Three Waters Reform must go say Mayoral Candidates in Auckland

FSIANZ and Indian Newslink Debate raises crucial questions

Mayoral Candidates Craig Lord, Efeso Collins, Gary Brown, Viv Beck

Venkat Raman
Auckland, September 11, 2022

Almost all Mayoral candidates who attended a Mayoral debate yesterday (Saturday, September 10, 2022) believe that the Three Waters Reforms must be scrapped as it shakes the foundations of democracy and is not the right solution to any problem.

Efeso Collins however would not go as far as repealing the Three Waters Reform Bill but would like further consultation of the challenges and issues involved.

Mayoral Candidates John Lehmann, Mike Kampkes, Dr Michael Morris

Seven candidates (out of 23) contesting for the Auckland Mayoralty participated in the debate organised by the Federation of South Indian Associations New Zealand (FSIANZ), A charitable organisation and Indian Newslink at St John’s Presbyterian Church located at 422 Mt Albert Road in Mt Roskill. Contestants for the post of Councillor and various positions in Local Boards were also present. They were later introduced to the assembly.

Among the Mayoral candidates were Craig Lord, Efeso Collins, Gary Brown, John Lehmann, Michael Kampkes, Michael Morris and Viv Beck.

All of them except Mr Collins said that the Three Waters Reform is against the principles of democracy and that the Bill is an unnecessary distraction.

However, Mr Morris took a neutral stand since he sees points in favour and points against the proposal.

About the Three Waters Reform Bill

Known as the Water Services Entities Bill, the draft legislation is currently with the Select Committee of Parliament, having completed the First Reading in the Debating Chamber.

The Three Waters cover Drinking Water, Wastewater and Stormwater services.

The Labour government has said that improving our ageing water infrastructure is about ensuring all New Zealanders have safe, affordable and reliable drinking, waste, and stormwater services – now and in the future.

“Many wastewater facilities in New Zealand are operating under expired consents, many drinking water supplies do not meet safety standards, and stormwater systems are struggling to cope. Addressing these issues is essential for the health and wellbeing of our communities and our environment and we need infrastructure that can meet the demands of urban growth and climate change. We need to create structural changes that will enable the significant investment required in ageing water pipes and treatment plants across the country that is out-of-the-reach of individual councils alone,” according to an Internal Affairs Ministry Statement.

Auckland Councillor Candidates Christine Fletcher, Will McKenzie, Julie Fairey and Redelond (Red) Tsounga

Retailers’ Safety

The continuing ramraids on retail stores and the threats to dairies, superettes and small-business owners were a source of concern to the Mayoral candidates but the approach to the problem was the point of difference among them.

Mr Lord said that the ‘Auckland Council is not a security firm’ and hence should not be involved directly with the problem.

“Auckland is in dire straits right now, and we desperately need solutions to the problems. We need to have a voice and remain in dialogue with Wellington, but our fundamental assignment is providing core services to keep the city functioning, not supplying individual businesses with security measures. I will not utilise ratepayer funds as a personal slush fund for projects outside our responsibilities,” he said.

Albert-Eden-Puketapapa (C&R): Roseanne Hay, Tili Leilua, Fiona Lai, Mark Pervan, Ella Kumar, Neil Punja

According to Mr Lord, the Council can provide technical assistance to any business that wishes to install exterior security.

“For example, the installation of bollards requires an analysis of the substructure to ensure that underground services are not at risk. We can aid that process,” he said.

Climate Change 

Mr Collins has taken Climate Change as of of the election issues, saying that he will introduce fares-free public transport to incentivise people to switch from private motor vehicles to public transport, reduce cost barriers to the use of public transport, and support meeting the goal of reducing transport-related emissions by 64% by 2030.

This policy will be funded through redistributing existing council budgets as well as utilising subsidies from the central government and Waka Kotahi.

“But my plan does not intend to delay or halt existing planned roading projects or impinge on health and safety roading upgrades,” he said.

Whau (C&R): Ravi Nyayapati, Sandy Taylor and Anne Degia-Pala

Infrastructure development

Gary Brown is concerned about Auckland’s finances, infrastructure, social issues and governance. “When a good business gets its foundations right first, growth is inevitable,” he said.

“By focusing on better governance at the Local Board level, progress in your area should be faster, more efficient, and more economical. By focusing on our financial future, we can objectively look at the shortfalls, make plans to recover our losses and look at the opportunities to grow revenue while still moving forward to create a better Auckland for everyone. By focusing on our people and creating space for open conversation and collaboration, we can reunite what feels like a somewhat fractured city, again. It just makes sense,” he said.

More Deputy Mayors, greater accountability

John Lehmann, a butcher-turned-property manager-turned-novelty manufacturer would like to see a Deputy Mayor in every ward to improve efficiency.

