Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: This is what we have to work with

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  • Russell Brown,

    The Auckland Trains blog transcribed the respective candidates' undertakings on public transport.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22758 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    And yet, despite all that, it will probably be an appeal to trust that drags Brown through.

    Up to a point, but I think Simon Wilson has a typically sharp and sceptical take on both Banks and Brown in the latest Metro (once you get past the rather queasy making cover of the terrible twosome dragged up for Fashion Week).

    Brown really has to answer this question: "If you really think the Supercity is such a load of anti-democratic shit (as opposed to cynically stroking it because it worked for you in the polls), what exactly are you going to do to make it all work?"

    And Banks really has to put some hard detail on the platitudes - to take one example, I'm not sure he's all that clear on the physical and financial limitations on the rail network. (Neither is Brown, to be entirely fair.) It all sounds very nice -- making it work is quite another.

    In a perverse way, that debate reminded me way too much of Gillard and Abbott across the ditch. They're both so scared of saying something wrong that will play badly in the media and with focus groups/polls, they end up saying... well, not much of anything at all.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Those were unimpressive, stumbling performances. I'm hoping people pay more attention in either case to what the candidates have *done* over what they say they will. I haven't followed either candidate closely, Craig, but I've heard substantive detail from Brown at least about local board arrangements and advocating for law changes for some bits of the structure that are probably too broken.

    And please everyone pay attention to the Councillors, not just the mayoral candidates - it's the team with the most votes around that table that has the biggest say. Well, other than the CCO Boards..

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19694 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Craig, but I've heard substantive detail from Brown at least about local board arrangements and advocating for law changes for some bits of the structure that are probably too broken.

    Fair enough, Sacha. But I think it's also fair comment that Brown should be expected to own his record every bit as much as Banks.

    Which is a nice segue to a very good piece of advice Simon Wilson had for Banks -- Just say "I was wrong" (about teh gayz, your errors as Mayor) about something, anything - and MEAN IT

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Curran,

    paying attention to the councilors would be nice. I'm finding it a little hard to do given the apparent dearth of information regarding them available.

    Maybe I'm looking in the wrong places.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 2 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I've heard substantive detail from Brown at least about local board arrangements and advocating for law changes for some bits of the structure that are probably too broken.

    Reports from local meetings seem to indicate that Brown routinely turns up better-briefed than Banks and able to discuss local issues, but you don't see much of that on his TV appearances.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22758 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Okay, this is interesting:

    Gordon Campbell has interviewed Brown for Werewolf.

    His responses are far more detailed and convincing than any broadcast media interview Brown has done. He would clearly benefit from doing more like this.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22758 posts Report Reply

  • Christopher Dempsey,

    Which is a nice segue to a very good piece of advice Simon Wilson had for Banks -- Just say "I was wrong" (about teh gayz, your errors as Mayor) about something, anything - and MEAN IT

    I saw that helpful tip in the Metro from Simon Wilson to Banks. I agree. Banks would do well to front up and say that he was wrong about the gays.

    Wearing my private hat: I had the opportunity to directly address Judge Mick Brown at a function about his inappropriate and very hurtful comments about gays/lesbians in a letter he wrote (which became public) at the time of the Civil Union bill was being debated in Parliament.

    Judge Brown apologised to me and indicated that he felt very bad about doing it. I told him off in no uncertain terms and despite his pleadings to old age, to being a fuddy duddy, which I ignored, he *heard* me.

    Swapping private hat for elected rep hat:

    Banks has NEVER once taken the opportunity (and there have been plenty) to tell me to my face that he was wrong about the gays and apologise. Partly because politics plays a part (I'm part of the 'wrong group' so I'm ignored), and partly because I don't think he actually understands how hurtful and cruel his commentary has been to a number of GLBT people.

    Doffing said elected rep hat and switch back to private citizen.

    Parnell / Tamaki-Auckland… • Since Sep 2008 • 659 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    His responses are far more detailed and convincing than any broadcast media interview Brown has done. He would clearly benefit from doing more like this.

    Indeed -- looks like both Banks and Brown should be facing some direct and pointed questions about their enthusiasm for PPP's. I'm not ideologically opposed to public-private partnerships, but I also try to avoid the magical thinking on the other extreme. Any PPP entered into by Greater Auckland needs to be very carefully designed and monitored, and I'd like to know exactly how both candidates think they could do that, and how their previous form stands up to a sniff test.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    I sat down to watch the "Debate" last night but after a short time I decided I had bigger things on my plate, in this case it was a rather nice piece of Gurnard and some cauliflower Cheese.
    Looking and listening to John Banks reminded me of a stoner going on about how he would spend a Lotto win. "We're going to buy a new train set and make Brittomart work like a real train station and buy lots of really neat stuff, it's going to be great" The truth, however, will be slightly different "When we sobered up we found out that we didn't actually win Lotto"
    This tactic will work on the numb of mind as it did for National in the National elections, promise the Earth and when you've won, not deliver.
    After all, it was about winning, not keeping promises.
    As soon as Brown mentioned the rail link to Albany I thought "Oh, so you think you're going to win instant Kiwi too?"

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Eade,

    Auckland has two major scandals as far as I can see having lived here most of my life.

    1)Transport
    2) Decades of surburban poverty in South Auckland and other smaller western suburbs.

    auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 1112 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    As soon as Brown mentioned the rail link to Albany I thought "Oh, so you think you're going to win instant Kiwi too?"

