13 Oct 2013

Transport the big issue, says Len Brown

2:05 pm on 13 October 2013

Auckland's re-elected mayor Len Brown says transport will be the issue that will dominate his second term.

Mr Brown was returned as mayor in local elections on Saturday with a 50,000 vote margin over his centre-right challenger John Palino, but won with one of the city's lowest-ever turnouts at 35%.

Len Brown.

Len Brown. Photo: RNZ

The council must decide on new charges to help pay for major transport projects, whether to build the downtown rail tunnel earlier than the Government has indicated and whether to use council-owned property and assets to help build affordable housing.

Mr Brown says much of the work on the unitary plan, the documents that outline the future shape of the region, has been done and transport is now likely to be the biggest focus.

"We now really need to I think, continue to really move forward on the city rail link, on some of our significant roading projects, get the build going on some of our busways and really get that integrated transport system going.

"Aucklanders want to see change on that front but we've got to do it in a way that's economically sustainable."

Mr Brown will lead a council with six new faces but with no major change in political direction. Two sitting Auckland councillors, Ann Hartley and Richard Northey, have been ousted and other new councillors replace those retiring.

Mr Brown told Radio New Zealand's Insight programme on Sunday that debt has been a concern for most Aucklanders, and there will be much closer management over the next three years.