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Sorting out the mayoralty, and the bay

by Ian Apperley
Did you miss me? I bet some of you did, and I am pretty sure that a lot of you didn’t; sorry about that, but politics is an addiction, and I can’t help wading in on a couple of issues this week, because wow, there is some orchestrated nonsense going on in the PR space!

While I am ensconced in rural life for the most part these days, I still spend time in Wellington and follow local politics, and I see that we’ve kicked off the election campaign this week.

Huzzah! Such fun. My hit rate on predictions last time around was 77%, and I’d like to remind you that I picked Andy as Mayor. But let’s not forget that meagre margin.

Where shall we start? Mayoral candidates and then Shelly Bay? I see that we have a few putting their hands up and some starting to dance on the smouldering fire that is Shelly Bay. Naughty. Anytime a politician starts shouting “let’s not turn this into a political issue” you can be sure they will be there five minutes later turning it into a political issue.

Amateurs.

Let’s start with Mayoral candidates. We’ve had one declare, an ex-Green who now works for a government lobbyist company. That bit has been missed in the small amount of media coverage that Tory Whanau gained last week, or should I say, carefully choreographed puff pieces? No, I shouldn’t say that because I respect Georgina Campbell at the Herald, who wouldn’t have the wool pulled over her eyes, I am sure.

Here’s an opinion piece from the NZ Herald one week before Tory Whanau put herself forward:

“On Thursday it was announced that the recently departed Green Party Chief of Staff in Parliament, Tory Whanau, has become a lobbyist. She has joined the corporate lobbying group Capital Government Relations … Of course, this would be illegal in other countries. But New Zealand has barely any rules about lobbying, and absolutely no rules to stop the “revolving door” of Beehive staffers shifting into lucrative corporate jobs to leverage their political connections and information. The likes of Jones and Whanau move freely and frequently between jobs in the Beehive and roles in which they lobby their ex-colleagues on behalf of the wealthy.”

So, what are her mayoral chances? It depends on who else stands. If there is a full card, then Tory has no chance. If it is a short card, more so.

No chance because the city is not ready for another green Mayor. The days of Celia Wade-Brown still resonate strongly in most of the wards, and the absolute schmozzle that has been the red-green bloc this triennium will firmly close that door. That also locks out any current green councillors who may want to run for Mayor.

It is easy to forget that Wellington is deeply conservative, and while they will vote for Labour, they tend to pick Labour MPs who are, you guessed it, more in the conservative box.

Paul Eagle.

Paul Eagle is the tiger in the jungle. Every other candidate knows that if Paul throws his hat in the ring, they are toast. Burnt, scattered, maudlin, toast. He’s the perfect candidate. Labour, more conservative, outspoken, everywhere at once, and with those magnificent eyebrows, clearly a strong leader.

If he runs, he’ll beat everyone else. I have no doubt of that. Frankly, he must be getting bored as an MP. Labour has given him nothing of note to do, and he seems to be consigned to the “steady as she goes” ship.

Andy Foster, well, well, well … Again, it depends on the card, but I’m going to go with probably not.

When you read his original 150-day plan, very little has been achieved. That’s because he’s had to work with a basket case of councillors who have deliberately vexed any efforts on his part to make progress, flip-flopped like a trout pulled from the river on a warm day, and hissed at every media release with such venom one could be forgiven thinking they are a coterie of poisonous cats.

Still, on the surface, not much has happened that was promised, and Andy will need to wear that.

Justin Lester. A slippery choice. Just like Jesus he could claim he has been in the great business desert, stroking his beard, looking at stone tablets, the odd burning bush perhaps, and now could return in a second coming to save the city.

Saint Justin. I think it could be a thing if he stood again, especially against a weak card, and if he distanced himself from the Labour pack. That would be important. An independent mayor, with a slight lean to the right, immense jaw jutting forward like Caesar.

I think he would win unless you rolled out the tiger from the jungle, Paul Eagle. In fact, that would make a stunning duo. If you ever wanted to sort out the councillors, those two in tandem would probably be able to do it.

Jill Day may have a crack at the mayoralty, but I doubt it. She was the missing deputy in the last triennium, seldom to be seen, which was a shame because that is the once in a lifetime opportunity you get as a politician to dig in, perform, and build a platform for your next move.

