Brewer v Armstrong

The headline in the Herald is:

Brewer’s stance dubbed ‘betrayal’

No, this is not a fall out between brewing companies, but in Auckland politics.

Newmarket Business Association chief executive and National Party member Cameron Brewer is taking on the Citizens & Ratepayers establishment for the Orakei seat at the Super City elections.

Mr Brewer confirmed yesterday that he was stepping down as the self-styled Mayor of Newmarket to stand as an independent candidate for the single-member Orakei ward against C&R’s Doug Armstrong.

A split between centre-right candidates could result in the seat going to Labour/City Vision. If that happens, those responsible won’t be popular. On the other hand, it is such a blue area, that even with a split, the prospect isn’t highly likely.

“This is a decapitation strike,” a senior C&R member said of the decision by Mr Brewer to challenge the right-leaning ticket.

“He is making enemies out of some of his closest friends. I’m pretty angry. John Slater feels betrayed,” the member said.

Mr Slater, C&R president, Newmarket Business Association chairman and former National Party president, said approaches were made to Mr Brewer last year about standing as a C&R candidate but he indicated he was past politics.

Mr Slater did not think Mr Brewer would win Orakei against Mr Armstrong, whom he credited with doing a “stirling job as chairman of the finance committee”.

From Fiji, where he is holidaying, the 67-year-old Mr Armstrong said Mr Brewer lived 17km away in Pt Chevalier and was “not one of us”.

“He is a worthy opponent, but a relative novice. I stand on my record on rates and delivering amenities, such as resanding of Kohimarama beach,” Mr Armstrong said.

Mr Brewer, a former press secretary to Auckland City Mayor John Banks and National Party Prime Minister Dame Jenny Shipley, said he respected Mr Armstrong but the public were calling for new faces to bring a fresh and energetic approach to local body politics for the next six, nine or 12 years.

“I’m that person,” Mr Brewer said.

Time will tell. It will be one of many interesting races to follow.

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