Trotter on Len Brown

Chris Trotter is unhappy that Labour are pushing for as Auckland Mayor, ignoring the wider left:

WHEN will Labour ever learn? A party whose membership now numbers less than 5,000 nationwide, and probably less than 1,000 north of Taupo, has decided – unilaterally – to select the Left’s mayoral candidate for the new Auckland “supercity”.

“Cheek” is too small a word to describe this sort of behaviour. Why? Because, if we accept the well-established rule-of-thumb that only ten percent of any organisation’s paper membership should ever be considered active players, fewer than 100 people took it upon themselves to choose the person aiming to represent 1.4 million.

For the sheer, jaw-dropping arrogance of this pre-emptive strike against democratic procedure, Labour deserves a hefty political smack – to say nothing of the “good parental correction” required for putting its own, narrow, partisan interests ahead of Auckland’s future.
Yep, definitely not happy.
Of Labour (and City Vision, its front organisation) I did, however, expect something more imaginative (and democratic) than an old-fashioned “deal”, hammered out in a variety of smoke-free rooms, between a clutch of anonymous party hacks and the Mayor of Manukau City.

Strategically commissioned opinion polls, notwithstanding, Mr Brown has long been the Auckland Right’s preferred opponent. He comes across as an evangelical social-worker, who, when he’s not mouthing bogus Pasifika street-slang, delivers earnest speeches in which the buzz-words “vision”, “passion” and “community” are endlessly repeated.
Not exactly a glowing endorsement of Mr Brown.
I do, however, give Labour points for staking its claim so early and with such clarity. The other potential candidates: be he Waitakere City Mayor, Bob Harvey, or the Chairman of the Auckland Regional Council, Mike Lee; can now be intimidated into withdrawing from the race – on pain of “splitting the Left vote”.

The truth, of course, is that the only splitters operating in the broader Auckland Left are Labour and its allies. By dividing the field of mayoral hopefuls into Mr Brown and “the rest”, they have very foolishly, and selfishly, made the best candidate the enemy of the first.
I recall Matt McCarten calling many months ago for some sort of primary on the left to unify them. Ignoring Matt and Chris on matters in their home city can be a foolish thing to do. They have loud voices.
But, if the Left accepts Labour’s fait accompli, what will it be getting in Mr Brown? A Palangi lawyer from Manukau, with a very thin portfolio of municipal achievements (unlike his illustrious predecessor, Sir Barry Curtis) and a rather goofy grin.
Again not exactly a vote of confidence,

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