No limit to transparency and accountability

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No limit to transparency-John Banks.jpgIn less than two months our city will go to the polls.

I am sure you have seen the signage all across our region promoting candidates for local boards, the new Council and of course the Mayoralty.

It is an exciting time if you are interested in politics. Some people may not like the sight of these billboards and promises on every corner.

I can understand.

But you can expect a lot of promises to be made between now and October 9.

The unfortunate thing is many of those promises will never see the light of day.

Aspiring politicians are very good at making grand promises, but most of them forget that whatever they promise has to be paid for by you, the ratepayer.

I know there is not much cash around now. No one I have met over the past 18 months since I began my campaign has told me they have spare cash saved for politicians to spend.

I have always been very careful about the quality of spending by organisations I have led. I am also very strong on transparency and accountability without limits.

Manukau City Mayor Len Brown recently told the New Zealand Herald, “I will always front up. I will give you the straight answers, always with a limit.”

That is not good enough. To me there are no limits.

No free lunch

It is your hard earned cash that goes into paying for rates and there is no place for someone to use it to buy their lunch and coffee every day, whether it is the Mayor, Chief Executive or a long-serving Councillor.

I have been in public office for 36 years as a Borough Councillor, Regional Councillor, Member of Parliament, Minister of Local Government, Police, Tourism, Sport and twice the Mayor of Auckland. In all that time, I have never had a credit card paid by the taxpayer or ratepayer.

In my two terms as Mayor, I have claimed only $430.

If I am given the role of Mayor for this greater Auckland region, I will ensure that your money is well spent. You will get to see exactly how and by whom it has been used.

If there is nothing wrong and nothing out of the ordinary that those representing this great region should welcome accountability.

An Accounting Register

I will introduce a Mayor and Chairs Register similar to that used in Parliament, so that conflicts of interest, if any, are known.

I will require all expense claims made by those elected representatives to be published online every quarter for things such as meals, entertainment, fuel costs and overseas travel. I will introduce a policy of posting all Local Government Official Information and Meetings requests online, so you can get all the details that the media do.

I also want to look at webcasting full Council meetings, so you can watch the decision-making as it happens.

I want this new Auckland Council to be open and honest with you the ratepayers.

The new Council must build trust and confidence that it is acting in the best interests of the people it serves.

If an expense is not able to withstand public scrutiny, then it should not be claimed.

That has to start at the top.

We need strong leadership and the Mayor of this great city must lead by example.

I am the only candidate that has done this in the past and who will do it in the future. That is my promise to you and it is one I will keep.

John Banks is currently the Mayor of Auckland City and a candidate in the forthcoming Mayoral election for Auckland Super City. The above article is exclusive to Indian Newslink ©

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