To the Local Elections 2013

Brown or Palino

Centre Left or Centre/Centre Right

 

Well with the Unitary Plan “on hold” for the moment as we await outcomes of some workshops proceeding formal notification later this year, Talking Auckland will bring its attention to a critical issue. The Local Government Elections 2013.

I have mentioned Brown/Palino, Centre Left//Centre/Centre Right owing to the nature the mayoral bid is shaping up in Auckland. This would be stemming from National MP and Minister (outside of Cabinet) Maurice Williamson announcing yesterday that he would no run for Auckland Mayor this round.

This leaves incumbent Mayor Len Brown of the Centre Left and fresh-faced John Palino of the Centre/Centre Right effectively challenging for the mayoral chains of Auckland.

Talking Auckland will be from today running it’s leading commentary on the two candidates as we count down to Local Elections 2013 (by post ballot in October/November). Commentary on the Wards (Council seats) and Local Boards will also run as well once we have an idea who and what is running where.

 

Today to kick off the Local Election 2013 commentary Talking Auckland will look at the developments of the last 24 hours with the mayoral race.

Caught out AND Crying into a Wine Glass?

Yesterday (Friday) it came across Twitter (followed by Facebook then the Main Stream Media) that National MP and Minister Maurice Williamson will not be running for the mayoralty in Auckland. This leaves effectively and as I mentioned earlier the race between Len Brown and John Palino.

I passed off several comments yesterday after I heard this news – which if you want my honest gut reaction has not surprised me at all. My comments were:

  • Seems the Main Stream Media have been caught stumbling and hedging their “contracts” wrong with Williamson out of the race and them now scrambling to find out who John Palino is

    #twits

  • It seems the Right (not the Centre Right – but the Right) are crying into their wine and brandy glasses tonight after Maurice decided he was not going to run. Maybe like some on the right stuck in their 1950’s view of Auckland (if the howling was anything to go by with the Unitary Plan) are also stuck in the changing political field that is now the Super City.

    No longer can the Centre Right and Right rely on a part of the Isthmus, the North and East of the city to get the mayoral vote. If you can not reach out to the South and West which have larger population bases, then the Centre Left WILL ALWAYS win…
    They have adapted but the Right could not…

  • If National and by extension C&R are going to blunder around like idiots with the mayoral elections then let them. While they go and distract themselves over there a race between Centre Left Len Brown and Centre/Centre Right John Palino can get going in earnest as the city decides which way to go… (In relation to the Herald article: National stance blamed for mayoralty withdrawal

 

The three bullet points present three situations before Auckland (and in part the MSM) at the moment with the Local Elections.

On point one: In part it plays into point two with the fact that both “the people” and “the media” are both stuck with their “pre Super City” style of political thinking and the new political dynamic with the Super City. Point One though I am specifically looking at the media.

I believe the MSM were looking for their old City Vision verses Community and Residents (C&R), Left/Right dog fight with the mayoral race that has dominated the old Auckland City Council area since the end of the Second World War. Yes names and territorial authority make ups have changed pre 2010 but you still had the same battle going on. But, this is no longer just the Isthmus here with voting in Town Hall.

Introduce South and West Auckland into the mix for voting in Town Hall and the dynamic changes entirely. The old style politics of the isthmus do not exist out here. And trying to transplant them into the South and West will simply not work. While we do have Centre Right tickets out in the South and the West they are not “National” nor C&R in any way. Those two names are mud out here and treated as such by the bulk of the populace in local issues. We will have Centre Right people stand but, don’t want petty centralised politics C&R would bring in. Yes Len is Labour (as much as I am a Nat) but Labour have done well in the maintenance of partnering the Local with Central in an implied manner. Something the Right has not been able to do.

Thus the media have been caught rather short. Expecting an old Isthmus style fight in these mayoral elections like the 2010 elections did not pan out. I don’t think Williamson wanted to be the second Right wing candidate panned by Len by over 60,000 votes, amongst other things.

As a result of the MSM being caught short and their “contracts” pretty much a waste on iPredict, it now means they are scrambling to find out who the real contender is against Len.

