The Eye of the Fish

Maximus
October 9, 2010

Bank on Brown

So: the race for Auckland is over, and Brown has pipped Blue at the post. At the time of writing, we’re still to see if Green will pip Blue in Wellington, with Celia and Kerry running neck and neck down the home straight.

But I am very happy that John Banks is not the new mayor of the new city of Auckland. The issue I have with Banks is not so much his politics (as Paul Henryish as they once were), but his obvious Auckland (as in Queen St) bias, that I believe would never do the city well. As long as the focus is on the Hauraki Gulf parts of Auckland, the hinterland will suffer. I’m hopeful that Brown will allow Manukau its day in the sun that it so deserves.

I’m sort of still surprised that they are calling the city Auckland, given that name used to describe just one portion of the new larger cake. All the other parts are being subsumed: Waitakere, Manukau, Papakura, Pakuranga, Waitemata, Hauraki, Tamaki, Takapuna, Orakei, Otahuhu, and – ummm, Rodney, are being eaten up by the spreading cancer of the conglomerate named after a long dead nobody. The plethora of Maori names are being wiped out by a single, irrelevant British moniker – to be covered now by the all encompassing “Auckland” seems unfair. Behold and arise, Len Brown of “Tamaki-makau-rau” and how apt that the leader is brown, if only in name alone. One day, perhaps, in the largest Polynesian city in the world (“Auckalofa” anyone?), there will be a leader to match.

There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth at the announcement a year ago, of the make-up of the new super-village-city. I commented at the time (and still cannot quite fathom how the loathsome Rodney Hide managed to swing it onto the population), that a carefully thought-through Royal Commission report was just thrown away in a week by Hide, with such measures as the two (token) Maori seats abolished without a second thought. Local maori were incensed, by some reports, and yet I was fairly hopeful that the STV system would give good representation on the new council. Yet the NZ Herald website notes that the makeup of the 20 key Auckland City seats goes like this:
They are Michael Goudie, Wayne Walker, George Wood, Ann Hartley, Penny Hulse, Sandra Coney, Mike Lee, Noelene Raffills, Cathy Casey, Christine Fletcher, Cameron Brewer, Richard Northey, Jami-Lee Ross, Sharon Stewart, Penny Webster, Calum Penrose, John Walker, Des Morrison, Arthur Anae, Alf Filipaina.

That’s certainly not sounding like a city with massive numbers of Maori, Samoan, Tongan, and Chinese living with Auckland’s much vaunted British, Scottish, Dalmatian mix. Let’s hope it is not such a debacle to run as it has been to set in place. There are some seriously screwed up heads in Auckland, if they believe the reports last week that it will be the biggest city in Australasia (no it won’t really, just the biggest administration mashup), yet patently Sydney, Melbourne etc are not quaking in their shoes at the prospect of the poor cousin from across the ditch suddenly flexing its muscles. And reports that Auckland is the 4th most liveable city on earth (Mercer Quality of Living survey), or the 10th (Economist survey), are both pretty random and nebulous by the Eye of the Fish preferred purveyor of news: Monocle magazine, where neither Auckland nor Wellington made it to the top 10. That seems more right – the hob-knobs of the world can live in Munich, Copenhagen, Zurich, Tokyo, Helsinki, Stockholm, Paris, Vienna, Melbourne or Madrid (Monocle’s top ten), but really, if you’re going to live anywhere, it would have to be a straight up choice between New York or Wellington, wouldn’t it?

And in the mean time: who is going to be leading our Wellington? The votes are very slow in coming forth…

minimus
9 - 10 - 10

interesting contrast in reporting.
NZ heralds says mayor’s race to close to call
http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10679334

while dominion post says “kerry wins it by a whisker”
http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/politics/local-body-elections/4215738/Kerry-wins-by-a-whisker

no bias there…
only confirms my already existing contempt for the rubbish rag.

davidp
9 - 10 - 10

>Thatís certainly not sounding like a city with massive numbers of Maori, Samoan, Tongan, and Chinese living with Aucklandís much vaunted British, Scottish, Dalmatian mix.

They have 1 part-Maori and 2 part or full Pasifika. That’s not bad as a percentage. Basically they’ve elected a bunch of previous mayors and failed MPs who never made Cabinet. The average age is about 60… maybe higher. That demographic isn’t as diverse as the rest of the population. Give them about 30 years and they’ll catch up with the rest of us.

And I’m glad they didn’t allocate seats on the basis of ethnicity, just as I’m glad we don’t do that in Wellington either. The Maori parliamentary seats are there for historical reasons, but further race based seats would clearly violate the UN Declaration of Human Rights and shouldn’t be tolerated in my view: “Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status”.

erentz
10 - 10 - 10

Big victory for Len Brown, the “labour man from South Auckland”, poor John Banks is probably locked up at home worried his peninsula is about to be overrun with criminals.