    Ah yes, my partner (who has worked in rail for 46 years) is prone to snarking that if Joan Didion hadn't gotten in first 'The Year(s) of Magical Thinking' would be a perfect title for a book about politicians playing with their imaginary train sets. Pity the poor bastards and bitches who have to bring the blue skies down to earth, and get no thanks for their troubles. :)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Roger,

    I'm not ideologically opposed to public-private partnerships, but I'd sure like to know what kind of safeguards and controls Greater Auckland would have in place

    PPP arrangements certainly have their place, but there needs to be a better debate around what these are and how they apply:

    1. The 'public sector' does not want to take on the risk. In some cases this may be valid (a convention centre?), where if the project failed or became a white elephant it could be simply demolished. This clearly does not apply to basic city infrastructure, where if the private operator fails, the public sector just has to step in and pick up the project and its liabilities... as has happened in Australia a few times.

    2. The private sector can deliver operating efficiencies and therefore a cheaper project. In NZ the public sector is far more experienced and skilled at managing basic infrastructure and it is hard to see that the private sector could do any better. In any event all of the construction and maintenance (roads and pipes etc) is done by private sector contract these days.

    3. The 'public sector' can't take on more debt. In NZ at the moment it is the private sector that has a debt problem, not the public sector. In almost all cases the cost of debt would be cheaper to the public sector.

    We need to be careful that we do not pursue a PPP agenda on a mantra of 'private management-good, public management-bad', and in the process use more expensive money and pointlessly try and trade out of unavoidable risk.

    Hamilton • Since Jun 2007 • 179 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Decades of surburban poverty in South Auckland and other smaller western suburbs.

    The Royal Commission addressed that by proposing a powerful local-central government partnership on social issues and pooled public funding. Naturally it was watered down by this Nact government into a quiet "Social Policy Forum". Ask candidates about that one.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19694 posts Report Reply

  • Roger,

    "We're going to buy a new train set and make Brittomart work like a real train station and buy lots of really neat stuff, it's going to be great" ... As soon as Brown mentioned the rail link to Albany I thought "Oh, so you think you're going to win instant Kiwi too?"

    Both Brisbane and Sydney built rail to their airports in recent times as PPPs, and both ran into financial trouble, leading (so I understand and correct me if I am wrong) to the state governments having to bail them out. If those two cities can't make an airport rail link work, we should at least be asking why before we blindly follow.

    As for rail to Albany... there is a nice new busway, noweher near capacity, except for inadequate parking at stations... let us concentrate on making that work first!

    Hamilton • Since Jun 2007 • 179 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    As for rail to Albany... there is a nice new busway, noweher near capacity, except for inadequate parking at stations... let us concentrate on making that work first!

    Perhaps I'm biased -- literally living across the road from the Constellation Drive station -- but it seems to be working pretty well which may explain why ARTA increased the frequency of Northern Express services.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    as has happened in Australia a few times.

    And the UK. Horror stories about PPP-built hospitals are numerous.

    And Scotland has it's own version of the bridge to nowhere in the shape of the isle of skye-mainland link. The locals are ecstatic about having to pay roughly five times as much to cross, as they did when it was the government's responsibility.

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2728 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    It's been 21 years since I lived in Akl, are Banks and Brown the only likely winners? I just saw that Simon Prast is a candidate, his website's here. Prast always seemed a very sensible and progressive bloke to me, isn't he a chance? The fact that he's looking beyond the RWC alone is positive.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Prast always seemed a very sensible and progressive bloke to me, isn't he a chance

    No. He's delusional.

    And also the lowest polling candidate in the field.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22758 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    Oh well then... why's he delusional particularly? More so that Banks?

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Was never going to be room for more than two viable candidates, given the politics.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19694 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Eade,

    In NZ at the moment it is the private sector that has a debt problem, not the public sector

    This is the problem of today. The private sector is in debt. Jobs have to come from state stimulation because private debt clearance will be sadly slow and argueably hasn't even been fully realised.What will come out next week?

    auckland • Since Mar 2008 • 1112 posts Report Reply

  • recordari,

    Prast always seemed a very sensible and progressive bloke to me, isn't he a chance.

    No. He's delusional.

    In spite of all the free publicity he has garnered from bFM (and I think I caught him on George also?) over the past few weeks.

    No offence to those concerned, but regular guest appearances on bFM drive wasn't necessarily going to win votes and influence people. Just sayin'.

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    Was never going to be room for more than two viable candidates, given the politics.

    What's interesting is that they're both so clearly aligned with the major political parties. The Lord Mayor of Sydney, broadly equivalent I believe, is an independent, Clover Moore. Her predecessor, Lucy Turnbull (wife of Malcolm) was an independent also (though clearly with Liberal support).

    FWIW, I'd be happy enough (from Sydney) for Len Brown to win not least of all because I grew up in Manukau, my grandfather is a former deputy mayor of Manukau and I went to the same school as Brown (plus I'm a freshly (re)minted member of Labour)... I'm just wondering why an independent can't win?

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    the reneger in the woodpile...
    Perhaps Rodney Hide will suddenly decide that as no one really viable candidate has emerged, he will, selflessly, take the role himself...
    ...and Aucklanders dismissed the E-Can semi-putsch!

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7893 posts Report Reply

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