The challenges ahead for the big city Mayors

October 14th, 2013 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Auckland

Len Brown won 48% of the vote compared to 32% for John Palino. Stephen Berry a libertarian candidate came third with 4.0% and 13,500 votes. Penny Bright was 4th on 3.4% and 11,619 votes ahead of John Minto on 11,436. The fact Minto got less votes than Penny is somewhat telling!

So Brown has a pretty strong mandate. Palino did pretty well for someone with no previous political experience. Would have been interesting if Maurice Williamson had stood.

Len’s biggest challenge will be his Council. The centre-right picked up a seat in Waitakere and Maungakiekie-Tamaki. However that may be compensated by a loss in Whau which has a 48 seat margin for now. Brown generally could get his policies through in his first term. He also managed a pretty good relationship with the Government, and got them to agree to eventually fund the City Rail Loop. But the loss of Northey on Council is a blow, and if Brewer starts to articulate an alternate strategy, he will be the person in watch in 2016.

Other challenges will be around implementing the Housing Accord, keeping future rates increases down, the unitary plan and political management of issues such as berms which can crop up.

Hamilton

Julia Hardaker is the first Mayor to win re-election in around 20 years. She got 42% of the vote, ahead of Ewen Wilson on 34% – so a healthy 8% margin.

There are no big policy issues for Hamilton (now that the public have settled the fluoride debate) and Hardaker has been competent as improving the performance of the Council, and showing fiscal responsibility.

Her Council has changed a bit and a couple of sensible people got elected to it. The two hard core lefties of Gallagher and Macpherson will continue to undermine, as will Ewan Wilson who has already declared that he is standing again against Hardaker in 2016. It says something that he has said he is standing regardless of how well she performs in the next three years.

Hardaker needs to not worry too much about the troublemakers and continue to focus on improving the Council’s performance. However good sound management only gets you so far in politics, so she also needs to consider whether there are a couple of initiatives that she can champion to get people behind.

Wellington

Celia Wade-Brown got 38% of first preferences and won by 4.4% against John Morrison. She is rather fortunate to get re-elected considering the high level of discontent over the Council’s performance. A lack-lustre campaign by Morrison helped her considerably.

The Council composition (including her) is now Green 4, Labour 2, Centrists 5, Leftists 1, Righties 3. The left has seven clear votes out of 15 and others like Justin Lester who often vote left. If her political management improves she should be able to actually get some policy wins through Council. The Green caucus of four Councillors could prove quite potent – but they may provoke a backlash if they turn the Council into a roadblock for development.

Losing Morrison and Pepperell off the Council is a boon for her (for quite different reasons). Her first challenge is to appoint a Deputy Mayor and allocate Council committee chairs. Can she get Council working relatively cohesively?

Christchurch

As expected Lianne Dalziel won easily, with 72% to 23% for Paul Lonsdale. She has a huge mandate, but not an unconditional one in that she had no major opponent.

Dalziel also has a supportive Council with Labour winning six out of 13 Council seats. Vicki Buck is former Labour so Dalziel should be able to get almost everything she wants through her Council unless she stuffs up badly.

Her major challenges are related. They are to restore confidence in the competence of the Council so that the thought of it taking over full governance of the city after 2015 doesn’t cause resident to wake up screaming with nightmares. The consenting fiasco shows there is a long way to go. The other challenge is her relationship with the Government, especially Gerry Brownlee. If she drives the Council towards competence, then it should be relatively easy for the Government to start to transfer functions back to it in a year or two. If however Dalziel doesn’t sort out her own backyard and just attacks the Government (as many of her Councillors will want her to do), then the relationship is likely to be hugely abrasive.

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36 Responses to “The challenges ahead for the big city Mayors”

  1. Colville (1,767 comments) says:

    How can the lefty Brown say he has a mandate he didnt get 50.1 % ! we need a referendum for every thing he wants to do!

