Auckland Elections Forgone?

Time to look to 2016


Now if you ever wanted to see a Blogger pull a massive back flip in commentary, this post might be one of them.

With the formal campaign period now under way for the Local Government Elections 2013 I had been pinging the Main Stream Media on their lopsided-ness of coverage. This being especially true around the mayoral race.

However, looking at Rudman’s piece morning I can be somewhat more sympathetic towards the MSM and the elections in 12 weeks.


From Rudman and the NZH

Shameful if voters ignore council poll

By Brian Rudman


The mayoralty threatens to be a one-horse race which could lead to a turnout as low as in 2007 – only 38 per cent.

Len Brown looks set to claim a second term as mayor of the Super City. Photo / APN

Len Brown looks set to claim a second term as mayor of the Super City. Credit: Photo / APN






October’s Auckland Council election is shaping up to be a deadly dull affair. With Building Minister Maurice Williamson having given the mayoralty a quick sniff, then moved on, incumbent Len Brown seems home and hosed before the contest has even begun.


Meanwhile, the race for the 20 spots at the council table is shaping up to be an exercise in name recognition. Cameron Brewer, Mike Lee, oh yes, I’ve heard of him, where do I tick?


And that’s among those who vote. In the Super City’s inaugural election in 2010, a strong mayoral contest mixed with the novelty of the new resulted in a better than normal local election turnout of 51 per cent.

But with what promises to be a one-horse mayoral race, this October’s contest is likely to attract a turnout more akin to the 38 per cent of 2007.


Which, in a democracy, is a pretty shameful state of affairs. But who can blame voters when the politicians stage such a lacklustre triennial affair? A lopsided mayoralty race is bad enough, but at councillor level, confusion abounds.

I’ll get to the Councillors in a minute. But. as for the mayoral race well here comes the back flip. I have said countless times before the MSM were narrow in their focus solely on Len. Candidate for the Centre-Right John Palino did have the chance at a decent crack at Len. But, looking at three separate election articles all I see on Palino was this:

The only centre-right challenger at this stage is businessman John Palino

That was from this article: “Brown’s offer: a steady hand” by Bernard Osman.

Not a flash start nor mention there if I can get that quote into half a Tweet. What made things more sceptical for Palino and his chances at the moment was his back page spread in last Saturday’s Weekend Herald (A-section). If my wife tells me she is not convinced and even stated the interview was not entirely convinced then there are problems heading into the election campaign (now under way). And for your information my wife is very astute and particular on things including that of Mayoral Office.

So a lop-sided mayoral campaign is becoming obvious which means I won’t be focusing much there unless there is a good reason to do so (like Palino’s polling at 60% over Len city-wide).

As for Council Ward seats oh this is something else.


From Rudman again

At least at a national level, our politicians drape themselves in the colours of their respective political parties, so voters get an idea of what they’re voting for.


But local elections are like a beauty contest where the bikini has been replaced by the burqa. Candidates hide their beliefs behind bland labels such as “Citizen” or “Ratepayer”.

I had hoped with the creation of the Super City, home to a third of the nation’s people, that the politicians seeking to govern us would shed this silliness, and embrace the labels we’re all familiar with – Labour, National, Green and the like. Even if that was a step too far for the civic worthies, I did expect them to coalesce among themselves into like-minded working partnerships that voters could identify with.


But the opposite has occurred.


The embryo “parties” and loose associations that were cobbled together in 2010 by the remnant politicians from pre-amalgamated Auckland are now splitting apart at the seams

Blasted if I know what is going on with Auckland here. Although in light of a conversation I had with someone it seems there is still a lot of history here.

The south and west of Auckland have always run effective alliance or independent tickets when contesting Council and Mayor under the old regimes. This seems to have carried over into the new regime and seems to be suited well for those areas. You do know with teams like the [insert Action Team] in the South what those people stand for in their loose aligned ticket. Of which that ticket does spread both sides of the political spectrum and often work together progressing the South.

I believe the West is in the same situation too like the South.

