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Len Brown

Affordable Housing
Will you take the lead to amend zoning restrictions in order to free up land so as to lower costs of housing for first-home buyers?

Enabling the provision of more affordable housing will be a key focus if I am re-elected to lead the Auckland Council. We have already passed the Unitary Plan, which provides for new land to be freed up in a managed fashion that won’t see ugly unplanned urban sprawl across the countryside. I’ve worked closely with the Government in putting together a Housing Accord that will see fast-tracking of consents in “special housing areas”, and I will make sure affordable housing continues to be a priority.

Alcohol Outlets
Will you take the leadership in reducing the hours of trading for both on- and off-licence premises, restrict the number of alcohol outlets in residential or school areas, and allow more community input as to the location, number and hours of alcohol outlets throughout the city?
And will you lobby government on behalf of the people of Auckland for evidence-based alcohol reforms at a national level that will augment local accessibility reforms; of particular note, reforms
involving alcohol pricing, the marketing of alcohol, purchase age of alcohol and drink-driving.

As Mayor I have taken the lead in advocating for more community input into the number, location and opening hours of liquor outlets. We all know the proliferation of liquor outlets does a lot of harm. Now through Local Alcohol Plans, communities can have a much greater say over how liquor is served and consumed in their areas. I’ve also set up the Mayoral Taskforce on Inner City Safety to identify actions we can take alongside the Police to make our town centres safer places to be.

Will you introduce bylaws and show leadership in regulating public billboards in Auckland so that they must be G-rated and only suitable for family viewing, with a pre-vetting system?

I disagree with the content of advertisements that are overly graphic in nature. However, the council does not and should not have the power to restrict freedom of speech, no matter how much we disagree with what is being said. There are already rules that regulate what can be displayed, and we have a chief censor who is responsible for regulating inappropriate content. There is also an industry body that deals with complaints. While I cannot be the judge of what is and is not appropriate - I will, however, attempt to act as an arbiter if hugely offensive displays are put up.

Will you campaign for Parliament to pass legislation to enable you to introduce bylaws prohibiting brothels in residential areas and close to sensitive sites such as schools, kindergartens, playgrounds and shopping areas frequented by families and children – and will you lead the attempt to introduce those bylaws

Auckland Council has endorsed a law change, first proposed Manukau City Council, that would allow better regulation of street prostitute and more protection for sex workers. Since prostitution was legalised by parliament, local authorities have worked to manage the industry within the law. Bylaws governing the sex industry are set to be reviewed in the next term. Until then, the current by-laws stay in effect. For example, in Manukau the bylaw dictates that brothels can only allowed be located within business zones 4-6, which effectively means that they can only be located on the periphery of town centres in the more industrial areas. Furthermore, Manukau’s bylaw states that brothels cannot be located within 250 metres of an educational facility, community facility, or place of worship. I am strongly of the opinion that local communities should have a say on issues such as where brothels, liquor outlets, and gambling facilities are located.

Convention Centre for Pokies Deal
Will you reject the Convention-Centre-for-Pokies deal brokered by the government and seek to build a Convention Centre which follows due process and does not require the mass influx of pokie machines?

It is important to remember that this was a decision made by central government. I would not have made the same choice – but I cannot change it. What I have promoted is much more extensive controls on problem gambling as part of this arrangement (including the use of technology like facial recognition to identify problem gamblers, which SkyCity have agreed to trial), and I believe more money should be given to community groups.

Family First Comment:
National Business Review 4 March 2013: Auckland Mayor Len Brown has reconfirmed support for the convention centre at the heart of a contentious deal between the government and SkyCity. Mr Brown told an audience of business leaders at a recent Transtasman Business Circle lunch he supported the convention centre “totally” during a discussion about the council’s role in economic development. “I support the convention centre, totally, not only because it will provide jobs for our tourism industry, but for a start it will provide 1000 jobs in the building of it,” Mr Brown said during his joint-address with Auckland Council chief executive Doug McKay.

Facilities for family events
Will you introduce a bylaw preventing the hireage and use of Council-owned buildings and facilities for R-rated events e.g. Erotica Expo

Erotica does not use a council facility. Further, I am not sure of this being an issue in the region. I believe different groups in the community should have the right to use council facilities as long as they meet the application criteria, respect Council property and not harm or interfere with others. I don’t believe that council should act as the arbiter of good taste or what is right and wrong.

GST on Rates
Will you campaign for parliament to remove GST on Rates?

I understand why people are concerned about paying GST on rates as the cost of living just keeps on going up. However, this is a matter for central government as they collect the GST. I am focused on reducing the impact of rate increases and have cut the average increase from approximately 6 per cent down to 2.9 per cent. We’ll deliver $1.7 billion of savings in 10 years and I’ve committed to reduce next year’s rate increase down to 2.5 per cent.

Loan Sharks
Will you campaign for Parliament to introduce legislation requiring greater regulation and accountability of loan sharks including capped interest rates, registration, and controls on location?

I supported the campaign to regulate and provide greater transparency for loan sharks. I’ve also written to the Prime Minister asking him to support legislation to restrict loan shark practices. It’s unfair that desperate people are tricked into financial hardship after signing up for unfair interest rates

Mega Brothel in heart of city
Will you lead opposition to the Chow brothers’ mega-brothel in the heart of Auckland city and seek ways to restrict brothels in the central city areas frequented by families

I do not want to see a mega-brothel established in the city. Auckland Council had to make a very difficult decision to require the emergency demolition of the historic Aurora Hotel, after it became a hazard to the public. Unfortunately the resource management rules (as they stand) permit the construction of the new building in question, so it cannot be overturned. However, when the rules come up for review I would like to see the same kind of controls that we achieved in Manukau.

Given that many of NZ’s gaming machines are within communities that are high on our deprivation and socio-economic scale, will you introduce and show leadership for a reducing lid policy on the number of pokie machines in local communities?

Gambling addiction does harm to families across our city. I worked with the Problem Gambling Foundation to help introduce a "no more pokies" policy in Manukau. And in July, with my leadership, the Auckland Council voted for a sinking lid on pokies in pubs and clubs.

Public nudity / marches
Will you campaign for the government to clarify the meaning of offensive behaviour under the Crimes Act in order to prevent parades involving nudity and/or offensive behaviour to families? e.g. Boobs on Bikes, beach nudity bylaws

Council does not enforce what is or is not offensive behaviour, and therefore it’s not exactly a council matter. I note the law can restrict people from acting in an “offensive or disorderly manner”, which ought to deal with the matter. However, I am loath to try to intervene as it would just draw more attention to the parade, which is probably what the organisers want.

Street Prostitution
Will you campaign for parliament to pass legislation to enable you to introduce bylaws to make street prostitution and pimping illegal – and will you lead the attempt to introduce those bylaws

Auckland Council has promoted a local bill to allow better regulation of street prostitution. This is especially important for areas like Hunter’s Corner in Papatoetoe and some parts of Manurewa. Street walking is not safe for the workers, and it results in unsafe town centres. We need better ways of regulating and controlling this activity.

Maybe – and open to the idea
Not Sure – but open to the idea
Not Sure

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