A former corporate executive and management expert has announced his candidacy for the Mayorality of Auckland, election for which will be held in October 2016.
Mark Thomas promises to make Auckland Council more affordable, deliver better transport ‘sooner’ and restart growth.
In a career that spans more than two decades in multiple sectors including banking, energy and consulting business, he also gathered local government experience as Deputy Chair of Orakei Local Board of Auckland Council. He was responsible for strategy, finance, economic development and the Unitary Plan of the Board.
“Although there are different issues around the region, some key concerns are the size and growth in the Auckland Council budget, a lack of progress addressing transport issues outside the Auckland CBD and planning problems with the rate of growth. As Mayor, I will rewrite the 30- year Auckland Plan to reign in Council’s budget and reduce Council waste responsibly,” he said.
Zero Rates Option
Mr Thomas said that he would also offer Aucklanders ‘Zero Rates Increase Option’ and target growth funding more clearly into local areas. He has vowed to invest more in local transport by reprioritising the transport budget and restructure Auckland Transport to make it work more effectively.
Born in Te Kuiti, Mr Thomas grew up on a small mixed livestock farm just outside Rotorua in a family of public servants. His grandfather was Chairman of the Reporoa County Council in the 1970s and a member of the then National Roads Board. His father was President of the Local Agricultural and Pastoral Association and was involved with many other services organisations.
Moving to Auckland in 1984, Mr Thomas joined McDonalds, topped a national competition held in conjunction with Olympics sponsorship and represented New Zealand in making hamburgers in Los Angeles. In 1987, at 21 years of age, he became the youngest Store Manager of McDonalds on Queen Street in Auckland Central Business District, the largest restaurant in the country.
Four years later, he backpacked around China before landing in London where he worked for his aunt and uncle Robyn and Robert Wilson in their restaurant ‘Bleeding Heart,’ and studied economics part-time. The Wilsons founded the Trinity Hill Winery in New Zealand and now own five restaurants in London.
Mr Thomas returned to New Zealand in 1990 and completed a degree in Public Policy with Commercial Law at Victoria University in Wellington. He was selected as the National candidate for Wellington Central in the first MMP election in 1996.
Although he led in the polls throughout the campaign, the then Prime Minister Jim Bolger’s endorsement of Act candidate Richard Prebble two nights before the election upset his plans.
His management assignments took him to ANZ Bank (Head of Group Marketing & Corporate Affairs and Leader, Retail branch transformation project) and to his own Consulting & Services Group.
He is a Trustee and Director of ASB Stadium and many other organisations. He is a member of the Institute of Directors and the Sustainable Business Network, and was appointed to the Government’s Rules Reduction Taskforce by last year.
Mr Thomas is married to Wendy Lai, and the couple have two boys aged 13 and 10. Ms Lai is a Senior Partner at Deloitte and Deputy Chair of Counties Manukau District Health Board, Director of Te Papa and a range of other private companies.
Mark Thomas can be reached on (09) 9417416 or 021-417416; Email: email@example.com; Website: www.mark-thomas.co.nz