Potential ticket fails to understand Auckland
News is going around that a new Centre-Right ticket is planning to run in #Auckland2016 local elections next year. They are called Future Auckland and it seems the ticket was born out of the frustration of a lack of coherent Centre Right organisation in Auckland.
From Public Address:
After The Standard broke the story eight days ago (and got most of the details right), the news of a new National Party-backed Auckland Council ticket, Future Auckland, basically became official today with reports fromTodd Niall on Radio New Zealand and Bernard Orsman in the Herald. And the most interesting part is who’s not in the tent.
Most notably, C&R – the former Citizens and Ratepayers, quietly rebranded as Communities and Residents – has not been consulted on the project. Orsman reports:
C&R president Karen Sherry, when asked if C&R could merge with Auckland Future, said “that’s a discussion that needs to be had” but added “sometimes competition can be healthy”.
If Future Auckland aims to heal the bitter divides in the Auckland centre-right, that’s not a particularly good start. And the fact that Bill Ralston – named by The Standard as a likely starter – has chosen to stand as an independent candidate isn’t a great omen either. It’s not hard to see why the new ticket, reportedly driven by Nikki Kaye, unofficial leader of National’s sensible faction, wouldn’t want a bar of Dick Quax, but you’d think they might have got Christine Fletcher on board.
Niall told Guyon Espiner this morning that Kaye, Michelle Boag and others were frustrated that there is “not a coherent left-right divide that you see in central government” and that councillors vote on issues. He noted that that may in fact be the way that many Auckland local body voters like it. And so they damn well should. The absence of party whipping is a strength of the Super City.
It seems Future Auckland are already struggling to get off the starting block when they both have not consulted Communities and Residents while Bill Ralston poured cold water over Future Auckland quite quickly.
But here is the crux to Future Auckland’s ultimate failings before it has even begun:
Kaye, Michelle Boag and others were frustrated that there is “not a coherent left-right divide that you see in central government” and that councillors vote on issues. He noted that that may in fact be the way that many Auckland local body voters like it.
It shows that Boag, Kaye and those others do not get Auckland one little bit and if they dont get us as a heterogeneous City then well go away until you do.
The South and West (okay Webster too) are both made of Centre Left and Right Councillors but for the most part will vote for or against something together out of pragmatism for the City and their Wards.
The Isthmus and east (Fletcher notwithstanding apart from the Unitary Plan) are more driven by ideology and wonder why they get frustrated around the Governing Body (North Shore can be fickled with the four Councillors voting either direction to the point I would call them the Swingers with their votes).
I do wonder if some realise there is more to Auckland outside the old Auckland City Council boundaries I really do. A true test of Councillor mettle will be in December when they vote for which five areas of Auckland will go under Panuku Development Auckland’s urban renewal stewardship.
How the Councillors vote will give a good indication whether they are for more pragmatic or ideological approaches.
And heck if Ralston is steering clear of Future Auckland that is a bad omen.
That comment was left over at the Public Address article.
I suppose one example of that situation was the Rates and berms. When Auckland Transport caused citizens to get in a flap about berm plantings I got the City wound up pretty good. Mention Rates and the wider City as a whole shrugs and is for now quiet.
In the five years I have been running commentary on Auckland Council I have seen some often weird voting splits that defy convention you would see at Parliament. But when you look at why these votes have happened around the Governing Body it is because they (the Councillors) vote to the issue at hand (well most do). And for the faults we can lay at Auckland Council rightly or wrongly the pragmatism that has formed around the Governing Body has brought the stability Auckland really does deserve.
If I wanted to take it to its full conclusion of who the pragmatics rally around as a central point I will say it is not the Mayor as it was in 2010-2013. I would argue that the pragmatics for the most part while they rally for Auckland as they should if I had to pick a person it would be Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse. Why? Heh start watching the Live Stream archives and up coming meetings of the Committees of the Whole, and the Governing Body to see how the Councillors rally when they do.
In any case as I said because Boag, Kaye and those others don’t get the mechanics of Auckland Local Body politic as mentioned above then they are going to truly struggle next year in the Auckland elections.