Her performance has been weird this triennium, and some of her views tend to be at odds with themselves. And most likely unintended, she sometimes comes across as self-righteous and almost religiously indignant. Opinion pieces like this one, “Safety of people must come first at Shelly Bay”, don’t help. I’m going to dissect this in some detail because it is an excellent example of how the Council is still obviously at odds with itself.

Frankly, I’d be surprised if Jill wrote this piece. At the very least, there would have been someone else helping with it because it doesn’t feel like her style or voice to me.

Of course the safety of people is paramount. This is a churlish statement at best and condescending at worst. That’s why, after the powers-that-be moved the peaceful protest about eight notches up the rung to the nuclear level, several Councillors told the CE and others to back down and walk away for a bit.

If they had strictly followed the letter of the law and started physically moving people based on what has largely been interpreted as a cynical move by the Council to remove protestors because of asbestos concerns, using Police, then there would have been a genuine chance of people being hurt.

Jill rambles on about the difference between governance and operations, wandering along in a poor version of a 101 paper on the blurring of lines between the two. This, despite the fact this Council has done exactly that for the entire triennium, most stepping in to interfere when it politically suited their personal agendas or the agenda of certain blocs.

Whether these councillors like it or not, the City Council agreed to sell land at Shelly Bay to enable mana whenua to partner with the Wellington Company to develop the land they purchased as a result of a Treaty settlement at Shelly Bay. This was rightly a governance decision, and implementation was appropriately delegated to the CEO and her team.

Wow. An amazingly one-eyed view of the situation that simultaneous sounds like a lecture by a particular developer and rewrites history in one fell swoop. This Council, not always the majority, has sought to twist the truth using PR and to bury the past, hoping that no one will remember.

Nicky Hager does an excellent job of explaining Shelly Bay in this article.

And here’s Jill again:

And, that is exactly what mana whenua have asked us to do. They have issued a clear public statement asking for the political interference at Shelly Bay to stop, and I don’t blame them. We risk creating a whole new grievance by interfering with their decisions about how to set up their iwi for their uri well into the future.

The delicious irony is that this entire lecture, or opinion piece, just does that, in my opinion. Interferes politically.

Interestingly, it uses language that is extraordinarily similar to this ridiculous press release: “Developers want politicians to stay out of their Shelly Bay business.” Another misguided PR further alienating all parties.

Two things.

I don’t know if Jill Day intends to have a crack at the mayoralty, but at least for the sake of argument, say she is. She won’t win. She’s managed to box herself into that left corner over the last triennium to the point where she is now seen as very, very green. And remember, Wellington doesn’t want another green mayor just yet.

The second thing. I know I bang on and on about Shelly Bay. Still, it is an excellent microcosm of how this Council governs and operates. It’s the barometer. When they get this one right, you know that you have an influential Council; until then, well, it’s obvious they don’t.

Frankly, Wellington deserves an effective Council, because right now, as the opinion piece by Jill shows, they are clearly still at each other’s throats, at odds, and far more interested in their own selves than serving the city as our employees.

Anyway.

What do you think? I’ve rambled on for far more than my word budget. Who do you see as contenders? Nick Leggett? Kerry Prendergast? Sarah Free? Conor? Why? And, what can be done to set the Council back on a level footing?

50 comments:

  1. Conor, 22. November 2021, 15:10

    No chance of me standing Ian! My lesson was that local govt (particularly in this region) is utterly broken and in need of reform. Thankfully the govt is stepping in where it needs to. Eagle, Calvert then Whanau is my pick for the finishing order next year.

     
  2. Ian Apperley, 22. November 2021, 15:28

    You’re right Conor, and it’s a damn shame. The Minister had more than one opportunity to sort it out and failed to act. A review of local government, in general, is needed and commissioners in Wellington until it can be sorted.

    I’d probably get rid of most of the executives as well. But hey, I’m not the Minister.

