Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Mayor Goff Doesn't Need BFF's Like These

Labour are promising to co-fund light rail from the Auckland CBD out to Mt Roskill. Others will debate the merits or otherwise of that investment. But, at the moment, Phil Goff does not need that kind of distraction. 

As the new Mayor of Auckland, Goff's feet are barely under the table and he is now facing the unenviable task of getting his head around the task ahead. The Auckland Mayor has the statutory responsibility to "lead" the budget process. Hard though it is to believe, the 2017-18 budget is likely already well on the way to being drafted. Goff will get some chances to do some nudging if he already has clear thoughts already on where the budget should go. And he doesn't have long to do it.

Remember that the budget still has to go to the full Council and then to the public before it gets finalised by the full Council in June next year. The realities of the process of pulling together such a massive budget (probably 1,000's of spreadsheet pages) mean that Goff has only a couple of months to put up any significant changes to what was signalled in last year's Ten Year Plan. And then he has has to start the political process of getting a majority of councillors to support his plan.

While it's lovely that Goff's former colleagues (isn't six weeks a long time?) are willing to promise him lots of taxpayer money, Goff also has councillors such as Cr Quax pushing hard for a massive release of new building sites to lower the price of houses in the city. Realistically, that can only happen if new transport links are built around the outer suburbs as a matter of priority.

So, Goff has some serious work to do to get his head around these issues and, then, take a position on the best priorities for the city. The last thing he needs is his old friends blowing the vuvuzela in his ear.

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