“I was bought up in Auckland. I was educated here. I’ve lived my whole life here.
I was born in Mt Eden, not far from the mount itself. I went to school in Three Kings, then later to Papatoetoe High School. I got my education at Auckland University. I also got my education at the Westfield Freezing Company in Otahuhu, where I worked for seven seasons - that was a different sort of education, but it taught me the value of hard work and the importance of community.”
Phil has dedicated most of his life to public service. Most recently as mayor of Auckland.
Before that he represented the people of Mt Roskill for 10 terms in parliament. He became New Zealand’s youngest ever Cabinet Minister in 1984. In his 15 years in Cabinet, he covered several portfolios including housing, environment, and education. In the Clark Government, he was responsible for foreign affairs, justice, trade and defence. He was also Associate Finance Minister. He has served as the leader of the Labour Party and the Leader of the Opposition.
As Minister of Education, Phil initiated New Zealand’s international education industry which is now worth over $3 billion. He was also the first Minister of Trade of a developed country to negotiate a free-trade agreement with China and initiated the TPP trade agreement.
Phil’s focus on council has been on unclogging Auckland’s road and investing in trains, buses, ferries, cycleways and walkways. Auckland now has a $28 billion 100-year joint council-government plan for building our transport network – finally tackling the traffic problems that had been left too long.
He’s delivered an environmental agenda that features a huge investment in water quality, which will stop 90% of wastewater overflows in 10 years rather than 30 years as planned. It means cleaner beaches and waterways for us, our children and our grandchildren.
On land, a focus on pest eradication has practically wiped out rat, stoat and possum populations in the Hunua Ranges – meaning the breeding population of Kokako there has more than doubled. While investments are being made to protect our iconic Kauri from dieback disease and make the Gulf Islands predator free. In 2016, we set out to plan to million years to make our city greener and combat the effects of climate change. This year, we will supersede that number.
Phil’s also focused on supporting the city’s most vulnerable. More than 700 homeless people have been housed through Council’s Housing First programme in the past 18 months and Council is contributing strongly to Auckland City Mission’s Home Ground project which is under construction and will help people with decent shelter while dealing with underlying problems of addiction and mental health.
To achieve the much-needed new investment in Auckland, Phil led initiative to broadened Council’s revenue base while keeping average general rates low and reasonable, and making savings of hundreds of millions of dollars through value for money exercises and achieving efficiency.
To read more about Phil’s vision for Auckland click here.