Mayoral Northern Club Membership

December 20th, 2007 at 9:59 am by David Farrar

Aaron Bhatnagar blogs on how it turns out Dick Hubbard had ratepayers pay for his Northern Club Membership.

What is really stupid about this is that the Mayor is always given honorary membership of the Auckland Club, which automatically gives you reciprocal rights to the Northern Club.  So the perk wasn’t even needed.

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Auckland City politics

December 17th, 2007 at 7:41 am by David Farrar

Two good items from Cr Bhatnagar.

First he details how City Vision thought they could score some points by trying to perkbust something insignificant but symbolic such as the Koru Club cards for Councillors. They probably thought the C&R majority would resist. but not only did C&R vote to get rid of them, they commissioned a report on how the perk came about – and it was Hubbard and Hucker who introduced them in the last term. Wonderful own goal!

The other issue is more important, and that is the Council’s role in housing. I think Aaron has summed it up succintly:

C&R believes in trying to keep rates affordable for the many, rather than subsidising 100 houses for a few. In some ways, what we had last night was a clear contrast in ideology between the left and the right, so no surprises the passions were a little inflamed at times.

They were elected with a very clear mandate to reduce the amount rates have been rising by, and housing is very clearly a core responsibility of central Government. Local Government’s role is to set the rules around housing, not to be a landlord in my opinion.

Otherwise why not also have ratepayers start to fund local schools and hospitals also?

Now some could argue welfare, health and housing should not just be a central government concern, but a shared responsibility. That is a legitimate view. But the problem I have with that is it lessens accountability.

The more local government intervenes in the areas that traditionally are central Government’s the more it lets central Government off the hook. Because they can then blame local authorities for not contributing enough to schools or hospitals or houses in their area.

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Santa and Falun Gong

November 23rd, 2007 at 10:48 am by David Farrar

There was a post yesterday on the Auckland City Vision blog, that I actually agreed with.  That’s noteworthy enough to blog!

They are calling on the Auckland Santa Parade organisers to allow the Falun Gong “Divine Land Marching Band” to take part.

I totally agree. I think it is disgraceful that we self censor ourselves to keep the PRC happy.

Now I wondered what the views of the C&R Councillors would be, especially as one of their own (Michael Barnett) is the Parade Chairman.

I was pleased to find that Aaron Bhatnagar had actually beaten City Vision to it, by blogging on Tuesday that he disagreed with his colleague, and explaining why.

In fact I have to give big kudos to Aaron for keeping the blog going, as a Councillor.  It’s a great way to be accountable, and also to educate people on the issues.  With the election itself over, it’s a great insight into the issues facing the Council – such as this post on what it means to keep rates increases down to inflation.

Also I did have a chuckle at his post showing off the billboards that the John Banks campaign thought up, but didn’t use.

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Wayne Brown takes charge

November 6th, 2007 at 8:55 am by David Farrar

I can only admire Wayne Brown’s style as the new Mayor of Far North.  First of all we have his message to staff:

Promising “a massive cultural change”, he said staff were to “listen, ring back, help ratepayers, not hinder, look for solutions, not arguments”.

They were never to “insult, infuriate or demonise” ratepayers. Picking on the poor and disabled was not acceptable.

Apologies had to be made for stupid behaviour and mistakes – “and there have been plenty” – approvals should be sought rather than hearings, lawyers should be avoided, and plain English or Maori used where possible to inject “some special flavour” of the district.

Wayne Brown for King I say!

But then it gets even better:

Mr Brown, the outgoing Auckland District Health Board chairman and a Mangonui resident, scrapped all committees other than “a much-needed” audit and finance panel, which did not exist under the last council.

He scrapped every single committee!!  I wonder if in a year people will wonder what they ever did!

And then he looks at cost savings:

All council costs are to be reviewed to ensure they’re at least as low as in the private sector. All council meetings, both official and staff only, will be questioned for their “value” and more use made of “modern communications” to reduce staff, councillor and public travel.

Far North may end up with a Council which cuts rates!

After Wayne has had two terms up North, we should rotate him around the country!

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Improving Local Body Election Turnout

November 1st, 2007 at 9:09 am by David Farrar

The turnout for the local body elections was 41% of those on the electoral roll, down from 46% three years ago.  This suggests a real disconnect.

