Berry pulls out of mayoralty race, endorses Palino

Affordable Auckland mayoral hopeful Stephen Berry has quit the race in favour of John Palino.

Affordable Auckland mayoral hopeful Stephen Berry has quit the race in favour of John Palino.

Mr Palino ran second, with 108,000 votes and Mr Berry third, with 13,000, in the 2013 mayoral race won by Len Brown on 164,000 votes.

In announcing his candidacy last year, Mr Berry said he would stay in the race as long as there was not another candidate with similar policies who stood a better chance of winning.

“Initially, when John Palino said he would stand for the mayoralty again, I was sceptical of the benefits of yet another candidate splitting the centre-right vote and allowing Phil Goff to sleep-walk to victory.

“Unlike some other centre-right candidates, Mr Palino has not been slow to offer solutions to the issues facing Auckland.

Mr Berry says Mr Palino’s proposal to cut rates by 10% over three years is a good starting point in the conversation about the role Auckland Council has assumed.

“His call to abolish the metropolitan urban limit (MUL) mirrors my own proposals to increase housing supply while his plan to create development hubs outside the central city revolutionises the usual tired central planning mantra.”

Mr Berry says Mr Palino’s policy positions make his own candidacy unnecessary.

Mr Palino has urged the council to stop flogging a dead horse with its artificial MUL.

“It has restricted land supply and driven up house prices for ideological reasons around a compact city. The council need to look at Auckland as a region rather than just the central city as it far too expensive to concentrate Auckland’s expansion around the CBD.”

He says council regulations are the biggest impediment to housing affordability and a compact city will not solve Auckland’s housing shortages.

Mr Palino cites last year’s Productivity Commission’s report Using Land for Housing, referencing a McKinsey Global Institute study which says “Remarkably, in the world’s least affordable cities, including Auckland, unlocking land supply could help to reduce the cost of housing by between 31% and 47%.”

The mayoral contender says Auckland is a relatively small city on a sparsely populated land. “New Zealand has a land mass about 20,000sq km bigger than Britain, with one-fifteenth of the population, so we do not have a land supply problem. We have a regulation problem.”

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