31 Aug 2009

Brown in Auckland super-city mayoralty race

11:32 am on 31 August 2009

Manukau City mayor Len Brown has announced he will stand for the job of Auckland super-city mayor.

On the summit of One Tree Hill on Sunday afternoon, local iwi gave Len Brown's candidacy their blessing with a karakia.

Mr Brown told supporters Auckland is poised at a historic moment and it's time for someone to step up to bring the area's communities together.

Mr Brown says a decision regarding Maori seats on the new super-city council is far from a done deal and he'll be campaigning on the basis that he supports the seats.

That's despite the government deciding last week the council will not include specific Maori seats.

Mr Brown says there's still discussion to be had and the select committee is yet to table its recommendations.

He says even if the Government won't budge there will still be opportunity to discuss the issue during the new council's triennial review.

Earlier, on TVNZ's Q+A programme, he criticised Cabinet's decision not to include dedicated Maori seats in the council as a missed opportunity to ensure the community is brought together under the super-city.

"Maori have a special and significant place in Auckland as they do have in New Zealand, recognised though our commitment to the Treaty of Waitangi, it's recognised through statute, it's recognised through our seats in Parliament," he said.

When asked if the Labour Party had pushed him to stand, Len Brown said he has support from across the political spectrum.

Auckland city mayor response

Auckland city's mayor John Banks has welcomed Mr Brown to the super-city mayoral race saying his inclusion ensures democracy.

Mr Banks says there's a distinct point of difference between Mr Brown and himself.

He says Manukau's mayor is worried about separate Maori seats while he's more concerned about rates.

Mr Banks says he expects many more candidates to enter the race before the election in October next year.

Mr Brown said John Banks would be a strong opponent for the role, though he said he was focussing his campaign on transport, economic growth and tourism, rather than who he is standing against.

In a UMR poll of 482 people last month, Mr Brown gained 35% support compared to 34% for Mr Banks.