One thing which may help improve turnout is to allow voting via the Internet, as Peter Griffin advocates. I certainly support this and it should be used in 2010.  Those who raise security concerns should look at the lack of authentication with current voting.  No ID proof needed to enrol.  No proof of ID to cast a vote in person.  No authentication for postal votes.

But I think the problem goes far beyond how people vote.  I think it comes back to basic questions about whether people really make informed choices for local body elections, as oppossed to merely going off name recognition.

I probably follow the politics of my local city council, regional council and health board more than 99% of the population.  Yet even I often am having to vote for people on the basis of how well written their 200 word official blurb is, or on a faint impression of them.

So let us look at a system which does work fairly well – electing Parliament.  Why does that get a far higher turnout and reflect a better informed choice than local body? Well, partly because one is making far simpler choices, on far more information.

Basically we get asked only two things every three years.  Which party do we prefer, and which which person do we want as our local MP?  Now over the three year cycle there will have been a political story every day on TV, and two or three in the print press.  Even the most turned off from politics person gets enough saturation to be able to have a party preference.  They can use this as a candidate preference also.

Now look at what we ask for local elections?  We expect people to choose not only a Mayor, but select or rank three city councillors, half a dozen regional councillors and half a dozen DHB members. Hell, if I struggle on making informed choices for all of these, no wonder so many don’t vote.

So it occurs to me the trick is to keep it simple stupid. Have smaller wards with just one Councillor per ward.  People are asked to simply select the person they most want as their local body representative.  That will be a lot easier for voters – most people have at least one candidate they know enough about to select.  It also means the local Councillor is the sole representative for that area – so people know who to go to for assistance or issues.

Now there would be two ways to do this.  Using Wellington as an example, one would split the five City wards into say 15 wards and each suburb would effectively be a ward.  So I would vote for one Thorndon Councillor instead of three Lampton Councillors.

Another way would be to merge regional and local councils, and if you had one Council for Greater Wellington, then you’d have five wards in Wellington City, two or three in the Hutt, a couple in Mana, one in Kapiti and one in Wairarapa.

I’d abolish DHB elections.  They’re a sham and just about deluding the public into thinking there is local control, when in fact all major decisions are made by central Government.  DHBs are just fall guys.

So in my ideal system, you’d be asked to make just two selections.  Who do you want as Mayor of Wellington and who do you want as the local Councillor for Thorndon/Lampton? If that is all people are asked, I predict you’ll get a significantly higher voter turnout, and just as importantly far more informed decisions.

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Fran back in charge

October 31st, 2007 at 8:08 am by David Farrar

It will be a good thing for Wellington to have Fran Wilde in charge, with her election as Chair of the Wellington Regional Council.

One has to feel a bit sorry for Ian Buchanan who lost the job to Fran.  he had been from all accounts a decent enough Chair, but the reality is that Fran is a big hitter who can achieve more due to her experience and networks.

Fran is committed to making Transmission Gully happen on timetable, not that it has been agreed to by the major parties.  This is vitally important as any delays increase costs massively which then cause the viability of the decision to proceed to be questioned.

Also good to see Ian McKinnon elected Deputy Mayor of Wellington last night.  Ian is a very decent and dedicated Councillor, who will perform the role well.  He is also a potential replacement for Kerry when she retires at the end of this term.

If anyone has details of what the vote for Deputy Mayor was, I’d be interested to know that.  I understand it was fairly close.

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Full Results for Wellington City Council

October 29th, 2007 at 2:52 pm by David Farrar

Wellington City Council has now put online the full results for its STV counts.  Starting with the Mayoralty:

Kerry Predergast got 34.9% of first preferences.  Now thatmay not sound much but in second place was Ray Ahipene-Mercer who had a mere 13.5%.  Now what happens as the losing candidates drop off.

When Nick Kelly dropped out, the biggest beneficiary was Helene Ritchie who got 12.3% of his 988 votes, along with Carl Gifford. John McGarth dropped out on the 5th iteration and his 3,473 votes went most of all to Kerry who got 21.7% of them with Goulden picking up 14.% and then Ahipene-Mercer 10.4%.  That is quite logical – mainly CR vote staying on the CR.

Goulden drops out 6th and his support splits almost four qays equally. Kerry gets 15.5%, Ahipene-Mercer 14.9%, Ruben 14.8% and Papperell 14.,5%.  10% went to Ricthie and 31% went nowhere (no further candidates ranked).