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  2. berend (1,599 comments) says:

    Only about 15% of the eligible voters in Auckland voted for Len. If that’s consent by the governed, I’m really sorry.

    How about we get that option: none of the above? Then we can really distinguish between the not-interested, and the people who feel they have no choice.

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  3. first time caller (384 comments) says:

    Celia said her top priority was a living wage, thank god I don’t pay rates in Wellington.

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  4. rouppe (852 comments) says:

    Celia has already said she is going to focus on “a living wage for council staff”.

    I guess it’s easy to do that when its not your own money that has to be used.

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  5. Redbaiter (6,464 comments) says:

    If God had not meant them to be sheared, he would not have made them sheep

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  6. mikenmild (8,721 comments) says:

    ‘berms can crop up’ – depends on what you plant on them I suppose.

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  7. dime (8,746 comments) says:

    Penny Bright was 4th? LMAO

    Berend – we are basically powerless when it comes to local govt.

    Why isnt national involved?

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  8. s.russell (1,486 comments) says:

    I am really disappointed by the Wellington result and fear for the city’s future. I am more optimistic about Christchurch though. As a Labour MP it was Dalziel’s job to attack the Govt at every opportunity. As mayor, her job is to work constructively with it. So there is hope that her behaviour might change rather drastically. I’ll keep my fingers crossed anyway. The shift in the balance on the Auckland council makes that a more hopeful result that expected, and things might even turn out moderately OK.

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  9. RRM (8,988 comments) says:

    The fact Minto got less votes than Penny is somewhat telling!

    Err… one extreme pinko nutter got slightly more votes than another extreme pinko nutter?

    All that tells me, is Hone Harawira may have picked the wrong extreme pinko nutter to form a party with…

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  10. Rick Rowling (776 comments) says:

    Can we expect the No Asset Sales brigade to apply their “no mandate” maths to Celia & Len’s results?

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  11. Alan (907 comments) says:

    If the right ever wants to win again in Auckland it needs to come up with a different style of candidate.

    Tall, white, rich men from the inner eastern suburbs aren’t a demographic that are going to win across the wider city, they gather close to zero votes in the south and west. It’s impossible to win without getting a base of votes everywhere.

    Brewer clearly sat out this year in preparation for running next time, I don’t think it works. The right needs a candidate with a bit of a back story or an ethnic angle.

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  12. RRM (8,988 comments) says:

    Celia has already said she is going to focus on “a living wage for council staff”.

    I thought council got rid of most of them during one of Incompetent Wade-Fuckwit’s “asleep at the wheel” episodes?

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  13. Rich Prick (1,319 comments) says:

    11,619 Auckland voters need psychiatric help.

    Interestingly, in Wellington, the Greens now come out of the closet. They were apparently all “Independents” for the campaign.

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  14. berend (1,599 comments) says:

    Alan: If the right ever wants to win again in Auckland it needs to come up with a different style of candidate.

    Sure? Look at my ward, Otara: for council I only got independents (secret code for leftie), Communist League, Mana Movement, and Labour.

    We don’t even have a candidate.

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  15. hj (5,674 comments) says:

    What has Canterbury Unite council got up it’s sleave given that it is championed by developerHugh Pavletich (“Chch could have had 500,00 people by now”) promoter of the Houston model:

    For 14 years, I have had to listen to the frustration and disbelief of professionals with major companies who are transferring to Houston ask me, “What do you mean you don’t have zoning?” Incoming homebuyers have become increasingly cautious about their purchases because our regulations are weak. To suggest that Houston is in danger of overregulation in development is laughable if not an outright lie.
    When potential buyers see three- and four-story town-homes and four- to five-story midrises adjacent to and crowding one- and two-story single-family homes, they take a pass. It then becomes a challenge to find a relatively “safe” neighborhood with deed restrictions, or a separate city such as West University or Southside with a property that meets my customers’ needs.
    Unregulated residential construction on top of active railroads, freeways and busy commercial streets is the norm at this time, not the exception.
    Excessive regulation is an economic danger? If I may quote the great poet, John Milton, “License they mean when they cry liberty!”
    DORIS MURDOCK
    Realtor, Houston

    http://www.chron.com/opinion/outlook/article/Letters-Lanier-s-push-for-builders-1781173.php

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  16. Redbaiter (6,464 comments) says:

    “Otara: for council I only got independents (secret code for leftie), Communist League, Mana Movement, and Labour.”

