If I haven’t said anything yet about the Auckland mayoralty, it's because I don’t feel especially qualified to comment. But that’s never stopped me before, so here goes.
I was thrilled when Dick Hubbard joined the other Bugs ‘n Mud in the mayoral race, and it seems a good portion of Aucklanders feel the same way. While his policies might be a tad under-developed, for me the most important thing is that he seems the right sort of person for the job.
Banks doesn’t rile me as much as he does others, and if it came down to a choice between him and Fletcher, I just wouldn’t vote. It’s not a tactic I recommend – people died to give me this right apparently – but Banks vs Fletcher seems like the contest the phrase “don’t vote, it only encourages them” was coined for.
Early on in his mayoralty, I held out some hope for Banks. Sure, he’s a complete twat, but politics isn’t about people I’d invite to my birthday party. What I liked was that he wasn’t concerned about being popular, or consulting with everyone before making decisions – he was going to Make Things Happen.
Except of course, he didn’t. This might have been forgivable, after all, three years isn’t long when it comes to multi million dollar roading projects or even getting RMA consents. But Banksie being who he is, he had to go and talk up his achievements. And his strong leadership descended into abrasive mean-spiritedness.
Fletcher’s no better of course. The first press release I received from the Fletcher4Mayor campaign office was titled “Banks lazy and arrogant”. Well yes, quite possibly he is, but is this really the way to kick off a mayoral campaign?
One thing that’s always annoyed me about Chris Fletcher is her time working as both Auckland’s Mayor and MP for Epsom. Apparently she donated the mayoral salary to charity, but wouldn’t it be preferable to pay someone to actually do the job properly? I wasn’t living in Auckland at the time, but I was working at Parliament, and down there Fletcher didn’t have a reputation for being particularly hard-working. In any event, there are only so many hours in a day, and either position seems like it should realistically take the lion’s share.
Which leaves Dick. While he lacks much detail on the policy front, at least he seems like a fairly decent bloke. He’s got enough business sense to have built up a very successful company. His business is based around high quality products (as compared with say, Stephen Tindall). He looks after those around him, even when he doesn’t have to. He invented Berry Berry Nice. These seem like pretty good qualities for a civic leader, don’t they?
By way of epilogue however, I do I have to raise the matter of Banks offering $20,000 if Hubbard could provide proof that the mayor had made certain comments. Just a quiet word in your ear, Dick. If you’re offering proof, an article by Renee Kiriona probably isn’t the best evidence…
I know it’s probably time to let sleeping dogs lie, but I can’t resist highlighting this little excerpt from an article in the Sunday Star Times about National's Katherine Rich and Act's Deborah Coddington top 'n' tailing.
"'We're here to fight socialism, not to compete with each other', Coddington said."
Wow. It must be just like living in a sorority house.
I should add, continuing my theme of inadvertently funny Googlisms, when searching for the above article, I got this response. Aha.