Ruben drops out 7th and Pepperll picks up 23.7% followed by Ritchie on 16.6%.  Kerry gets only 11.1%.  Again very logical.

Finally Ritchie falls out and 23.4% of her vote goes to Pepperll, 19.8% to Ahipene-Mercer and 17.7% to Kerry. 39% exhausted their ballots at this stage.

In the final iteration Kerry is left with 51.0% of the remaining vote, Ahipene-Mercer with 25.4% and Peperell with 23.6%.  The vote share for Kerry Predergast and Ray Ahipene-Mercer at each iteration was:

  1. 34.9% to 13.5%
  2. 35.2% to 13.8%
  3. 35.6% to 14.1%
  4. 26.2% to 14.5%
  5. 37.0% to 15.3%
  6. 39.3% to 16.3%
  7. 41.7% to 18.1%
  8. 44.7% to 20.5%
  9. 51.0% to 25.4%

I don’t have the data on what would have happened if they needed a 10th iteration, with Peperell dropping out also.  But looking at the other iterations, I think it would have been at least a 60% to 40% result.

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Christchurch City Council offices

October 15th, 2007 at 5:02 am by David Farrar

Dean Knight blogs his disapproval of the decision of Christchurch City Council to lease new premises, a couple of days before the election.  Dean is a lawyer and covers the legal angle well.

I agree that they should not have voted on an issue like this so close to the election. In fact they voted after most people had voted, which makes it worse.

I wonder if a solution is to dissolve Councils once nominations for the elections close?

I mean the country survives very well with no Parliament for a couple of months.  I am sure a city can survive being in caretaker mode for six weeks or so.

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Jenny Rowan

October 14th, 2007 at 9:32 pm by David Farrar

I am quite puzzled by Lucyna’s post at NZ Conservative on the election of Jenny Rowan as Kapiti Coast Mayor. She says:

Well, as a voter in the Kapiti Coast District, I can say that I had absolutely no idea Jenny Rowan was an ‘out’ lesbian. Had I known she was a lesbian, I would not have put her down at number 2 on my voting form. As she never campaigned using “vote for me, I’m a lesbian”, I wouldn’t be surprised if many other Kapiti voters also had no idea. I also would not be surprised if she only lasts one term.

Well it is quite correct that Rowan did not campaign on the basis you should vote for her as she is a lesbian.  To quote the Herald on Sunday:

Openly lesbian, though determinedly not campaigning as such _ “it’s got nothing to do with me being mayor”

Now I think this is a commendable attitude. I didn’t vote for Kerry Prendergast because she is heterosexual, and I think it is great to have the sort of society where a candidate’s sexual orientation is about as interesting as their hair colour.

Not that it would have been hard for Lucyna to find out Jenny was a lesbian.  A quick Google search on her name has a reference in the top five hits.  Also on Jenny’s website she mentions her partner is Jools.

So while she did not campaign on it, she certainly didn’t hide it. What more does Lucyna want?  For her to warn people with a flashing homo alert badge at public meetings? Does she really believe that her sexual orientation alone is enough to get her thrown out of office after one term – regardless of how well she performs the job?

Later on, Lucyna makes a comment that:

Anyone who is sexually depraved is less likely to be able to make decisions for the good of all.

Now Lucyna obviously believes this and I don’t think there is much point debating a belief like that, but really to apply it as a litmus test where you won’t consider them at all, regardless of all the other qualities they may have?  Isn’t that rather umm
extreme?

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Recovering

October 14th, 2007 at 3:08 pm by David Farrar

Oh that was a good night (and day). We started off at the Play House at midday, and stayed there until 5 pm. That was the C&R function. Then we had the Banks function at Quality Inn Westend in Grey Lynn. That went through until midnight.

Now I had done the sensible thing and booked a room at the hotel, so I could crash easily and get up in time for my radio interview at 10 am. But sadly common sense went out the window when a bit after midnight someone suggested we head into town to do Karaoke. Yes, never a good idea. So we headed into town, and then ended up in a friend’s apartment at the Viaduct. Now this apartment was superbly located – above Soul Bar – so great view of the viaduct and beyond.

Eventually my survival instinct kicked in and I headed back to Grey Lynn. Not sure what time it was. Got woken up at 9.15 am (luckily) by Cameron needing to grab his gear he’d left in the room. Realise I have 30 minutes to get to Radio NZ. This is no mean feat. Especially as my condition could well be described as less than 100%. In fact somewhere around 10%.

