Current Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown ran as an independent candidate and won the election for appointment of mayoralty in October 2022. Described as “centre-right” by news publications such as 1 News and RNZ, the self-described ‘anti-establishment’ businessman campaigned on a platform of slimlining council staff roles, reducing rates and replacing all council entity directors. Just hours after Wayne Brown won the role of mayor, the now-former head of Auckland Transport resigned. Brown stood in opposition to the previous Auckland Council’s transport plans, from cycleway expansion to the light rail network which is currently under construction.
Regarding climate change, Stuff reported that Brown “does not feel strongly that action to prevent further climate change is a priority, but is interested in responding to how the city would deal with its effects.” The Auckland floods that have occurred in January 2023 have made evident that leadership based on businessmanship cannot deliver for the population. Brown not only fumbled his responsibilities by delaying a state of emergency declaration in the region, but outright neglected his role to go play tennis during the crisis. Fortifying Auckland against the accelerated frequency of extreme weather events due to climate change is a priority for saving lives. Delaying it is dangerous and irresponsible.
He deems himself a fixer of organisations and treats public service roles, such as mayoralty, as business roles. This is based on the principle that ‘good business practice’, such as turning a profit on public organisations, equals good services from council-controlled agencies for the population they serve. And yet austerity measures time and time again have proven to not deliver to the welfare needs of populations, especially in times of crisis.
Brown previously held the role of Far North Mayor prior to the Auckland supercity restructure. During this time an Auditor-General report found that Brown had not adequately separated his private business with that of his Council role; During this period he was engaged in dispute with the Far North Council over several properties he had developed whilst being Mayor, ordering members of Council staff to intervene in this dispute on behalf of him personally, as reported by Newsroom in August 2022.
It is clear that Wayne Brown does not have the interests of all Aucklanders in mind, but rather acts as a ventriloquist using the council in a sick puppet show to greedily benefit himself and his lackey friends. Taking a ‘slash and burn’ approach to the Council in order to reduce rates paid by property owners benefits property investors – big time landlords such as Brown – and not the working class, who do not make a living by owning assets and exploiting people in order to turn a profit.