Blind Ideology or Pragmatism? Auckland National Party Ructions? #Auckland2016

Stability – it is what the City craves


Two things this Super City has brought Auckland if nothing else:

  1. Stability in Governance
  2. Removal of faction politics that dogged the Auckland City Council prior to its disbandment in 2010


Meaning if you are Left, Right, Centre, up, down, whatever in your politics both pragmatism and cooperation across the divides trump blind ideology in propelling Auckland into the 21st Century. However, it seems someone forgot to tell a few people in the Auckland area of the National Party this if this article from Bernard Orsman was anything to go by:

Crone wont debate Source: NZ Herald
Crone wont debate
Source: NZ Herald


It was followed by another Bernard special here; What’s wrong with the right? in which Auckland Central MP, and Minister Nikki Kaye was quoted in saying:

Kaye says her involvement stems from the need to evolve the political landscape under the Super City and build a group of fiscally responsible centre-right candidates.

She has become frustrated with centre-right councillors and National Party members, such as Linda Cooper, Bill Cashmore and Calum Penrose, consistently voting with Len Brown. “It’s really important that people do know what people stand for,” says Kaye.



Remembering that:

According to insiders at a political breakfast meeting at the Stamford Hotel in mid-February, Prime Minister John Key rated Goff as the likely winner for the Auckland mayoralty race and believed the real battle will be in the make-up of the council.




This has prompted a reply to the Herald from Councillors Cooper, Cashmore and Penrose stating:

Cooper Penrose and Cashmore respond. Source: NZ Herald
Cooper Penrose and Cashmore respond.
Source: NZ Herald


Having been in the front seat (and still am) as an active citizen through showing up to; committees, Local Board meetings, community hearings, transport and Unitary Plan hearings, and then writing extensive commentary over it all for the last five years I agree with Councillors’ Cooper, Cashmore and Penrose that indeed the City is in growing pains but pragmatism wins over blind ideology.

Being pragmatic does not mean voting for everything the prevailing majority might vote for on the Governing Body of Auckland Council. But it does mean talking to others and working out the means in propelling the City forward. For example Councillor Calum Penrose in 2010-2013 did not believe the City Rail Link would help Papakura. But once all the information came out and a few chats latter Councillor Penrose sees the benefits of the CRL for Papakura and now supports it (also helps if Auckland Transport could communicate things better).


As I have written for the last five years it is stability not blind ideology that the City craves. And for the most part we have gotten it even with Wellington (Government) often getting in the road. Yes we have growing pains as we go through multiple stages:

  • Consolidation and Planning (2010-2013)
  • Planning and Transition to City Building (2013-2016)
  • City Building (2016+)


Could things have been done better? Looking at Glen Eden, Henderson and how long it took to get Manukau’s renewal off the ground then yes things could be done better. But it is acknowledging these faults (which to be fair the Governing Body is doing) and actually doing better in the next rounds is key. Henderson is now up for urban renewal with Panuku Development Auckland as is Manukau City Centre so things do get through although too slow for my liking.

Only pragmatism that Councillors’ Cashmore, Cooper and Penrose both talk and deliver on can deliver Manukau and Henderson. Blind ideology that Kaye (and Brewer) would wish for would not to the point of sending all of Auckland back to the pre-Super City era of the former Auckland City Council.


So when it comes to the elections later this year those who promote stability and pragmatism will be the ones who I vote for. Not the ones following ideology blindly.


Mt Eden Source:
Mt Eden


5 thoughts on “Blind Ideology or Pragmatism? Auckland National Party Ructions? #Auckland2016

  1. The National Party doesn’t really try to control the local level in fact most the the leadership think that the “Right Wing Councillors” are local numpties and they have better things to do. In fact English & Smith have made it perfectly clear to them they vote for the UP recommendations or face the wraith. Most of the local right wingers are not lawyers, businessman or professional polis like they are in Parliament but just your local angry person. The Greens & Labour however have a lot of boots on the ground activists on the local level.

    I still think we need to clear the old guard out and get rid of all the pre super city councillors and board members as many still think they are fighting for their fiefdom than representing all Aucklanders cough George Wood cough.

    My top people to have unseated would be Quax, Wood & Denise Krum

    Disclaimer I am a hard right classical liberal so no one say I support the left but as an economist they reactionaries above have to go.

  2. I share your enthusiasm for pragmatism over ideology, Ben, but then – how do you reconcile this with your support for an ideologically driven (‘compact city’; ‘rural-urban boundary’; ‘70% growth-by-intensification’) plan? Surely a pragmatic plan would take into consideration some realties of Auckland’s geography, history, culture and economy?

    1. Very valid points Dushko and something I should probably blog on as an extension to this post.

      That said (and I have pencilled this down) the best time to do this is when Judge Kirkpatrick has released the recommendations for the Unitary Plan.

      So for now – I/we hold on that (and yes the UP could have been done a lot better).

  3. Which I suppose answers the question as to why national politics doesn’t work at a local level. Or is it only the National Party that doesn’t work at local level?

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