14 Oct 2019

How much support will Phil Goff get from his new council?

10:20 am on 14 October 2019

As Phil Goff prepares for another three years as the mayor of Auckland the level of support he will have in the council is still unknown.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff

Just how much support the returning Auckland Mayor will get from his new council is yet to be determined. Photo: RNZ / Dan Cook

With special votes still to be counted some provisional results could yet be overturned.

Staunch Goff opponent Mike Lee appears to be out and there will be at least two if not four new councillors taking up seats in the Auckland Town Hall.

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Penny Hulse Photo: RNZ / Todd Niall

At 32 years of age, Shane Henderson becomes the youngest Auckland councillor, replacing the outgoing Penny Hulse in Waitakere.

And Angela Dalton comes in on a centre-right ticket in Manurewa-Papakura alongside Daniel Newman.

Tracy Mulholland looks set to unseat Ross Clow in Whau, and Pippa Coom is on track to beat the council stalwart Mike Lee in the Waitemata-Gulf ward.

But with the special votes yet to be counted, it's too close to call definitively.

Pippa Coom, who's been on the Waitemata Local Board for the last nine years, is tentatively confident she's done enough to defeat Mike Lee, who was first elected to the Auckland Regional Council in 1992.

"It still feels a little bit in the balance. I mean, I think we've got it so I'm going to start the week as the councillor," she said.

"It would have been nice to have a bit of a more comfortable majority but it has been quite a hard-fought race so this is a really good result."

Ms Coom is ahead of Mr Lee by just 150 votes with 650 special votes still to be checked.

Mike Lee is one of Mr Goff's most vocal opponents, one of the so-called "B team" of Auckland councillors - nine councillors who penned a letter of no confidence to the mayor last year.

Whau Local Board Chair Tracy Mulholland

Tracy Mulholland Photo: RNZ / Eva Corlett

In the Whau ward, newcomer Tracy Mulholland is beating Ross Clow by 166 votes with just 550 specials still to be checked.

Like all the newcomers RNZ spoke to, she was keen to do away with the A team, B team divide which seems to have hindered the Goff-led council in its first term.

"I would like to think that we just all work together and I believe that will happen," she said.

"So far I've had calls from a number of different councillors. And I believe that our way of working is as a united front for our Aucklanders and for the whole of the community."

The centre-right politician Angela Dalton also sees the A, B team dichotomy as divisive - but she nonetheless sees herself more aligned with those who signed the letter of no confidence in Goff.

"I don't agree with the regional fuel tax, I support a complete review of the council-controlled organisations (CCO), I support challenging the bureaucracy," she said.

"There are many councillors that take advise from the bureaucracy - which is the right thing to do - but align immediately without too much debate or investigation. I think that there needs to be more transparency.

"So those things are more aligned to the B team, but ... I think the construct of an A team and a B team is really divisive and unhelpful."

In the Waitakere ward vacated by Penny Hulse, Phil Goff again has an ally in 32-year-old Shane Henderson, who was at the returning mayor's election party on Saturday.

"My politics are generally progressive - believing in things like equality of opportunity and environmental focuses - things like walking, cycling, public transport. All that kind of stuff," he said.

Definite results for the Whau and Waitakere-Gulf wards should be through by Thursday.

Mr Goff told Morning Report the latest figures came through last night and his votes were now "176,000 and 49 percent of the vote ... nearly a 97,000 majority so that is a mandate".

He said he would've loved to see a better voter turn out at the elections.

He hoped to would be able to work collegially with his new council.

"Two of them are very strong supporters [of mine], the other two I know well, and I get along with both of them and I respect all four of the new members. I think they'll all be good councillors."

He said he wanted a review of the council controlled organisations system.

"It's about making CCOs understand they are public bodies. They are financed by the ratepayer and taxpayer, and they're not their own separate fiefdoms. They need to be part of the group. We can't afford duplication and waste," he said.

"Performance bonuses I see have crept into some of the CCOs - I simply don't agree with that."

In terms of housing and infrastructure, he said he was pleased with last year's performance.

"We've got a record building consents - 14,345 - that's four times where it was seven years ago. So, we are now starting to build to meet the growing demand in our city.

"Obviously the vulnerable and the homeless are the key areas of concern. We do need more social housing. We've lobbied government and they've made a commitment of another 3500 state houses in the city.

"Through Housing First, our homelessness network group, we housed over 1000 people in the last three years."

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