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Differing Political Leanings Not A Concern, Says PM

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
John Key
John Key

Wellington, Oct 11 NZPA - The differing political leanings involved at the forefront of the Auckland super city are not expected to pose problems with progress, Prime Minister John Key says.

Left-leaning candidate Len Brown was voted in as mayor of the new super city at the weekend by a comfortable margin over Auckland mayor and National Party supporter John Banks, and other local body results around the country showed a swing to the left.

Mr Key said while that may be the case, he didn't see it as having wider implications.

"For a variety of reasons I don't think there's a great correlation, frankly, between what happens locally and what happens nationally," he told TVNZ's Breakfast programme.

"Sure, the left wing will try and argue that case, but it's actually not correct -- in fact under Helen Clark's reign we saw John Banks voted in and voted out."

Mr Key said he wasn't concerned about the dynamics between a left-leaning mayor in Len Brown, a centre-right government and right-wing Local Government Minister Rodney Hide.

New Zealand operated in an MMP environment and such relationships were common, he said.

"I have to deal with people on the left and on the right...it's no different from me dealing with, say, a Labour Australian government. At the end of the day, I do what's best for New Zealand, and I believe Julia Gillard does the same thing in Australia."

Mr Key said he had worked with Mr Brown in the past and found him "approachable and quite constructive".

Mr Brown ran a visible and high-profile mayoral campaign.

"They had one candidate on the left, the right actually had quite a few candidates -- that never helps."

Mr Brown, formerly mayor of Manukau, now had a big responsibility in front of him.

"We created the super city to give it the authority to be able to act for Auckland, and the reality is that we've had eight talking heads for Auckland -- now we're down to one, so that's good."

In terms of work to be done in Auckland, Mr Key said the Government had already put large amounts of money towards rail electrification, double tracking lines and buying rolling stock.

"Part of this conversation will be how much will the ratepayers of Auckland be prepared to pay, because not all of the responsibility can fall back on central government.

"But we want Auckland to work, we want it to be successful, and I'm sure the minister of transport and myself will sit down and have good constructive conversations with the new Auckland council very soon."

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