On the way ring up a friend who may have a stat or two I want on the public service. She informs me I managed to ring her during the final minute of the World Cup semi-final. Whoops.

Anyway it was great to be such a fun election night party. To be honest not had a decent election night party since 1990. In 1993 it was pretty sober as office was almost lost. In 1996 Winston won (the real party came two months later when he made his choice). And 1999, 2002 and 2005 speak for themselves. 2002 especially was bloody miserable.

So while it is only local body politics, was nice to have some good results to celebrate.  Some photos from the bashes, taken on Whale Oil’s new iPhone.  I tell you, they are great (unlike the quality of the photos) and I can’t wait to get one!

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Newly elected Crs Goldsmith and Bhatnagar with MP Jackie Blue.

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Banks getting an update.

Incidentally his win, dents my record for predictions as back in February 2006 I said “Any possibility John Banks had of becoming Auckland Mayor again, has I suspect died with his idiotic comment on his talkback show that the Robert Hewitt survivial story is a hoax.” To be fair to me I had changed my mind by the end of 2006 as the Hubbard and City Vision fiascos continued.

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Cameron Brewer and myself.  I think at one point in the evening I told Cameron that before he became Newmarket Business Association CEO, I wouldn’t have known if Newmarket even had a corner dairy :-)

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Re-elected Manukau Councillor Jami-Lee Ross and his partner who also got elected onto a community board.

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Herald on Sunday Gossip Editor Rachel Glucina was a good sport and agreed to pose for a photo. She says she is a keen blog reader!

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Wellington City Council

October 14th, 2007 at 10:57 am by David Farrar

Finally have results for Wellington.  As expected Kerry Prendergast was re-elected.  What I find more interesting is the order in which people dropped off.

Now the vote totals don’t mean much, because of the way votes are redistributed, but it does look like a much larger victory for Kerry than last time – she avoided going into a final two person run-off, as in the 9th iteration she had more than Ahipene-Mercer and Pepperell combined.

John McGrath did very badly, being the first serious candidate to drop off. Rob Goulden also did far worse than last time.

The big winner, apart from Kerry, is Ray Ahipene-Mercer who came second.  He will be a major contender next time and he also may become Deputy Mayor as Alick Shaw lost his seat.

On Council, the results are:

Northern – Hayley Wain will be delighted by topping the poll, with Helene Ritchie a distant second.  Former Councillor Ngaire Best got re-elected, but at the expense of her former colleague Robert Armstrong.

Onslow-Western – I’m delighted Jo Coughlan got elected, and even better she replaced Jack Ruben.  Andy Foster and John Morrison got re-elected, which is no surprise.

Lambton – The big news is that Deputy Mayor Alick Shaw lost his seat, and lost heavily.  Fairly harsh for a hard working and dedicated guy, but I suspect what has happened is that despite being on the Labour ticket he was not supported by many on the left, while the Labour affiliation also turned off those on the right. He may have done better as an Independent.  Iona Pannett won, and I am not really surprised.  She did campaign very hard and even door knocked on my door.  Her left wing vote will be somewhat balanced by Jo Coughlan replacing Jack Ruben, so overall balance on Council not changed much.

Eastern – The incumbents of Ray Ahipene-Mercer, Rob Goulden and Leonie Hill all returned as expected.  Goulden was third which will concern him as he stood for Mayor also.

Southern – Again incumbents returned in Celia Wade-Brown and Bryan Pepperell.  No-one else came close.

Overall the Council may be less divided than previously.  The “disruptors” have not done very well, and lost one of their number.  Also Alick could be a bit inflammatory himself, responding to them, so his departure may lessen temperatures.  But on the other hand if this is Kerry’s last term expect some posturing as people seek profile so they can win next time.

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Other NI Results

October 13th, 2007 at 1:47 pm by David Farrar

Former MP Bob Simcock has just been elected Hamilton Mayor with three times as many votes as his closest rival.

However current Labour MP Di Yates failed to even win one of the six Council seats in the Hamilton East ward. How embarrassing!!

Stuff has a useful summary of results and fuller results.

Good to see Lawrence Yule easily back in Hastings. He won by around 2:1.

David Ogden has benefited from vote splitting in Hutt City and won re-election with 7,137 just ahead of Ray Wallace.  Ken Laban only a bit further back than that.  I actually thought Laban wouldn’t be a bad choice, even though he’s Labour.