Really do hope the new council up there will be able to come together and work on the issues. I expect it will certainly have a lot of sway with central government, so hope to see them make tracks on rebalancing transport spending towards PT, if they do it might have positive sping offs for transport spending down this end of town too.

As for Wellington, clearly 373.33 very awesome people live in Lambton Ward. :) But we seem to have ended up with almost exactly the same bunch of people as before! Incredible. Wait and see who winds up on the top spot I spose.

WLG from Oct to Apr, NYC May to Sep.

Maximus
10 - 10 - 10

Davidp – I’m with you there on not wanting to reserve seats on the basis of ethnicity, but still can’t believe Hide’s thick hide / gall in ditching a 2 year report by learned experts, after just a week.

But it is nonetheless interesting that the new system has lead to such a predominantly pakeha council population. I had thought that with a decently thought through electoral system, and some MMP or STV, the numbers would have been more spread. Perhaps the Royal Commission had it right after all?

Maximus
10 - 10 - 10

And Erentz – well done for putting yourself up for election and raising the profile of Light Rail in Wellington. If you had got on, and if Celia gets 41 more votes, then we might have had a chance at seeing some progress towards a decent public transport goal.

40 votes. That’s such a narrow margin – and yet it’s still a chasm at the end of the day. Despite Kerry being reported as saying that she didn’t think it was the electorate sending her a message, she’d surely be blind not to get the strong hint that people are very tired of the current stance.

For someone as Green in their politics as Celia to poll so highly, says to me that there is a massive disquiet with Kerry’s relatively rightwing politics. It’s noticeable that John (“more roads”) Bishop didn’t get in, while Iona Pannet and Marcus Ganley did. I’m picking a strongly pro Public Transport council will push the agenda hard this term.

davidp
10 - 10 - 10

Max>Itís noticeable that John (ďmore roadsĒ) Bishop didnít get in, while Iona Pannet and Marcus Ganley did.

If Ganley won then that is news to the election officials. They’ve announced other winners.

Maximus
10 - 10 - 10

aaah, yes, you’re right. Steph Cook in 3rd place in Lambton – Ganley in 4th.
In fact, for ease of me finding this later,
http://www.elections2010.co.nz/2010/elections/wellington-city-council
here are the Mayoral votes as of today:
Kerry Prendergast – 24468
Celia Wade-Brown – 24428
Jack Yan – 7341
Bryan Pepperell – 5891
Bernard O’Shaughnessy – 1161
Al Mansell – 535

and here are Lambton Ward:
Ian McKinnon – 2829
Iona Pannett – 2453.25
Stephanie Cook – 2253.03
Marcus Ganley – 2018.51
Michael Fowler – 1507.46
Mark Greening – 689.93
John Bishop – 588.23
Adam Cunningham – 454.11
Kris Price – 373.33 (just how do you get .33 of a vote?)

In other wards, I see that Rob Goulden has been tossed out like a week old lettuce, ousted by “Swampy” Marsh. Anyone know why he is called Swampy?

Spencer
10 - 10 - 10

Swamp and Marsh are pretty much interchangeable terms for a wetland.
So Kerry is saying that she doesn’t think the electorate is sending her a message?! What is she going to do come Wednesday. Ask for a recount? Get your head out of the sand Kerry. You haven’t won it just yet.

Michael
10 - 10 - 10

I live in the far north of the new supercity. I was totally against our patch being subsumed into the new region so I made my submissions to “the committee”, but to no avail.
The only STV that we had available was for the DHB elections. How come the results for the DHB elections are not available? – 28 hours after voting closed. Australia uses STV and they get the results out pretty rapidly.

The rest of our election (Mayor, council, board, sub-division) was the seemingly undemocratic FPTP.

I have to admit I am in favour of STV as I believe it is the most democratic way of electing any candidate.

Good luck for your Wellington Mayoral decision.

Maximus
10 - 10 - 10

You still have First past the Post? How bizarre. I thought that went out with the dark ages.

The funniest thing really is the DHB elections. No one has a clue who they were voting for, or who has got in, and yet they’re in control of massive budgets. All seems a bit haphazard to me.

m-d
10 - 10 - 10

The whole supercity thing seemed pretty haphazard. If, as some commentators have suggested, the result came down to little more than greater voter mobilisation in the ‘poor brown south’ rather than the ‘rich white north’, then it really does beg the question of whether the one Council to rule them all is valid in any way at all…

m-d
10 - 10 - 10

Congratulations to Foster in my ward. Pity about the other two though – I haven’t forgiven them the anti-Courtenay Place buslane gesture yet…