Rudman Says No, Orsman Says “Could”
NOW the commentary starts ramping up on the Auckland Council Elections in the main stream media. This after I believe I started it quietly back in 2011 and ramping it up more recently.
We have heard some commentating writing off the elections already especially in the Auckland mayoral race with myself at this point in time giving Len an 85% chance of getting his re-election. As for Council Ward seats (those wanting to become a Councillor) this is proving to be more interesting (not that I don’t mind even with our shills).
Resident Unitary Plan writer Bernard Orsman thinks different to his counterpart Rudman and offered this insightful piece on the upcoming elections.
From the NZ Herald
And even if the mayor gets re-elected, he might find a different hue around the council table, one less friendly to the “inclusive” team he has come to rely upon.
The failure of the centre-right to unite around the Communities & Residents brand (with subsequent desertions from C&R this month) and the mixed bag of left-leaning councillors have worked in Mr Brown’s favour in his first term.
It would take only a handful of new, right-leaning faces to tip the balance and make life difficult for the mayor. Pro-Brown councillors Michael Goudie and Des Morrison are stepping down in the respective conservative wards of Albany and Franklin. The centre-right is also targeting Cathy Casey (Albert-Eden-Roskill), Ann Hartley (North Shore) and Richard Northey (Maungakiekie-Tamaki).
Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse has taken umbrage at a call from Herald columnist Brian Rudman for candidates to embrace the labels of National, Labour and the like.
She says this would see a return to the bad old days of the former Auckland City Council with secret caucus meetings, one-term councils and three-year planning horizons.
She has coined the term “Auckland Party” for people who want to focus on the city and building for the future.
But even minus the C&R tag, there are enough issues uniting centre-right candidates – such as a low uniform charge that leads to bigger rates for high-value home owners and debt levels – to potentially scupper the “Auckland Party”.
The looming election is already seeing changes made to the Unitary Plan, with word leaking out that height limits are being reduced in many town centres and “small-scale” apartment buildings banished from many residential areas.
Modifications to the draft Unitary Plan for formal notification in September is a political test for Mr Brown and his inner circle of Ms Hulse, Ms Hartley, Penny Webster and Mr Northey. Get it wrong and the Unitary Plan – the new planning rulebook that affects every Aucklander and every property – will become a big election issue.
I did leave the first half out as it was covering the mayoral stuff.
Orsman does have a legitimate point (if not a slight slant due to perceived bias against the Unitary Plan and Deputy Mayor (Bernard have you asked me yet for those secret papers – I do have all 7,000 pages of them sitting here)) though that Council could change its make up (regardless of who is Mayor).
Right now to get a true Centre-Right “dominance” around the Council table you would need a swing of 6 to 7 seats from the Centre Left or pro-Brown supporters in the election. That is one heck of an ask and would need pretty much a city-wide revolt for that to happen. I do not see such a revolt towards the Councillors let alone the mayor at the moment.
But, what makes this more uncertain is what kind of Centre-Right person could land a spot at the table and what they might actually do.
I’ll give an example using me in contrast to a shill. While I have no intention of running for a Local Board or Council seat until 2016 if I did decide to run this could happen.
I am a Social Liberal which naturally puts me Centre-Left on the Political Compass tests. However, I am perceived to be a “young Tory” that would hark back to Golden Era of National from 1936 to 1972. This means I would be cast as a Centre-Right candidate. In saying that unlike the Right Wing shills out there (just look at their stance on the Unitary Plan), I would be more inclined to work with the Deputy Mayor and push through the concessions for my area and the wider city. This is already occurring and I am not even a Councillor nor running this round.
Effectively rather than sit, their arms crossed and looking like a permanent sour-puss grumpy going “No, no, no” and not put any non NIMBY alternative forward (enter the Shill), I would work with the hand I got dealt with and make something useful out of it. So far working with that I have has worked as an advocate and consultant in gaining concessions for a Better Auckland through a better Unitary Plan – all while I am Centre Right.
So in Orsman’s case being Centre Right might not upset the cart per-se in Council business. Sure the sharper edges of the Mayor’s policy might be sanded back but no whole scale change that having a bunch of Right Wingers would foster (and damage the city due to instability – yes I am pointing to you C&R)!
Speaking of C&R – what on earth happened? Never mind!
Now what about this Auckland Party concept the Deputy Mayor brought up? Orsman said the concept would not work if the Council make up swung to the Centre-Right. I would correct him and say the Auckland Party would not work if the Council got dominated by Right Wingers for which in any case the City would be royally buggered.
I would say that the Auckland Party would be made up of both Centre Left and Centre Right Councillors who can work in a Grand Coalition sort of manner and advance the interests of the Auckland region. Rather than have factional politics and a divisive Council that marred the Isthmus for the last 50-60 years.
Lets see how this pans out as we draw closer to October 12 – Election Day
- Split vote could lead to close mayoral contest (nzherald.co.nz)
- C&R Cluster? (voakl.net)
- Auckland Council Elections Begin to Spark (voakl.net)
- Auckland Elections Forgone? (voakl.net)
- To the Local Elections 2013 (voakl.net)