Celebrate! Well done Wellington, for electing a fresh, new, young Maori woman Mayor, Tory Whanau – and farewell and thank you to Andy Foster, for leading the city over the last few years and for battling through with the battle of the factions. I’m hoping that Tory’s ability to wrangle young Green MPs into shape will also extend to wrangling Tamatha Paul and Rebecca Matthews – as well as Ray Chung and Diane Calvert on the other side. Actually, probably of more concern will be Tony Randle, the “Mayor” of Johnsonville – being the President of the Johnsonville Community Association. Basically, the JCA are the people who like to say NO to everything new. I wonder if Tony has to rescind his leadership of the JCA? I presume that he probably already has, but expect a lingering slant towards ensuring that Johnsonville does not rebuild itself to 8 storeys tall in the centre.
I’m also really pleased that the electorate did not fall for the big yellow posters of Vote Eagle, given that he came 4th place overall – slimly beaten by Ray Chung, who deserves a medal for sheer bloody-mindedness if nothing else. I’ve never met someone quite so able to retain a good sense of humour in the face of opposition – which is the polar opposite from Paul Eagle, it seems. So, Ray Chung has got in, and with his pride in having been born in Jessie St and having worked on every continent around the world (surely not Antarctica?) he is well placed to be able to work with the Council Officers and actually get stuff done. I’m not sure if Ray has ever read the Eye of the Fish, or ever will, but I hope he finds the time, in between fixing all the pipes.
I’d like to take a moment to say a big Thank You to Andy Foster, who I have a bit of a soft spot for, despite this being politically unacceptable to the Twitterati trolls. I’ve personally known three of the last five Mayors, and Andy was / no doubt still is, very active and involved with the city, but also was involved with this blog, right from its early days with Maximus, through the Leviathan years and now with me, Nemo. I really was impressed that at times, often late in the evening, he would find time to pen an extensive and well thought through response to either Eye of the Fish or to the Wellington Scoop – he has published a warm and informative welcome to Tory Whanau over on Scoop this morning. He always felt to me that he was looking out for the best for the city – even if that sometimes meant voting the opposite way on certain issues, which sometimes gave him no end of grief from fellow councillors. He’s also hugely generous with his time and very energetic with his abilities – he’s going to be missed, by many at Council, but for political reasons, not by all. Anyway: Thanks Andy. Have a decent break before you start on the next job.
I’m also hoping that new Mayor Tory Whanau will also be able to continue on that process of speaking directly to the people via Scoop or the Fish, and not via the toxic mediums of Twitter and its unruly brethren. I’m not on Twit, or FB, or TikTak, or Reddit – so yes, I may just be here talking mainly to myself, but at least the conversation is relatively polite and interesting, and does not have cat videos, or nasty bitchy content. I’m not sure whether Tory is on Twitter – I presume she probably is – but regardless, I hope she keeps up with the extra-curricula media. We shall see. I was wrong about her in a previous column, but she responded and called me out, and having gone and read her website I found myself voting for her as leader, and I’m glad that I was part of the massive majority who did so. And now, time to go to work!
I am hoping she sidelines Calvert and Chung completely! Lester wasted 3 years because he was so keen to get unanimous votes through council. She has a strong progressive majority (10 -6) for almost everything apart from upzoning, so just run it hard and who cares about the far right minority.
Hi Conor – That was also one of the things that caused former Mayor Celia Wade-Brown to go astray – because she was a believer in democracy and was not prepared to say “who cares about the far-right minority”. I don’t think I would say that Calvert and Chung are far right – at all – but I would say that they are natural born conservatives. I’m keen to work with her (Tory) and see if we can all collectively get the best results for Wellington.
Calvert and Chung (and of course the ex-Pres of the Johnsonville Conservative faction) are always going to be pushing their barrow of “No horrid tall townhouses in my Hood” – despite the fact – the FACT – that this is hardly ever likely to happen, unless Developers go buying up adjacent sections on a land-banking spree, and that should be easy enough to see coming a mile away. Don’t think that developers won’t do that – there is a group in Christchurch who have perfected this to a Tee, and spend every day of the year buying up more and more buildings, in order to knock them down and build denser, albeit cheap, crap townhouses. Hindreds of them – maybe even into the thousands.
Wade Brown had nowhere near the clear majority on council Whanau does. Whanau has at least 10 out of 16 votes on everything progressive except upzoning, where the majority is smaller.
Foster was an absolute joke on this front. Despite having an obvious progressive majority, he tried to appoint a right wing deputy, and spent his whole time briefing against his councillors via dog whistles about party politics.
I see no reason at all for any mayor to pander to less than 20% of their council (Calvert, Chung and Apanovicz). It’s a recipe to do nothing, and is not what any conservative mayor does, will do, or is even suggested should do.
Also – I think you may have identified one reason why houses in Christchurch are 400k cheaper than in Wellington. Many people think houses 400k cheaper is a good thing.
This is great news. And on a really practical note – we hope that Tory and councillors can also get the council and others to realise that the city extends to Waikanae and Birchville, not the current bizarre borders. So – that we can get to a point where good strategy and strong governance extends to all 500,000 of us – not just the central part of the city. And Wellington may begin to have credible voice nationally.
So, continuing on with the discussion about Tory Whanau – there is some fascinating commentary over on Wellington Scoop at this post: https://wellington.scoop.co.nz/?p=148665
She has made the somewhat cryptic and provocative comment that:
“It is important that the leadership positions on the committees are filled by people who have the ability and experience – that includes work, council, and life experience – to lead and shape good decisions on behalf of all Wellingtonians. I need the Chairs and Deputy Chairs to be constructive and trustworthy on committees that were negotiated, leading to what I believe is an elegant outcome.”
Fair enough. But then she has made the following appointments:
Social, Cultural, Economic – Cr Teri O’Neil with deputy Cr Nureddin Abdurahman
Long Term plan, finance and performance – Cr Rebecca Matthews with deputy Cr John Apanowicz
Environment and Infrastructure – Cr Tamatha Paul with deputy Cr Tim Brown
Regulatory Process – Cr Sarah Free with deputy Cr Ben McNulty
Audit and Risk – an outsider, Mr Bruce Robertson with deputy Cr Tony Rnadle
Grants Sub-committee – Cr Nicola Young with deputy Nikau Wi Neera
Chief Executive Performance Review – Mayor Tory Whanau with deputy Laurie Foon