     
  3. Ray Chung, 22. November 2021, 15:38

    Good article Ian and and I think there are many more prospective Mayoral aspirants in the wings. Yes, the Mayor is important but as we’ve unfortunately seen in the past two years, if you have a bloc in the council, you can easily override whatever the mayor wants to do. I firmly believe that bringing central politics into a Local Body council is a recipe for disaster and more of what we’ve experienced. I also wonder whether Liz Kelly will ever vote any differently to this bloc who opened the door for her to enter. So on to the councillors: who do you think will stay and what wards are happy with their councillors?

     
  4. Jim, 22. November 2021, 15:58

    Personally i think Calvert would make an awful mayor. Going by her voting record, she has opposed everything under the sun and no one knows what her actual alternative proposals are – if any. Have got nothing favorable to say about Eagle either. Don’t know much about Whanau and as Ian notes unlikely to get in due to past green mayors.
    Something needs to change. I just hope we get a good candidate. None are listed above unfortunately.

     
  5. Claire, 22. November 2021, 16:24

    Paul Eagle is somewhat invisible at least in Newtown and regarding the housing issues in the DSP and now the DDP. I am not sure he will get the votes he expects.

     
  6. Brian Dawson, 22. November 2021, 16:31

    Interesting Ian. As usual, I agree with the bits I agree with 🙂

     
  7. Conor, 22. November 2021, 18:36

    A review is under way.
    Also, whether or not you agree with the outcomes at the WCC, the councillors are doing their job – signing off an LTP, a spatial plan, and massively increasing 3 waters funding.

     
  8. Julienz, 22. November 2021, 18:46

    Jim – In response to your criticism of Councillor Calvert. “The (woman) of conservative temperament believes that a known good is not lightly to be surrendered for an unknown better.” (Michael Oakeshott – Philosopher)

     
  9. Milan Lazarevic, 22. November 2021, 18:54

    Our respected and capable Mayor Andy Foster is the right man for being re-elected as our Mayor next year. Foster crystallised voters to dump Labour’s Lester after Justin’s first term. That hasn’t happened since 1986 when one-term mayor Ian Lawrence lost to James Belich.

    Shelly Bay is the central issue. It doesn’t matter how much more money Ian Cassels gives to councillors. Neither will it make any difference how much Sir Peter Jackson might support Andy Foster. Wellington mayoral voters like principled and capable candidates and that’s why Andy Foster will be overwhelming returned.

     
  10. Georgina Campbell, 22. November 2021, 20:17

    Councillor Simon Woolf has posted on Facebook saying he won’t be standing again in next year’s local body elections. He says the council needs to change – “with less party politics centred on The Beehive, and no more aggressive personality politics”. [via twitter]

     
  11. TrevorH, 22. November 2021, 20:37

    Simon Woolf is an honourable man. His departure from the Council will be a sad loss. And he is right about the Beehive’s undesirable interference in our local administration.

     
  12. Ray Chung, 22. November 2021, 21:01

    I believe Simon has been a steady voice of moderation and common sense on this fractious council. He’s always taken time to help others and has supported our Onslow Residents and Community Association. I absolutely agree with his comments about the party politics and councillors being beholden to their masters/mistresses in the Beehive. Let’s hope the Onslow-Western voters honour his legacy in 11 months time.

     
  13. Penelope, 22. November 2021, 21:06

    I think we should ask all councillors whether they are standing to be mayor or councillor or both.
    Justin? Seriously no.
    A swap: Eagle for mayor, Fitzsimons M.P. for Island Bay?
    Would Eagle or Leggett really make the difference needed?
    Old school? Just tell us!

     
  14. Karen Priestly, 22. November 2021, 23:09

    Sean Rush would be an excellent choice for mayor – he has insight and isn’t intimidated or bullied like the others. Thank you for the article Ian.

     
  15. Claire, 23. November 2021, 8:32

    Karen: Sean voted for the last minute amendment to put six storey buildings in your suburb. He seemed to be influenced by the Green/Labour faction on that.

     
  16. Sue, 23. November 2021, 9:04

    Our experience of Paul Eagle is he comes to meetings, promises much, then forgets and moves on to make promises with someone else, leaving his constituents wondering why did they bother. Andy needs to be surrounded with a few better councillors, not the ones out to continually stab him in the back. Sad to see two good councillors stepping down – Malcolm Sparrow and Simon Woolf. The pressure over the last 2 years has been too much. Wellingtonians want and deserve a cohesive Council, not one ruled by party politics.

