The balance of power at Auckland Council has tipped from left
to right for the second term of Mayor Len Brown, a shift
that's being compared with the United States Government
With the election of new councillors Denise Krum, Linda
Cooper and Chris Darby the number of centre-right councillors
has jumped from eight to 11, while the number of left-leaning
and centrist counterparts dropped from 12 to nine.
Political scientist Bryce Edwards warned Auckland Council was
at risk of a standoff similar to the United States Government
"There you have a Democrat president locked in battle with
the Republican-led house. So effectively the council could
end up with something similar over the next three years."
The shift to the right could be a "recipe for stalemate"in
which the centre-left mayor's hands could be tied on several
"Len Brown's going to be less able to get his way over the
next three years, that's obvious."
Newly elected Waitakere councillor Linda Cooper said the
change in balance would be "interesting".
Centre-right Cooper replaced Sandra Coney, who retired from
council after 12 years.
"Richard Northey's gone, Sandra Coney's gone, so that's a
fundamental change," she said.
The shift would hopefully bring some changes, especially to
housing affordability, Cooper said.
"People are hurting."
National Party member Denise Krum, who ousted long-serving
councillor and former Labour MP Richard Northey to win a seat
in Maungakiekie-Tamaki ward, said she intended to hold the
Supercity mayor to account.
"People need to see more value for their money - where are my
rates going? What's it being spent on?
"We see rates going up, a lot of things going up. Do we feel
that we're getting a return on our investment?" Krum has
criticised a lack of public consultation over the Unitary
Plan and soaring debt levels and called for more transparency
The 42-year-old businesswoman campaigned on wanting to put a
"hand brake"on Brown's political programme.
But Brown said he wasn't particularly concerned about the new
"I don't see much of a change in the left-right balance. I
think people are coming from all sorts of interesting
political backgrounds and views."
Councillors should put their political differences aside when
they walked through the door and work together, he said.
"My door will be open to every single one of them. I think
that we have the potential of working as strongly in this
council as we did in the last, together.
"There will always be differences, but I think we'll be
- by Cassandra Mason of APNZ