The North Shore is a case all on its own and often behaves like the rebel child of the city. Basket case was a term that did come to mind in regards to the Shore.

As for the Isthmus now here is the GROAN treatment right there and here. I think 50 odd years of isthmus politics might have “damaged” the isthmus area. It certainly looks like it both looking at history, this current council and Rudman’s article:

The right-wing Communities and Residents, formerly Citizens and Ratepayers, and once controlled by former National Party president John Slater, is in tatters.


In 2010, it won just five of the 20 council seats. Last November, Franklin councillor Des Morrison quit the ticket. Now deputy leader George Wood has decamped to set up his own North Shore ticket. Whau councillor Noelene Raffills has also scarpered.


To add to its woes, leader Christine Fletcher doesn’t want to stand alongside Mark Thomas, the party’s chosen running mate for her in the Albert-Eden-Roskill ward.

In other words, there’s not a coherent, centre-right grouping contesting the poll.


The left is little better. CityVision, which claims to be the “community voice”, pumped out a statement a month ago claiming to be the first team to select candidates and select candidates – but only in two wards, Waitemata and Albert-Eden-Roskill.


In the Waitemata ward it’s claiming to have “confirmed” Mike Lee as its candidate, but qualifies that by admitting Mr Lee is running as an “Independent”.


It has two council candidates in the Albert-Eden-Roskill ward, and that’s it. City Vision’s statement says “our communities need a strong voice in the Auckland Council structure”, which is a fine sentiment.

Oh dear – the same tired politics still dog the Isthmus

One more time from Rudman

But instead we’re back to the burqa politics of old, with candidates hiding their true identities behind a cloak of cliches. No wonder voters get turned off.


This lone-wolf approach bemuses me. For the past three years I’ve heard many complaints from councillors about how they’re isolated from any real power, trapped between a mayoral office with a budget of $3.2 million and a staff of 23, and the mighty council bureaucracy.



To all these politicians hunting on their own, there is a solution, one that unionists of old employed to their advantage. Educate, agitate and organise.


Join up with like-minded politicians across the city. Work together so you can deal with the mayor and the bureaucracy on a more even footing. And importantly in the run-up to an election, work together to communicate a coherent message to the voters.


All we seem to see is the battles of pre 2010 being fought in post 2010 again and again and again. No wonder why people are put off in both voting and standing.

All we get is and see is people defending their patch and not thinking of OUR region (yep a point out to the resident shill over in Ellersille as a reinforcement point). Petty pre 2010 crap in a post 2010 era of Auckland.


Already I am looking to 2016 and option there. 2013 is pretty much foregone which is fine by me. Minor changes in Council and no change to Mayor’s Office means stability through the next three years of the Unitary Plan. Stability means getting meaningful changes through. Putting in the shills means the city actually goes backwards and what changes we do get or have already obtained are lost. Mainly due to petty patch politics.

To me we need the stability and the shills kept well away this round with the UP entering a critical phase. We can not lose the concessions on the Southern RUB and Manukau (thus far) due to ill informed shills who can’t even get the facts right in the ward they are contesting…


As for why I am not running? The above would state one reason why. The other being I concluded earlier this year while deciding that I am achieving more the City – YES THE CITY AS IN CITY WIDE “pissing outside into the tent” rather than “pissing inside from within in the tent.” Crude analogy but, an effective one in describing the situation.

Things that I have advocated for over the last three years to measured successes

  • 60:40 Brownfield:Greenfield split
  • Some new bus routes in East Papakura and Addison
  • Corridor Option for the Southern RUB (the Franklin Local Board being the main driver on this but, I did submit very strongly on it)
  • Manukau to be considered for Super Metropolitan Centre status
  • Manukau South Rail Link; case study under way by AT after I brought the issue up and Councillor Wood lobbied the Transport Committee on it
  • Mixed Housing Zone Split (I believe Auckland 2040 also did the same)
  • Special Character Zones (work in progress)
  • Holding AT-HOP fares down for 9 months


Of course the advocating will continue in the 2013-2016 period


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