At meeting with David Seymour, Wayne Brown calls for governmental legislative changes in Auckland

2:13 pm on 1 December 2023
David Seymour and Wayne Brown at a joint public meeting in Remuera.

David Seymour and Wayne Brown at a joint public meeting in Remuera. Photo: RNZ / Finn Blackwell

Auckland's mayor says the city needs central government to made key legislative changes in order to get the city functioning better.

Wayne Brown made the comments at a joint public meeting in Remuera hosted by ACT leader David Seymour.

Brown made his case to the audience of how his vision for the city would work. But he said it could only be successful with the help of law changes by the government.

"Wellington set up Auckland Council so stupidly some years ago," he said.

"We've just done a poll recently that shows that two thirds of the people here would like us to have more control over them so we can stop some of that stuff."

One of the rule changes he proposed was to make it easier to convert empty office buildings, which he said were under-utilised, into accommodation.

"Why can't we get some rules that allow these things to happen," he said.

"It would be really good for Auckland if more people moved into the city."

"We've got libraries that are under-used, we've got art galleries that are under-used, we've got so many things that are under used in there, and I want more people into the city," said the mayor.

The mayor had came prepared with a full list of what he wanted to achieve for the city.

"Parking fines, we want to be able to do that, time of use charging, we want to be able to do that, bed tax, we want to be able to do that, temporary traffic management rules, we want to change those, safety rules, we want to change those, and seismic rules we want to biff those out," he said.

"There's probably others as well, but there's a good start for you."

Brown also expressed the difficulty of dealing with councillors, saying while Seymour and new Prime Minister Christopher Luxon had to deal with a coalition of three, he has a coalition of 21.

"The prime minister thinks he's got a pit of a difficult job with three parties, I've got 21 parties in my room, and they don't agree on anything," he said.

Talking about his upcoming 10-year budget, which Brown called a hideous process, he said his proposal was about making better use of the councils main two assets, the port and Auckland Airport.

The council had a difficult battle earlier in the year setting out it's annual budget to plug the groups a $325 million deficit.

Speaking after the event, Brown said he wanted the public to hear his proposal for the council's 10-year budget before councillors debated it.

"All I want next week is to be allowed to take that to the public," he said.

"I don't want councillors to use their own views to prevent the public from hearing what I've got to say."

"If the public don't like it, we'll hear that, but I don't want the council to say we're not going to hear things; that's not democratic."

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