“I remember what Auckland was and I see for what it has become. We have seen a decline in the way the City is run: Out-of-control spending, over-zealous bureaucrats telling us what we can and cannot do with our property and the over-inflated charges (rates, permits, development consents, dog permits) have been strangling us,” he said.

Mr Lehmann said that the people who are running Auckland, waste money and keep borrowing, using people like us to underwrite loans. Had the Auckland Council been in the private sector, it would have been facing charges for reckless trading, he said.

Henderson-Massey (Labour): Gurdeep Talwar, Papakura (Independent) Kritika Selach, Puketapapa (City Vision), Jon Turner and Whau (Labour): Aadil Basha

Enhancing democratic values

Michael Kampkes said that the Auckland City Council needs better management of resources and people and to become more accountable.

“My policies are about quality over quantity, what is sensible over wasteful and what is right for the environment so we deliver hope to our children and future generations. By truly listening and engaging with the community we will enhance the democratic process and Auckland will chart a course into the future based on the will of the people living in its suburbs,” he said.

Mr Kampkes said that if elected as the next Mayor of Auckland, he will reorganise the Council Controlled Organisations and improve the integrity of the process and enfranchisement of Aucklanders and explain to them policies that programmes with cost-effective solutions.

Promoting animal welfare

Dr Michael Morris, an advocate for Animal Justice, said that he was motivated to stand as Mayor because no other candidate was giving a voice to animals. Environmental degradation is another of my motivations.

“Animal abuse, environmental degradation and human marginalisation are linked. Research has shown that humans, animals and the planet all fare better under a more equal economic system. A low-emissions, plant-based economy would assist in all these objectives. It has been known for at least 20 years that a plant-based diet is better for health,” he said.

Mark Pervan, Christine Fletcher and Will McKenzie

Crime and Safety Summit

Viv Beck has made safety and security as a central issue of her campaign.

Stating that Aucklanders have the right to live in a safer environment, she deplored the rising violence and ramraids in the City.

Ms Beck said that she will develop more effective central agency relationships.

“To address this serious issue, an Auckland Crime and Safety Summit will be held within the first 90 days of the new electoral term to confirm the structure for a Mayoral Action on Safety Taskforce. The four-step plan outlined below will be considered in formulating the Action Plan the Taskforce will oversee,” she said.

Ms Beck said that she will recommend increased police resourcing in Auckland based on population and local police stations or ‘beat bases’ where required.

“I will work to improve collaboration between THE Police, Council, Central Government and community organisations to deliver better wrap-around services to those who need it, improve the management of emergency housing, and ensure effective programmes for youth. I will also increase Auckland’s allocation of mental health and addiction services,” she said.

Dr Reginald Samuel, Vai Ravindran, Aadil Basha, Narender Reddy Patlola, Indra Sirigiri and Ravi Nyayapati

The event provided an opportunity for Candidates contesting the post of Councillors and Members of various Local Boards and Licencing Trusts.

Indian Newslink has invited them to promote their campaigns with editorial copy (published free of cost) and their advertisements (at special, time-bound rates).

An opportunity to meet and greet (A section of our guests)

The following candidates were introduced:

Councillor Candidates:
Albert-Eden-Puketapapa Ward: Julie Fairey (Current Chair) and Redelond (Red) Tsounga on behalf of City Vision.
Albert-Eden-Puketapapa (C&R): Christine Fletcher, Will McKenzie
Local Board Candidates:
Puketāpapa (C&R): Roseanne Hay, Tili Leilua, Fiona Lai, Mark Pervan, Ella Kumar, Neil Punja
Puketāpapa (City Vision): Jon Turner
Albert-Eden (City Vision): Christina Robertson, Chrystal Thompson
Albert-Eden-Puketapapa Ward (City Vision): Julie Fairey (Current Chair of Puketāpapa Local Board) and Redelond (Red) Tsounga.
Albert-Eden-Puketapapa Ward (C&R): Christine Fletcher, Will McKenzie
Henderson-Massey (Labour): Gurdeep Talwar
Whau (C&R): Ravi Nyayapati, Sandy Taylor and  Anne Degia-Pala
Whau (Labour): Aadil Basha
Albert-Eden-Puketapapa (C&R): Roseanne Hay, Tili Leilua, Fiona Lai, Mark Pervan, Ella Kumar, Neil Punja

FSIANZ President Dr Reginald Samuel welcomed the gathering and General Secretary Narender Reddy Patlola proposed a vote of thanks. Vice-President Vai Ravindran introduced the Councillor and Local Board Candidates. Auckland Tamil Association hosted Tea for all guests.

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