Jenny Rowan has won Kapita with Alan Milne retiring.

Former ACT MP Penny Webster has won the Mayoralty of Rodney.  Well done Penny.

Michael Laws has a pretty good 3,000 margin in his re-election, and over 50% of the vote.  His ticket though doesn’t seem to have a majority.

For Wellington Regional Council, the likely winners for Wellington City ward are Chris Laidlaw, Fran Wilde, Judith Aitken, Sally Baber and Paul Bruce.

Wellington City results not yet known, again thanks to STV.

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South Island Results

October 13th, 2007 at 12:38 pm by David Farrar

Bob Parker has won the Christchurch Mayoralty. Exact figures not yet known.

1.43 – Parker 46,000, Wood 31,000. So much for a close race.

Results now online.

Jo Giles (former ACT) also got 14,000 votes for Mayor so CR Mayoral candidates did very well. The street cleaner got a massive 4,500 votes. Superb. Kyle Chapman got 673 and is third to last. Pity.

Tony Milne missed out on Council but got a creditable third place just 700 votes back. People say he campaigned very hard.

The Councillors are:

Independent – 7
Independent Citizens – 3
Chch 2021 – 2

Most of the independents are moderate to centre right, so not a good result for Christchurch 2021.

The Buller Mayor, Pat O’Dea has been defeated. He has been Mayor forever – he was Mayor when I was at university with his nephew 20 years ago!

Shadbolt has easily won again in Invercargill. No Dunedin result yet thanks to STV, but Peter Chin will win I am sure.

What’s interesting is that the five major cities – Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin are now headed by Mayors who are not from the left. In fact three of them are former National MPs or candidates!

Just looking at Canterbury Regional Council results. The Labour aligned Christchurch 2021 ticket won only two out of the eight positions they contested.  This may make it difficult for Kerry Burke to hang on as Chair.

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Other Northern Results

October 13th, 2007 at 12:26 pm by David Farrar

Massive upset in North Shire with an anti rates increase candidate, Andrew Williams, beating Mayor George Wood by 1,700 votes.

Also in Far North Wayne Brown has crushed incumbent Yvonne Sharp with 8,894 to her 4,674.

Incumbent Mayors who had presided over spend and tax/rate binges are being punished big time.

In Manukau Len Brown has won as expected. A massive margin of 14,000 over Dick Quax. Arthur Anae did better than many expected to come third with 10,000. Willie Jackon right back in 4th on 7,400.

Up North, Whangarei’s Mayor Yvonne Sharp has also been thrashed by former Mayor Stan Semenoff who got 11,651 to her 5,951.

As expected Bob Harvey won in Waitakere, but Tamihere got around 75% of what Harvey got.  I suspect if Tamihere had declared several months earlier, it would have been significantly closer.  It’s a pretty good result for Tamihere all things considered.

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Auckland City Council Results

October 13th, 2007 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

12.55 – Just heard Banks by 10,000 votes!!

Also C&R won all seats in Hobson and Avondale-Roskill.

1.02 – City Vision and allies are being routed. With some results to come in, C&R and Banks already have a majority on Council. 12/20 from our initial results.

1.09 – Ward results are C&R have 2/2 in Eastern Bays, 4/4 in Avondale-Roskill, 3/3 Hobson, 1 in Tamaki (Sam) and 1 in Western Bays. None in Eden-Albert due to vote splitting.

On ARC, C&R have won 3/4 in Akl City, Christine Rankin has won in North Shore.

1.12 – Banks 44,085, Hubbard 33,786, Crow 4,948, Hinchliff 4,956, Swney 10,169.

1.14 – results now online.

1.17 – Faye Storer from Waiheke Island has lost by 11 votes to Denise Roche

5.25 – the C&R function is now over, and at 7 pm the Banks function starts.   As one can expect everyone is delighted, or stronger.  No-one expected the left would be reduced to five seats on Council.  Also the fact that even Mike Lee just held on to his ARC seat, and was the bottom polling Regional Councillor in his ward.  It will be interesting to see if he will be able to hold onto the Chairmanship over Michael Barnett who won far more votes than him in their ward.

Lots of thank you speeches from various people.   Aaron Bhatnagar held out for special praise for all his work both on the strategy, but also by personally topping Hobson Ward.