If the MSM did the lost art of “Investigative Journalism” rather than their usual sensationalist journalistic crap they are known to do (and would have gotten out of Len vs Maurice), they would have realised that there is a third (well now second) serious contender for the chains. That is John Palino – an independent running for Mayor against Len.

While John has been picked up by the suburban papers (Fairfax again beating the Herald out) as they start their coverage, the Herald and NBR have been caught napping. With Williamson now out maybe the other two might start picking up the coverage. Although in that I am sceptical with the Herald and NBR possibly being dismissive against Palino in challenging Len. Oh well their loss (in readership)…

So while the media has been caught short they are not the only ones…

 

Point Two

  • It seems the Right (not the Centre Right – but the Right) are crying into their wine and brandy glasses tonight after Maurice decided he was not going to run. Maybe like some on the right stuck in their 1950’s view of Auckland (if the howling was anything to go by with the Unitary Plan) are also stuck in the changing political field that is now the Super City.

    No longer can the Centre Right and Right rely on a part of the Isthmus, the North and East of the city to get the mayoral vote. If you can not reach out to the South and West which have larger population bases, then the Centre Left WILL ALWAYS win…
    They have adapted but the Right could not…

This is in relation to the people of Auckland and in-part the those wishing to run for Mayor and/or Council. The bullet point pretty much speaks for itself on the situation. If you are wondering if I was aiming this at any particular group, I am. Conservatives from the Isthmus, North and East is where I am pointing in this particular situation. These conservatives were last mentioned in the Unitary Plan debate in which coverage was not particularly flattering after a major debunk against 2040 and the Metro Magazine article.

My message to Right Wing conservatives (as there are left-wing conservatives known as Social Conservatives but would back Len in most instances) who might have been caught short with the Williamson announcement is take heed of bottom half of the second bullet point. You need to get South and West Auckland onside or you will not be seeing the Mayoral chains any time soon. Try and impress me by doing that – although that will be hard now with Williamson gone. As I said the Centre Left have adapted in both the mayoral and council seat races but, the Right has not. This will be telling again when I don’t expect much change in the Council make up after the elections (apart from a Mayoral change).

That message I have also handed to candidate John Palino; you need to capture the vote of the south and the west. And so far he is having a decent crack with the South vote in his Manukau idea (which does have tongues wagging and people actually sitting up and paying attention). I would say exciting times ahead on that regard alone 😀

 

As for my third and final point

  • If National and by extension C&R are going to blunder around like idiots with the mayoral elections then let them. While they go and distract themselves over there a race between Centre Left Len Brown and Centre/Centre Right John Palino can get going in earnest as the city decides which way to go… (In relation to the Herald article: National stance blamed for mayoralty withdrawal

By extension this might reach into Council Ward seats and the Local Boards as well. Meaning? C&R look buggered in actually contesting the council seats and trying to form a majority in Auckland Council come the elections. And as I mentioned in the bullet point – let them. I for one have little time for entities to get their acts together and I would think the city  is in those regards too.

But as we let one particular group flounder around (even Cameron Slater has been saying so with National and C&R since 2010) our focus can be squared at the two main candidates; Len and John. This also means the informal part of the campaign can now kick off in earnest before the formal campaign later this year. If I were to take a punt at five policy narratives that the two candidates should fight on they would be:

  1. Rates and Finances
  2. The Unitary Plan
  3. Transport
  4. Representation and oversight (meaning give the Local Boards more grunt in day-to-day civic duties and maintenance of their communities)
  5. (for the more policy purists) Getting the CCO’s back into line

 

If you have thoughts and comments on where would like those five narratives to go then feel free to leave your comments below.

Otherwise sit back and watch as the Local Elections 2013 take off. Your choices are effectively now Len Brown representing the Centre Left and John Palino representing the Centre/Centre Right.

As for me? While I am excited now for the elections. For the first time the city will not have the old traditional race of Left and Right being backed by the central parties. But, rather a race of Left, Centre and Right with one backed by a party and one being an independent. And a race that will reach out to ALL of the CITY with the candidates rather than them just focusing on their traditional fortress areas… This also means this style of contesting could also be the way of the future as well – although one will have to wait until 2016 to see if National and C&R can get its act together.