rogers’ Accomplice Award for its actions over the waste contract, Mr Lee was blunt.

He warned city bureaucrats they would get a “very sharp lesson very, very soon”. He said everyone was going into unknown territory and islanders had a good chance of taking back control.

“When we think of the supercity, let’s not think of ourselves as victims being swept along.

“We can take the power back, and we will take the power back.”

He said Waiheke was in a good position to pull back a lot of powers because the new Auckland Council itself would be concentrating on clawing back control - from CCOs.

“Folks, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.”

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