Goff: No more 'most liveable city'Save
By Bernard Orsman
Auckland's new Mayor Phil Goff has revealed he is about to become a grandfather, likes horses and fishing and once had a Jack Russell dog he named Jafa - Just Another Effing Animal.
Goff celebrated his win with family on Saturday at his farmlet in Clevedon. He walked around in the sunshine, shot a few rabbits and went inside for a couple of glasses of pinot noir with his wife, Mary, and daughter, Sara. Oh, and he answered 50, 60 or 70 phone calls.
In a video interview with the Herald, the mayor-elect and about-to-be-former Labour MP has spoken a little about his private life and the challenges of the Super City.
Goff said in the midst of working on his first budget for council he is about to become a grandfather for the first time next month. He was an avid horse rider in his younger days and is a keen, but not particularly successful, fisherman. He fishes off Orere Pt on the Hauraki Gulf where the family has a modest traditional Kiwi bach.
Aucklanders, he said, will see the workman-like politician; it won't be a blaze of colour, although he has already put the top bureaucrats on notice that former Air New Zealand bosses could be installed in council to rebuild trust in the institution.
Nor is he the least bit impressed with Auckland Transport bosses for hiding a cost blowout in the city rail link from former Mayor Len Brown for months. He has already had words about the new cost of up to $3.4b, and won't tolerate the same behaviour under his watch.
Sparks have also flown in Goff's direction from Finance Minister Bill English, who recently criticised his style and praised his predecessor Len Brown for having straightforward and predictable dealings with Wellington.
Goff put the criticism down to a bit of pre-election politics. He has no intention of being a "lamb to the slaughter" in Wellington, saying he will be reasonable but very firm in seeking road pricing and more money to fund infrastructure for the city's rampant growth.
In the interview, Goff had a firm message for Ports of Auckland, which is planning a new 40m expansion into Waitemata Harbour.
"I will be absolutely blunt with the board of Ports of Auckland, and with the executive leadership team, that the wharf and the reclamation will not go ahead," he said.
Goff has also indicated that Brown's slogan "the world's most liveable city" will be phased out.
"People laugh when they are stuck in hours of traffic congestion about being the most liveable city. They laugh when they see that might be our slogan; but we are the fourth most unaffordable city to live in," Goff said.
Goff, whose slogan is "a city where talent and enterprise can thrive, said like Brown and mayors who might follow him, he wants to stamp his own mark on the city.
What happens next?
• Today: Goff is greeted by Auckland Council chief executive Stephen Town at council headquarters in downtown Auckland and given the keys to the mayoral office.
• Thursday: Final election results announced.
• October 16: Term of office of all elected members expires. New members' term begins.
• November 1: Mayor and councillors sworn in.