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Local Body Results

October 13th, 2007 at 8:30 am by David Farrar

I’ll spend most of today blogging the local body results I find interesting.  Will be up in Auckland this pm, so will especially be interested in the races up there.

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Mayoralty Polls

October 12th, 2007 at 9:23 am by David Farrar

A lot of searching has dug up the following public Mayoralty polls. I’ve included them in also as a special section in the polling newsletter.

If I’ve missed any out, feel free to add them in as comments.

Waitakere: Herald Digipoll has Bob Harvey on 49% and John Tamihere on 32%

Auckland: Herald Digipoll has John Banks on 44% and Dick Hubbard on 35%

North Shore: Herald Digipoll has George Wood on 63% and Andrew Williams on 15%

Manukau: Herald Digipoll has Len Brown on 29%, Dick Quax 22% and Willie Jackson 16%

Hamilton: Waikato Times/Versus has Bob Simcock on 24% and then Roger Hennebry on 7%.

Christchurch: A Press/Opinions poll has Bob Parker on 42% and Megan Woods on 24%..

Far North: A Northern Advocate/Curia poll found a tight race with 34% for challenge Wayne Brown and 28% for Mayor Yvonne Sharp.

Whangarei: A Northern Advocate/Curia poll has former Mayor Stan Semenoff on 35% and Mayor Pamela Peters trailing on 19%.

South Taranaki: A Western Institute of Technology poll has Bryan Vickery on 10% and Steve Pivac on 9%.

Wanganui: A Wanganui Chronicle/Curia poll found 46% support for Mayor Michael Laws and 28% for John Martin.

Manawatu: A Manawatu Standard/Versus poll has Mayor Heather Tanguay on 38% and Jono Naylor on 30%.

Nelson: Nelson Mail has Kerry Marshall on 18% and 16%

Tasman: Nelson Mail has Richard Kempthorne on 32% incumbent John Hurley on 29%

Dunedin: A Curia poll found Mayor Peter Chin looking to be easily re-elected..

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One million dollars

October 4th, 2007 at 8:24 am by David Farrar

Auckland Mayor Dick Hubbard and Newmarket Business Association Head Cameron Brewer can’t agree on the relative lengths of Queen Street to Broadway, so Cameron has challenged the Mayor to a $1 million wager on the issue.

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Government Advertising

October 3rd, 2007 at 1:06 pm by David Farrar

Dean Knight blogs that having local body advertising such as Wellington City’s IntensCITY week celebration should not happen so close to the local body elections, as it can advantage the incumbents.

Dean is right, and also (perhaps unwittingly) provides the rationale for the old 90 day period for central Government elections.

Traditionally, in the last 90 days, you:

  • stop all Government advertising programmes (and Govt goes into caretaker mode almost)
  • Parliamentary advertising stops except the absolutely banal such as electorate office hours
  • party spending limits kick in

If you get rid of the 90 day period, then you are in a weaker position to say hey that government advertising campaign shouldn’t be happening. Because it is silly to suggest there can be no govt advertising all election year, but it is quite reasonable to restrict it in the lead up to an election.

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Dunedin Mayoralty

September 29th, 2007 at 4:05 pm by David Farrar

The ODT reports on two polls showing incumbent Mayor Peter Chin with a huge lead.

Most of the major races have now had polls published.  Yet to see anything for Christchurch or Wellington though.  Have I missed them or has there been nothing?

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Two more public Curia polls

September 28th, 2007 at 12:15 pm by David Farrar

Curia has had two more local government polls published by media organisations.

The Northern Advocate, Bay Report and Northland Age have published their poll for the Far North Mayoralty, which reveals Wayne Brown is narrowly ahead of incumbent Yvonne Sharp, but it is close.

Less close is the Wanganui Chronicle poll, which Laws Watch has scanned a table from in. Michael Laws is well in the lead.

I did declare to the Editor a potential conflict that Michael got me arrested 13 years ago, but that I was now well over it:-)

Not that I would anyway ever let personal views interfere with providing the best professional service I can.

Interestingly Laws had commissioned his own poll, and the topline results are very similiar.

We’ve also done polling for a number of mayoral candidates (never in the same area as one we are polling for a newspaper) so come election night on the 13th I’ll be following a dozen races with professional interest.

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Auckland building owner threatened over billboard

September 26th, 2007 at 6:15 am by David Farrar

Whale Oil has a disturbing story about how allegedly a building owner who had an anti City Vision billboard on their site was threatened by a City Council Officer to remove the billboard, or their funding will be curtailed.

