Wellington Scoop

Celia gets top marks from DomPost

DomPost readers may be surprised this morning to find that the paper gives top marks to Mayor Celia Wade-Brown in last night’s mayoral debate at Massey University. Past reports of city council affairs in the DomPost have sometimes seemed to be positioning the mayor in a less than favourable light. But things have changed this morning.

Reporters Katie Chapman and Michael Forbes give her eight of ten for her performance in the debate.

Here’s how the DomPost describes the mayor’s debating success:

It was Celia Wade-Brown who won on the night, after coming out swinging in a debate peppered with barbs and questions…
Ms Wade-Brown talked about making Wellington a place where people wanted to live… Economic development showed its hand as the hot-button item… Ms Wade-Brown said making Wellington attractive to live in would attract business…
Leadership … was another strong theme, but Ms Wade-Brown had come prepared, with a stack of figures to back up her points helping her gain crowd support throughout the night. She was staunchly unapologetic about tight council votes, saying there were bound to be 8-7 decisions as long as there were 15 councillors. “An 8 to 7 vote is as good as it was in the Rugby World Cup.”

And the DomPost’s scorecard for the mayor:

Spoke well and had the most convincing delivery. Was not afraid to debate other candidates’ ideas as well as outlining her own… Talked a lot about telling the “Wellington story” without making clear what it was. Sounded a lot more convincing when talking up the benefits of a living wage and better public transport. Enjoyed the lion’s share of the applause but most of it was there from the beginning.

Second equal position in the DomPost scorecard is given to John Morrison and Jack Yan – each with seven out of ten. The DomPost team are specially enthusiastic about the debating prowess of Jack Yan:

The night’s biggest surprise … His vision spoke for itself. Preached more business-minded thinking in politics and a rebranding of Wellington, which went down well. Appeared to have won the most new fans.

And their assessment of John Morrison, who they say “cruised his way throughout:”

Made it clear that improving relationships with central government and building more infrastructure was the way forward, but that was about all that fired him up.

They are less than favourable about the other candidates. “Ms Young fumbled … Rob Goulden drew the most jeers … Karunanidhi Muthu failed to really fire up the crowd.”


  1. Sridhar, 13. September 2013, 15:40

    Indeed! I was surprised the Dompost has been so kind to Celia after bashing and ridiculing her for 3 years. Probably they had a change of heart because she is the only one ready to talk facts and provide real plans.
    I do have sympathies for Jack Yan and Muthu for not being given enough time to present their views. What is wrong in knowing their opinions? Just because they are very small players in the race?

  2. Mary Varnham, 14. September 2013, 10:51

    Celia’s not perfect – she needs to stick to her guns on things such as light rail (for) and the flyover (against), rather than compromising. But let’s face it, she’s streets ahead of the lazy visionless John Morrison, who’s heavily backed by the tired old guard (Nicholls etc). And she showed at the debate that she does her homework on issues facing the city, rather than just shooting from the hip (or bat).

  3. Jack Ruben, 15. September 2013, 12:21

    Well said Mary Varnham, – you perfectly summarised the atmosphere at the meeting. A pity that more voters were not there to witness the performance of candidates.
    Celia was the clear winner, and Jack Yan also performed well. Obviously bored, John Morrison surely must realise by now that cheap one-liners are not enough. He was the leader of those undermining the appointment of the new CEO, on the grounds he came from the U.K. – never having met him! Hardly the person to build teamwork and consensus.
    Morrison’s back-up team of Nicholls et al are old hacks who Nicholls himself says should not stand for council. He says Wellington needs new fresh blood, then stands himself – having called for long-serving councillors to be ousted.
    I have confidence a majority of voters will support Celia, and rid the council of one of its most disruptive elements.

  4. c iorns, 15. September 2013, 14:33

    Goodness, I so hope Jack Ruben is right re voters! I certainly agree with him and Mary Varnham on Celia being by far the best option, and hope voters can see past the tired old fart brigade. 🙂