What’s next for Auckland Mayor Phil Goff?

What will be Phil Goff's first move as Auckland Mayor? Image supplied by RiKmedia.nz
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It was no surprise that Phil Goff won the Auckland mayoral role by a landslide.

The veteran Labour MP claimed the win last Saturday with 186,445 votes, ahead of rival Vic Crone who came in second with 110,926 votes.

Goff says one his “first jobs will be to put together a budget”. One of the new mayor’s promises during the promotional trail was to make budget cuts to the mayoral office. With Goff promising to save “at least three percent” from the mayoral budget of about $4 million. He intends to do this by having less staff within the mayoral office.

Although he did admit some staff would be “well paid because I need top people in order to carry out the accountability requirements of the mayor’s office and its relationship with council.”

Another top priority for Goff is “restoring the confidence of the people of Auckland in their council”. This was one of the most discussed aspects by candidates on the mayoral campaign after a council survey released mid-year revealed only fifteen percent of questioned Aucklanders expressed satisfaction with the council’s performance, which Goff says is a failure.

Over the next few weeks, Mr Goff will make also take steps towards one of the most important decisions he’ll make as mayor – appointing a deputy mayor. All he would say on the matter was it would be “the best person for the job”.

Three possible contenders for Phil Goff’s deputy:

Penny Hulse
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Hulse has been deputy mayor to Len Brown for six years.

She has been fiercely loyal to Brown and carried much of the heavy load during Brown’s term. As well as steadying the council, she drove much of the work on housing matters and took charge of the Unitary Plan process that passed last month. If she is not appointed it is likely that Goff will include her within his inner circle.

Bill Cashmore
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Cashmore, a second-term councillor for the rural ward of Franklin, farmer, and National Party member, is highly regarded by some of Goff’s advisers.

He is seen as solid, likeable, a good operator, loyal and capable of getting the numbers round the council table – all good attributes for a deputy leader. Although some believe he is too similar to Goff, thus underlying the problem of having two 60-year-old white males leading Auckland into a new direction.

Desley Simpson

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If Goff wants to be bold and make lead change for the Super City Desley Simpson is a likely option.

Simpson would bring a breath of fresh air to the otherwise stale Auckland council as she brings strong leadership and her no-nonsense attitude to the table. The risk with Simpson is, she might outshine Goff and become a threat rather than an ally.

No announcement has been made as to when Mayor Phil Goff will make the decision.

 

Imogen Atkins
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