Monday, August 31, 2009

Len Brown wants Maori in his super city

NZPA August 30, 2009, 1:30 pm

Manukau Mayor Len Brown is running for mayor of the Auckland super city council and wants Maori around the council table.

He told a crowd of about 200 supporters at One Tree Hill today he was officially running for the job.

Councillors, representatives from local iwi and South Auckland business people were at the launch to support Mr Brown.

Last week it was announced the super city would not have set Maori seats, which Mr Brown said had caused a sense of loss for local iwi.

He wanted Maori seats because "the mana whenua have an increasing business presence within our city, and we need to inspire our young Maori to excel", he said.

"I want to sit around the table with Maori and I want Maori around the table, so for me, there is a lot of work and discussions to be had."

He had decided to run because "the community has been on my back and determined that I should run".

The super city needed someone who could reach out to Auckland's diverse communities, a job he was best suited for, he said.

"I feel in my heart I have the compassion, commitment and love of the place."

Mr Brown told the crowd he would remain community focused, and that the super city would need to embrace Auckland's cultural diversity.

He would also focus on Auckland's economic growth because in 20 years he expected Auckland to have 50 percent of New Zealand's gross domestic product and 45 percent of its population.

"We need to deliver a better way forward for Auckland through strong economic growth."

Mr Brown pledge to give the entire Auckland community access to broadband internet in the next five years, have half of the city's waste taken to a green waste recycling strategy, and create stronger trade links with Asia and the Pacific.

He also wanted to replicate Manukau's free entry to swimming pools, and have a thriving cultural and arts scene.

A "21st century public transport system" with an integrated ticketing system was also on the cards if he was elected.

Mr Brown stressed he would not sell Auckland's public assets.

"We need to grow our future, not sell it ... I believe in public ownership, I will never sell the region's public assets."

He also stated the need for better education opportunities for Auckland youth.

"We need to empower young people ... we must be a centre of educational excellence."

Former Auckland mayor Dick Hubbard said with Mr Brown running there was no need for him to.

"I've always said I would not run if there is better person than me to run, and I think Len Brown fills that role ," he said.

"I strongly believe Len Brown is the man for Auckland. He's got the attributes that are needed for the first mayor of Auckland super city."

Mr Hubbard said Mr Brown had a strong sense of community, was politically centrist, and has a good , inclusive style.

"I think that he is 'we' and inclusive, whereas I think Auckland city is more about 'I'."