New Mayor faces new challenges

Just three days after his phenomenal electoral success, Auckland Super City Mayor Len Brown had his ambitious $5 billion rail project derailed with Prime Minister John Key saying that his Government would not fund the entire amount.

He left it for Mr Brown and Auckland ratepayers to figure out the best way to raise the money.

Nevertheless, Mr Brown may not back down on his commitment; he has successfully faced several formidable challenges in his life and career.

His election as the Mayor, with the largest number of votes (237,487, accounting for 49.1% of the votes polled) in New Zealand’s electoral history underscored his distinctive style of social interaction and a superb campaign. The marginal lead that he established over his rival (Auckland City Mayor John Banks) became more distinctive just days before the election on October 9.

Mr Brown has said that the Indian community was important for him and that he valued its traditions, history and spirit.

“Indian residents and citizens play an important role in our country with growing economic, social and cultural contributions. I will set up an Indian Community Advisory Group, and build strong economic and cultural links with India,” he had said, writing in Indian Newslink (October 15).

He said special events such as Diwali, India’s Republic Day and Independence Day should be celebrated in the new Super City.

“You can trust me to unite our communities, bring people together and retain local identity (no Downtown takeover), keep rates low (I will open the books and deliver efficiencies from the new Council and retain public ownership of key public assets (no privatisation of our water, airport shares, elderly housing or the Ports),” Mr Brown said, adding, “I will not flip-flop on this issue.”

The Auckland Local Body Elections featured 32 candidates of Sub-Continent origin. All of them, except Ella Kumar (Puketapapa- Mt Roskill) Magan Ranchod (Pukekohe) representing the Citizens & Ratepayers, lost.

Some readers were of the view that the Indian community was ‘too fragmented to make an impact in politics.

“There is no unity and hence there is no chance for any candidate to win an election,” they said.

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