Editorials 5 March 2010

The Herald strikes out at a possible faceless Super City:

From right to left, from John Banks and Michael Barnett to Len Brown and Mike Lee, Auckland’s local politicians have begun protesting at a distinctly undemocratic element in the constitution being written for the Super City.

Legislation setting up the new threatens to delegate most decisions to a number of “council-controlled organisations” (CCOs), a piece of Orwellian newspeak if ever there was one.

They will not be directly controlled by the council. They will be run by boards appointed by the council but short of dismissing them there will be little public representatives can do to have a say in decisions about Auckland’s roads and public transport, waterfront development and much else.

I look forward to seeing the final version of the Super City, when the bill comes out of select committee, and when the Auckland Transition Authority produces some final outputs.

No Press editorial online today.

The Dominion Post looks at the upcoming Wellington Mayoral campaign:

The worst-kept secret in Wellington is out. Mayor has announced that she will seek a fourth term, having said after she won the 2007 election that she had promised husband and hotelier Rex Nicholls to give politics away later this year to spend more time with her family.

Ms Prendergast is just the latest to announce her candidacy. She has vowed to stand again as an independent, even though commercial property owner Sir Robert Jones has had hopes of persuading her to stand at the head of the ticket he and a shadowy group of business folk intend will contest the local body elections in October.

Others to have thrown their hats into the ring include sitting councillors Bryan Pepperell, who has had several unsuccessful tilts at the top job, the Greens’ Celia Wade-Brown, and local businessmen Allan Probert and Jack Yan.

You have to say Kerry’s chances look pretty good.

Unspoken, however, is probably another reason for Ms Prendergast’s fourth bid for the mayoralty. That is a perceived lack of experience – perhaps even gravitas – among those who would snatch the chains from her.

The joker in the pack, of course, is Sir Robert. One of Wellington’s biggest ratepayers, even though he lives in Lower Hutt, he wants to turn the Golden Mile into a pedestrian precinct, along the lines of those of some European cities. Ms Prendergast can see the fishhooks in that, which is presumably why she has chosen not to be the knight’s mayoral anointee.

I hope Kerry is only sceptical, not opposed. I think it is a brillant idea, and would like to see a full costed study of how to do it. My intentions at this stage would be to vote Kerry as Mayor, but vote for the “Golden Mile”ticket for Council – unless the candidates are total wallies.

The ODT focuses on :

New Zealand’s economy may have been built from wool off the sheep’s back, but the present perilous state of the industry means its contribution could be consigned to history.

It is a widely held view that the strong wool sector, which supplies fibre for carpets and upholstery, has one last chance to remain a credible export industry, let alone regain its former status Strong or crossbred wool made up 89% of the clip last year and earned $570 million in export receipts. …

I am very sceptical that the sector can unite.

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