     
  17. Heat pump, 23. November 2021, 9:30

    Peter Dunne for mayor??

     
  18. Benoit Pette, 23. November 2021, 9:57

    Cr Day’s opinion piece asking for less opinions on Shelly Bay was indeed coated with thick irony. She’s asking for calm and reason over a situation she contributed to create on the 11th of November last year. The Council then had a chance to right the wrongs of previous mistakes (remember Wade-Brown’s council was the one which made Shelly Bay an SHA), and it’s super rich to read Cr Day now trying to play referee.

    I was also very surprised to read Cr Paul and Cr Foon siding with Mayor Foster on this one, considering they, too, voted for the sale and lease of the public land at Shelly Bay. It was welcome but raised also some eyebrows: perhaps both could share their motivation on this?

     
  19. JAB, 23. November 2021, 10:52

    I’d prefer that the council voted in a chairperson and dumped the idea of a Mayor. It’s what the regional councils do and most smaller local authorities. It’s the only city wide position so it attracts too much donor money seeking an edge.

     
  20. Ian Apperley, 23. November 2021, 10:58

    Hi Ray, I agree with you; bringing central party politics into the local body is a recipe for disaster. Wannabe MPs will side with their ruling party to further their political interests rather than the city’s interests. I wrote about this during the last election, interviewing most candidates on their views. The independents provided strong evidence of the interference of people linked to a significant party and their influence. Those who were linked vehemently denied this occurred. Perhaps there should be conflicts of interest declared where party political machines support candidates to get into local government.

    I see a few comments about Sean Rush. He’s an interesting character, and he seems to be relatively independent on the face of it. He seems to step into each issue and make up his mind. However, while that bloc is in play, any Mayor who isn’t red or green will struggle to find consensus. Even then, they will struggle because it has become mainly about the game now after so many months of infighting.

    Sue, I agree, the loss of Simon and Malcolm will be felt. I do not doubt that the continuing antics of the bloc have contributed to this, and some of you have emailed me personally with some shocking examples of behaviour. Behaviour that would be more in line with school yard bullying than responsible debate by rational adults. Both councillors love the city and put that first, as do the other independent Councillors because their masters are city residents, not political parties.

    Heatpump, I’d put money on Peter Dunne if he ran for Mayor. He’s well known, and that’s a significant advantage.

    Ben, the issues won’t go away, and we should just keep pointing out the inconsistencies.

    I think that the city is going to struggle to be bothered with voting in the next election. Unless some clear, well-known leaders come through, it’ll be more of the same. Things to watch for, and challenge, are statements by existing councillors on how they will “fix” things because they’ve had the chance, and they haven’t done much. Housing, rent prices, infrastructure, public transport, climate change, congestion, a dying CBD are all still issues and have, in some cases got worse. It may take someone like Kerry Prendergast to right the ship. I’m not endorsing her, by the way, there were issues under her Mayoralty, but there was also a lot of progress. As I said after the election results last time, the city was going into complete stasis with this Council, and sadly, this has proven true.

    Thank you for taking the time to comment! I love hearing from you, and it makes me think and change my opinions.

     
  21. Ms Green, 23. November 2021, 11:48

    I agree with JAB, re voting in a chairperson instead of electing city wide a mayor. Legislative change would be needed … perhaps coming with local governnment reform?

     
  22. Kitt, 23. November 2021, 13:06

    Quite simply, Wellington needs a savvy business person who has proven cultural, economic and commercial ability and one who is comfortable and knowledgable around the machinery of Local and Central Govt – this, over the political ‘me’ drive of many of our Mayors and councillors past, will see success. A Mayor who is not in the pocket of any one rich man. A Mayor who celebrates and supports mana whenua and other groups who bring diversity. A Mayor who, when conflicted on an issue, keeps his personal views out of the media. A Mayor who doesn’t undermine the CE or Councillors. A Mayor who doesn’t use Maori as a media tool, showing face and support only when the cause agrees with their personal agenda. A Mayor who has integrity and honesty. A Mayor who has worked in the real world, faced the daily issues their constituents face, understands poverty and hardship and has, first hand, experienced the impact on a family of a rates hike. Does even a person exist? If so, they would get my vote.