It is worth noting that the building owner was not the organisation that commissioned the billboard.  They just have the space available for commercial hire.

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A change of tune

September 24th, 2007 at 9:03 pm by David Farrar

2004

“Name calling tactics such as this have absolutely no place in modern day local body politics”

- Dick Hubbard, newspaper advertisement, 19/8/04

2007

“John Banks is a silver-tongued, split-tongue, snake-oil salesman.”

- Dick Hubbard, Panmure candidate meeting, 21/8/07

What’s that word starting with H again?

Hat Tip: Aaron B and Whale Oil

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Other WCC Wards

September 24th, 2007 at 8:41 pm by David Farrar

I’ve had a few people ask me to share my thoughts on the other Wellington City wards, after my main WCC post, so will do so below.

Northern Ward

  1. Robert Armstrong – experienced, hard worker, doesn’t grand stand
  2. Hayley Wain – a new face who has taken her role seriously and deserves a second term
  3. Ngaire Best – a former Councillor, strong community links, sensible
  4. Ian Hutchings – another former Councillor who would be an asset.  Very strong on financial management and useful engineering background.
  5. Roger Ellis – would be a good Councillor but competing with other candidates.  Useful business and community background. Former United Future board member.
  6. Jonathan Fletcher – no profile but has sensible outlook and policies
  7. Tane Woodley – demoted as he goes on about peak oil, otherwise looks ok
  8. Mike Collett – too parochial – only focused on his ward
  9. Jim Candiliotis – no policies
  10. Helene Ritchie – Was sacked by Labour as Deputy Mayor in 1980s, not got better since.

Onslow-Western Ward

  1. Andy Foster – Andy doesn’t need my help to get elected.  Most in his ward know him.  He’s involved in almost every major issue and works hard to get results.
  2. John Morrison – A sensible Councillor and even potential Mayor one day.  Passionate about sports and rec especially but also about keeping costs down.
  3. Jo Coughlan – Jo would be a great Councillor.  Vibrant, intelligent, positive about Wellington and with good business and community experience.  I went to Otago Uni with Jo and she is a great sort.
  4. Jack Ruben – A crusader for causes but not a team player
  5. Pauline Scott – Waffly bio, hard to work out what she would do or vote on.

Eastern Ward

  1. Ray Ahipene-Mercer – don’t agree with him on a few issues, but he is respected for his work, and his willingness to work as part of a team.
  2. Leonie Gill – not a high flyer, but well attuned to local issues.
  3. Ruth Gotlieb – had a good run in the past, but now on DHB also
  4. Rob Goulden – Rob’s policies are generally ones I agree with, but the real concern is his abaility to work with staff, the Mayor and other Councillors.  Rob would be higher if he hadn’t sued his own Council.
  5. Josie Bullock – gets marks for clear policies!
  6. Ian Macfarlane – is on the Executive of Grey Power
  7. Paul Bailey – unknown quantity

Southern Ward (2 spots)

  1.  Celia Wade-Brown – A Green Councillor but a good one.
  2. Rex Nairn- like his focus on accountability for expenditure and debt
  3. Ida Faiumu-Isa’ako – a strong community background
  4. Shelagh Noble – a town planner which can be both good and bad.somewhat wishy washy bio statement
  5. Bryan Pepperell – wants to keep penalising business, rates would skyrocket
  6. Bernie Harris – lots of buzz words, no specifics
  7. Lorraine Edwards -anti aquatic education centre
  8. John Robinson – also oppossed to the aquatic education centre

Community Boards

Won’t give rankings for them, but people who I think should get a high ranking are:

Tawa -  Ngaire Best, Graeme Sutton

Makara/Ohariu -  Andrew Falloon, Christine Grace, Ruth Paul

All just my views of course.  Any candidate who feels hard done by is welcome to make their case in the comments.

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My Wellington votes

September 24th, 2007 at 8:59 am by David Farrar

Well I have the ballot paper, so time to vote.

Wellington City Mayoralty

The Mayoral election is pretty easy for me as I have known Kerry (and Rex) for a long time.  Not that I agree with Kerry on everything the Council has done – I do think spending has been too high, and the opposition to Transmission Gully annoyed me. And don’t even mention the Stock Exchange sign.

