by Cr Greg Sayers, Conuncillor for the Rodney Ward
Greg Sayers, Rodney’s current Auckland city Councillor, says it is positive Rodney has a contested local election. It’s a great way to raise issues and keep the local politicians accountable, he adds.
His statement comes after it was announced that Sayers is being challenged by Rodney Local Board deputy chair Beth Houlbrooke in the upcoming October Auckland Council elections.
Councillor Sayers says he enthusiastically welcomes an election race based on integrity, community representation and principles.
Sayers successfully ousted ex-Rodney District Council Mayor Penny Webster for the Rodney seat on Auckland Council in 2016 and was returned unopposed in 2019.
Going into the campaign race, Sayers says he is deeply heartened from community feedback with people repeatedly telling him they appreciate the way he steps forward and fights for a fair deal for Rodney.
“I realised early on I was either going to have to be a ‘yesman’ to Goff in order to receive a few crumbs, or be a strong advocate for Rodney, fighting for a full and fair deal for the
ratepayers who elected me. I chose the latter,” says Sayers.
“It has been myself working with a focused group of highly principled councillors who collaboratively have had the backbone to consistently call Council to account exposing the troublesome trends about the organisation.
“Council should be identifying all the wasteful overspending, and channelling that money back into core services – which would include money to help fund Rodney’s future infrastructure and to lift the standards of general maintenance to acceptable levels.
“By being a persistent voice for Rodney I have gained many wins including over $1.3 billion of approved funding voted through to build the infrastructure Rodney so desperately needs to catch up with the rest of Auckland. These improvements are currently
underway with Rodney being far better off now than when I started.
“Building on this momentum the next goal is to get a further $1.2 billion. This will include investment for the unsealed roading networks’ maintenance and sealing, storm water and sewage upgrades, SH16 traffic improvements, more parks and sportsfields, a bypass road for Kumeu, financing the Hill Street fix, money for environmental protection and enforcement of noncompliance, building new infrastructure in advance of building new housing, as well as lifting the maintenance standards for Rodney.
“Having worked cooperatively with many Local Board members I believe it is essential local boards receive greater financial resources to allow them to use local contractors, local community volunteers and community groups to deliver community projects in a far more affordable way.
“The money Rodney needs will be found from within Auckland Council, by it simply being far more prudent with its financial management. It is not necessary to keep digging deeper and deeper into ratepayers’ pockets.
“Most rural ratepayers are outraged that the challenger – Ms Houlbrooke designed and voted in a Rodney specific additional 7.1 per cent annual rates increase on top of Goff’s 3.5 per cent annual general rate increases.
“Rural communities, who pay around $23 million towards her additional tax, are furious that they do not receive a cent for any roading improvements from it. It was, and remains, outrageous.
“Like Phil Goff, Ms Houlbrooke is a tax, borrow and spend politician who has not challenged Council’s spending priorities.
“Her voting to introduce a compulsory new tax, only to be paid by Rodney’s ratepayers, completely let Phil Goff off the hook to re-direct more money back into Rodney.
Just answer this simple question for yourself; why would a Mayor even need to consider my requests for re-directing more funding into Rodney if the candidate is happy to raise more money via syphoning new taxes out of her own ratepayers’ pockets?
“Beth Houlbrooke will need to stand on her record as a local board member who has been complicit in enabling Phil Goff’s political agendas.
“I struggle to see how this challenger can be proud of her voting record. I cannot understand her convictions, as exemplified by voting in favour of all Goff’s rate increases, including the fuel tax, the illegal bed taxes, Goff’s many targeted rates, as well as
initiating a Rodney specific targeted tax when families are struggling in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis.
“It’s easy to spend other people’s money. It is not as easy to fight for what is right.
“Rodney voters now have a choice - between someone who will spend and borrow more by creating new taxes and rates, versus a councillor who has a proven track record of fighting to get Rodney’s rates spent back locally.
“No matter how tough, I have never faltered in representing what the majority of the people of Rodney, and Auckland, have overwhelmingly told me they expect.
When the new Mayor wants to get Council back to delivering core business, wants to put a stop to all the nice-to-have spending, and will focus fairly on all communities including Rodney, I will support them 100 per cent.
“Needless to say I have already proactively met with the five top polling mayoral candidates - meeting each at a Rodney township – getting in early to further the cause for Rodney and convince them why additional investment is needed.