Candidates go head to head at Mayoral Debate

08 September 2016
composite-Mayoral Debate

There was applause - and at times shouting and heckling - from the audience in the Business School auditorium last night as mayoral candidates responded to questions about their plans for the Supercity.

The debate, organised by the School of Architecture and Planning and supported by the Auckland Society, featured mayoral hopefuls Phil Goff, Vic Crone, John Palino, Mark Thomas, David Hay and Penny Bright.

Professor Raymond Miller, from Politics and International Relations, skilfully took charge of the debate as MC. He opened the event by suggesting to all the candidates that success for the next Mayor will ultimately depend on two sets of relationships; those with central Government and those with the voters of Auckland, half to two thirds of whom, traditionally don’t bother to vote.

Candidates were then each given time to outline their plans for issues like public transport, infrastructure growth and funding, and the housing shortage, starting with what they would achieve in their first term in office.

Questions included: What is the role of design in the process of development and city building? And do you support the Auckland Unitary Plan?

A variety of visions for growing Auckland were presented, with the audience response to the debate became most lively whenever the issue of how to achieve affordable housing and deal with the city’s homelessness were raised. All candidates agreed it was now a critical concern for Aucklanders.

Professor Raymond Miller then invited any other mayoral candidates present to address the audience. This year’s mayoral race has 19 hopefuls. The youngest at just 22, Chloe Swarbrick, a recent law and arts graduate, seized the opportunity and spoke rousingly of the urgent need for a new type of city leader who could really engage with potential voters.

With less than a month left to vote for Auckland’s new mayor, it is hoped that last night’s debate will encourage Aucklanders to fill out their ballot papers.