But none of the other candidates come close.  John McGrath looked good for a while but when your own brother disassociates himself from you, that’s not a good sign. And I’ve been surprised by the large number of people who have a negative impression of him. But would probably still be No 2 as I don’t believe in voting for candidates who are standing for both Mayor and Council.

Helene Ritchie will be ranked bottom.  People shouldn’t have to ask why. Probable order is:

  1. Kerry Predergast
  2. John McGrath
  3. Ray Ahipene-Mercer – the best of the Councillors standing for Mayor
  4. Rob Goulden – too many conflicts with others
  5. Bryan Pepperell – not a team player
  6. Jack Ruben – provides criticisms not solutions
  7. Nick Wang – single issue candidate
  8. Paul Bailey – unknown
  9. Carl Gifford – unknown
  10. Nick Kelly – communist
  11. Helene Ritchie – her 47th attempt at Mayor

Lambton Ward

I’m going to be a bit boring here and vote for the three incumbents – in order Ian McKinnon, Alick Shaw and Stephanie Cook.  They’re a balanced team with Ian non aligned but from a conservative background, Alick standing for Labour (but sensible) and Stephanie being Alliance/Green background.  All three make a good contribution, even if I obviously disagree with Alick and Stephanie on some issues.

The second Green candidate, Iona Pannett, is campaigning hard.  And I give her kudos that she actually knocked on my door.  But having two out of three Ward Councillors from the Green Party would be unbalanced.   I want a Council that doesn’t go crazy with huge rates increases.

  1. Ian McKinnon
  2. Alick Shaw
  3. Stephanie Cook
  4.  Michael Durrant – for low rates
  5. Iona Pannett – would make the Council unbalanced but prospect for the future
  6. Ed Van Son – little known but focused on core services
  7. Callum Strong – little known, potentially anti all development
  8. Frank Lawton – unknown

Capital & Coast District Health Board

Generally I avoid voting for those actually employed or funded by the DHB, such as Doctors.  They generate terrible conflicts of interest and we have seen elsewhere how badly they get managed.   The seven I would put top are:

  1. Judith Aitken has a good reputation as a sensible administrator
  2. David Chamberlain has useful professional experience also
  3. John Cook – has significant NGO governance experience in the health field
  4. Gordon Strachan – has wide ranging governance experience
  5. Virginia Hope – has a medical background but employed by ESR not CCDHB and has experience on another DHB
  6. Felicity McLennan – looks ok on paper.
  7. Ruth Gotlieb – reliable
  8. Margaret Faulkner – has some useful experience but too ideological
  9. Donald Urquhart-Hay – highly respected doctor, but again some conflict
  10. Hayley Wain – has been a good City Councillor but prefer people serve on just one public board
  11. Kent Clark – made little impact as a Councillor
  12. Trisha Inglis – there just to get more money for Kapiti
  13. Michael Appleby – DHB not the place for Legalise Cannabis politics
  14. Sandra Patton – too ideological
  15. Karen Coutts – too party aligned
  16. Petra Van Den Munckoff – too party aligned and huge numbers of conflicts
  17. Peter Roberts – totally conflicted as employed by DHB, and former head of doctors union
  18. Coltyn Shaw – unqualified
  19. Adrian Webster – a retired and presumably bored “social justice advocate”
  20. Jim Delahunty – beware anyone describing themself as a “health activist”
  21. Helene Ritchie

Wellington Regional Council

We need five Councillors for the Wellington City ward.

  1. Fran Wilde – an superb Mayor, and a real doer.
  2. Judith Aitken – very solid
  3. Mike Gibson – keeps things lively, and is indpendent
  4. Hugh Barr – good conservation focus
  5. Bernard Darnton – would be a good voice for less regulation
  6. Sally Baber – incumbent, not heard anything bad
  7. Tony Coard – his technical background may be of use
  8. John Gilberthorpe – experienced
  9. Michael Fleming – looks to have solid background
  10. Chris Laidlaw – was not a successful MP
  11. Daran Ponter – talks about fast broadband access but this is a TLA not a RC issue
  12. Yvonne Legarth – seems a bit inexperienced
  13. Michael Appleby – perennial election candidate
  14. Paul Bruce – prefer parliamentary politics left out of Regional Council
  15. Matt Barclay – unknown
  16. Ian Hamlin -unknown
  17. Thomas Morgan – Thomas specialises in coming last

Feel free to post your own orders in the comments.

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