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!