    In NZ, that is the right.

    As a matter of fact, the way its going, pretty soon Labour will soon be generally recognised as “far right”.

    Never mind, sooner we go broke sooner we get sane.

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  17. hj (5,674 comments) says:

    Finance company collapses, leaky homes. Business interests not the flavour of the times.

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  18. Fentex (656 comments) says:

    She has a huge mandate, but not an unconditional one in that she had no major opponent.

    An interesting turn of phrase from someone who argues the National governments thin negotiated majority is a clear mandate for it’s policies.

    It’s odd logic that apparently sees over-whelming success and favour an indicator of less support than a narrow and negotiated alliances thin majority.

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  19. scrubone (2,971 comments) says:

    Dunedin: Needs to make it onto “major cities” lists again.

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  20. davidp (3,319 comments) says:

    Alan>Tall, white, rich men from the inner eastern suburbs aren’t a demographic that are going to win across the wider city, they gather close to zero votes in the south and west.

    I have no idea how tall the winner was. But he was a white rich man who lives in a McMansion in a semi-rural area on the outskirts of the city.

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  21. rouppe (852 comments) says:

    I thought council got rid of most of them during one of Incompetent Wade-Fuckwit’s “asleep at the wheel” episodes?

    Nah, that was just one service, and they were simply outsourced. They are still “staff” from a leftie’s point of view. Remember, Cunliffe wants a living wage for contractors too…

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  22. Kovac (28 comments) says:

    I don’t think I would call the fluoride debate settled.

    The anti-fluoride groups are already declaring that there is no mandate to add it back despite the referendum.

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  23. alwyn (359 comments) says:

    I thought it would take until at least Wednesday before the bloody Greens in Wellington re-opened the construction of a fly-over at the Basin Reserve again. That and the ridiculous idea of building a totally uneconomic light rail system seems to totally consume their blinkered minds.
    Did it take that long? Not a chance. I opened this morning’s paper and discover the raving loon Sue Kedgely, elected to the Regional Council is already demanding that it be built, regardless of cost. What did the Ratepayers of Wellington do to deserve this pack of nuts being inflicted on us by the non-ratepaying fruitloops at our educational institutes?
    A more hopeful thought is that we may be rid of the lifetime trougher Helene Ritchie from the City Council. She is stilll there by about 30 votes but perhaps the special votes will be kind to us. She also ran and got on the Regional Council and the DHB but more paid positions for Helene has always been her motto.

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  24. edhunter (434 comments) says:

    Looking at the voter turn out across the country it would appear apathy is alive & well, maybe the aussies have it right with compulsory voting?

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  25. backster (2,000 comments) says:

    Penny would be welcome in Wellington as a moderating influence on the Regional Council and District Health Board given it’s current domination by Chris Laidlaw, Sue Kedgley and Helene Ritchie . The Marx brothers wouyld inspire greater confidence.

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  26. blondewithaniq (18 comments) says:

    The only people who need psychiatric help as far as I can see are some of the same old vituperative repeat offenders on here and in whaleoil’s pirahana pool. The same kind who thankfully lost Banks the last election, and helped no end on Waiheke over the weekend in getting rid of a whole local board of far right rotten deadwood.. Do keep on sputtering your bile toward people like Penny and John, the Greens, Labour, Mana and people who really are nauseated by your frothing ad hominem attacks but also see it as self loathing!
    Backing ‘manufactured’ corporate sock puppets like poor John Palino who think mayoral public service is actually akin to owning restaurants which he profits from, smacked of real desperation…
    I almost penned a song!
    No John get a new mentor!
    Mr Slater really cocked that campaign up didn’t he?
    Delighted to see despite the lower voter turnout that the positively stroppy, politcally savvy women message resonated so well for Penny..She is the least Pink person I know and some of you are so colourblind it is actually funny..

