About Waitematā & Gulf What is the Waitematā & Gulf Ward?
The Waitematā & Gulf Ward is the Auckland Council electoral area that covers the heart of Auckland. It includes the CBD, surrounding central suburbs, and our many amazing islands in the Hauraki Gulf such as Waiheke, Rangitoto, and Great Barrier.
The Waitemata Local Board, Waiheke Local Board, and Great Barrier Local Board areas all form part of the Waitematā & Gulf Ward.
As Councillor or Local Board member, my goal is to ensure that everyone in my ward gets a voice. For too long we have had lifetime politicians doing things certain ways because “that’s how they’ve always been done”. We’ve got too much political infighting to actually be able to run the city effectively.
Our Council is too busy suing itself to think about how stupid some of the ideas they come up with are: giant concrete structures in our harbour, 1.8m sewer tunnels under our houses and unstable cliffs, and death-trap cycleways that are invisible to cars. That’s before we even get started on budget blow-outs and dodgy deals!
Only you can end the insanity at Auckland Council. Please vote for me for both Waitematā & Gulf Councillor and the Waitematā Local Board. If elected to both, I will become your Councillor and my local board seat would be given to the next highest ranking candidate.
About Will Maxwell-SteeleWho are you? Why should I vote for you?
I’ll be honest with you. Six months ago, running in a local body election was the last thing on my mind. But, I consider myself a “fixer” of sorts. I’ve been a self-employed contractor most of my life, with the majority of my early career being in telecommunications. A few years ago, I joined our family property investment and development business and found out just how broken Auckland’s local government really is.
The first glimpse of this was a commercial project of ours. The Council hired a fire engineer to sign off work, who ran a competing fire engineering business, based in Christchurch, and only came to Auckland one day a month! The manager’s reply when I questioned this… “I know it’s a conflict, but what can you do?” How about… hire some of Auckland’s many talented fire engineers on a full-time basis, and get rid of some of your more pointless staff!
The disconnect between Council divisions is striking. This is most readily apparent in the fact Panuku Development Auckland, the Council’s wholly owned property investment arm, has to sue their parent to try and get what they want. Anyone who has been through a construction project knows that the rules you have to follow in your resource consent never match the ones you have to follow in your building consent.
There is no such thing as logic, common sense, or reason at Auckland Council any more. There’s just incompetence and waste. Check out some of my priorities for Auckland below.
Priorities for a Better Auckland
Better Housing – Quicker and Cheaper
We need to streamline the consenting process for developments by giving applicants a single point of contact for both resource and building consents, and ensure the departments within Council work together to get applications get reviewed within the statutory time frame – ultimately making our houses cheaper and getting families in to new warm and dry homes quicker.
Preventing Waste of Ratepayers’ Money
No Constant Rate Increases – Using Money Better
Phil Goff is campaigning for another term as Mayor of Auckland with the promise of bigger rates increases – like that’s a good thing. How about we instead get rid of the waste at Auckland Council. The St Marys Bay “sewer tunnel” has already cost $4 million+ and no work has been done. The Queens Wharf “dolphins” haven’t even started yet and already their cost has blown out to almost $17 million. The City Rail Link is at least a billion dollars over budget. We deserve better fiscal management.
Putting a stop to Poverty and Homelessness
Housing our Homeless and a Living Wage
While we have a pretty good social welfare system, that’s not stopping our homelessness problem in Auckland. We need strong Council driven initiatives to ensure every Aucklander is warm and dry at night. This includes our less poverty-struck citizens earning a “living wage” – though it is more than just increasing salaries. We need to ensure all products and services are in line with global standards in terms of both price and quality. This must start from the top. Council needs to make its services more accessible at a lower cost.
Safer Transport Options
Making Auckland’s Roads Safer for Everyone
The Franklin Road cycleway is a shining example of just how absurd the “cycle first” strategy is. Any driver coming out of one of the many side streets must pull in to the cycle lane before they can see a cyclist – who will likely be coming down the hill at speed. As a cyclist, Franklin Road gets you nowhere other than to an early demise – it’s not (yet) linked to any other cycleway and is incredibly dangerous. We need better thinking on cycleways to keep our cyclists, drivers, and pedestrians safe – and to stop wasting ratepayers’ money.
Thinking Smarter About Trains, Trams, and Busses
Improving Public Transport – Getting You Around Faster
End the Victoria Park Pause
The “Victoria Park Pause” can sometimes be greater than 20 minutes – making anyone in Ponsonby/Freemans Bay/Herne Bay/St Marys Bay despise taking the bus to the city.
Lessons from the past
Did you know that in the United States, the Central Pacific Railroad was built at a cost of around $6.6 million per kilometre in today’s money, and on one day they built more than 10 miles (16km) of track. They started construction around 18 months after they even came up with the idea. That was in the 1860s! Here in Auckland some 150 years later, we spent almost 5 years on consultations and reviews for the City Rail Link before work even began, and somehow we miscalculated the budget to the tune of over a billion dollars. We’re now at almost $1.3 billion per kilometre – or 195 times more expensive than the Central Pacific despite all of our technological advances in the last 15 decades.
Easier access to the airport from Waitematā
We don’t need to spend billions on an airport tram. Let’s immediately get express trains out to Puhinui Station with a free airport bus connection, while building the $600m – $700m “above-road” solution recently proposed by The Board. This is a practical solution which not only saves money, but also avoids the traffic issues that an on-road tram system would be affected by.
In the meantime, there’s supposedly a $60m upgrade of Puhinui Station due to start in October, but there is no reason non-stop (or one-stop) express trains can’t start now.