    The days of the grumpy old men and their stormtrooper skirted equivalents and cheerleaders are on the wane now..
    Keep it up though, you are a gift that keeps on giving when examples are needed for the generations to follow, as to how NOT to do things!

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  27. Morgy (167 comments) says:

    Have you got a bio there blondwithaniq. I would love to know the background of someone who puts Penny Bright on a pedestal.

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  28. RRM (8,988 comments) says:

    Brief comparative analysis of the writing style suggests blondewithaniq IS Penny Bright…

    Loser: Auckland Mayoralty Elections 2013

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  29. Morgy (167 comments) says:

    ahh. that explains it. Doesn’t explain the 10,000+ who ticked YES PLEASE! I want her to lead my city!!

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  30. Rich Prick (1,319 comments) says:

    blondwithaniq, that’s just funny.

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  31. Pete George (21,796 comments) says:

    Dunedin: Needs to make it onto “major cities” lists again.

    I don’t see that happening in the next three years. A wishy washy Green mayor who will probably choose the same nearly anonymous green leaning deputy mayor, most ‘Greater Dunedin’ leadership coming from a young Green colleague, and with the addition of a Green councillor plus another environmentalist councillor.

    We’ll get a good idea of where Dunedin is headed soon through what could be a defining issue of the term – DCC consultation on oil and gas exploration

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  32. Camryn (549 comments) says:

    I notice Len Brown committed to strongly investigating income tax as a basis for funding Auckland *after* voting was all but over. That’ll be a big issue to deal with since (i) it seems like a classic attempt to dodge his promise to keep rates down by shifting to a different basis and (ii) it’ll be a horrendous idea to a lot of people across the political spectrum.

    He said that rates aren’t fair because there are only 500,000 rated properties in the city… but everyone who lives in the city must be in one of those properties, so everyone is paying rates either directly or via rent.

    He said rates aren’t fair because old people sometimes own large valuable properties but are cash poor… but assets can be converted to cash (e.g. via reverse mortgage) or, better yet, sold to someone with income earning capacity so that the person with the job can live near the job and the retired person can buy a smaller and lower rated property somewhere on the fringes with a beach or a park or whatever.

    He’s still being a leftie in that he’s (i) trying to insulate people from having to make rational economic decisions, while (ii) creating distortions that’re doomed to failure. But he’s simultaneously going to annoy the left by creating a new tax on income… a clear impediment to those that’re asset poor ever being able to address that.

    I guess an income tax would address the need for extra cash to fund growth… there wouldn’t be growth. Property prices would grow even higher and things that can move (jobs, people) would leave the city to avoid those property prices and the direct taxes on their activities. Therefore, no need for new trains or whatever.

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  33. tvb (3,937 comments) says:

    Dalziel would be wise the engage constructively with the Government and provide Leadership to her Council on that issue. That seems to be the message from the voters.

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  34. noskire (796 comments) says:

    What about Invercargill? Ah, that’s right, not one feckin cares.

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  35. Stephen Berry (3 comments) says:

    I’m very pleased with the result I got and grateful to those Aucklanders who took a punt. Affordable Auckland is going to be a constant presence through the next Council term and we’ll be back, bigger than ever, in the 2016 election!

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  36. freemark (321 comments) says:

    Hi Jax :)
    Penny did get a few votes didn’t she? Possibly a few of the “Postie” ones from our fair Isle as well..my calculations on apparent voter turnout compared to Auckland would indicate around 500 “specials”. But her and John were both beaten by a Libertarian, so there is hope yet.
    Catch ya somewhere.

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