     
  23. Ray Chung, 23. November 2021, 13:44

    Milan; I agree with you about Andy Foster. There’s a lot of criticism about him but, with the council this triennium, I doubt whether anyone could have controlled them and been able to achieve consensus on many of the issues that have arisen. He had councillors saying they see their purpose in council is to cause trouble. I’ve been to many council meetings and made submissions, and their behaviour is abominable. I still consider Andy to be the most talented person for mayor but let’s see who else tosses their hat into the ring. I won’t be supporting any candidate who is beholden to any central political party, but prefer an independent who wants the best for all Wellingtonians.

     
  24. Conor, 23. November 2021, 16:21

    The party politic hangup is so odd. Councillors should represent the platform they get elected on. For most voters, party alignment makes this easier to understand rather than picking from 10 similar 150-word blurbs. Local govt is mostly a very low information race. Party alignment gives voters more info. Right wing voters can happily not vote Green or Labour. Ian wrote after the last election he thought Paul would be centrist. Hard to make that mistake with a Green.

     
  25. Cold pint, 23. November 2021, 17:11

    I don’t know Conor. Some of the green councillors have raised the ire of the Twitterati with their more centrist or even right leaning votes and views on issues this term. This is a good case in point to not have party affiliations as they would be free to vote how they felt rather than abused for not voting the “green way”.

     
  26. nemo, 23. November 2021, 19:03

    Cold pint – seeing as the Twittersphere and the Twitterati are about as toxic as it is possible to get outside of a Trump private dinner party, I think that if your views would be disliked by the Twits then that would be a very good thing.

     
  27. Claire, 23. November 2021, 19:28

    Conor are you serious? The green and labour councillors have been puppets to the instructions on high.

     
  28. Cold pint, 23. November 2021, 20:03

    nemo – I wholeheartedly agree

     
  29. TrevorH, 23. November 2021, 20:05

    The Council’s involvement with Shelly Bay has been a disaster and a textbook of administrative incompetence, and has resulted in a huge, unquantifiable liability for ratepayers. Now it appears Wellingtonians have to watch and wait while a private, intra-tribal dispute plays out. Meanwhile it appears the hapless Council is still trying to inject itself into the imbroglio which they had a major role in bringing about.

     
  30. Ray Chung, 23. November 2021, 20:57

    Karen and Ian, regarding Sean Rush, I met him a year or so ago and was pretty impressed with him and his views but then when he voted, he did a complete turn and voted for the things that he said he was opposed to! On 20th October, he voted with Fleur and the Labour councillors on ignoring Resident Associations and resident groups and their submissions. Eight councillors voted for this and Sean was the only one who didn’t usually vote with this bloc so his vote was the casting one against the seven who voted for working with the RAs and residents’ groups. I can’t understand his rationale for this.

     
  31. Conor, 24. November 2021, 8:06

    Claire, part of my point is if you don’t like Labour and the Greens, then you can vote for other candidates. This is a good thing. Otherwise voters get utterly confused about what candidates stand for, as even well informed voters like Ian has with Paul, and Ray Chung has with Rush. For what it’s worth, as someone on the left, Rush was the last person I wanted on the council due to what seemed fairly hard right campaigning. However his voting has been a pleasant mostly left surprise! Still, I think this is a bad thing. Voters should have some idea of what candidates stand for. Party alignment helps this.
    Also it’s true upzoning has been a divisive issue, and the twitterati have taken to some Green councillors. Really though, the divide on this is largely generational and transcends standard party lines.

     
  32. Claire, 24. November 2021, 8:59

    Conor: given that Wellington votes left in the main, the housing issue was left versus left. The generational issue was largely manufactured, as most see that housing is needed. But for the mould and nimby campaign it would have been settled by now. So that was counter-productuctive. Now because of the black and white idealised thinking it will rage on.
    See livewellington.org for how Wellington wants to tackle housing.

     
  33. Ian Apperley, 24. November 2021, 9:35

    You are right Conor, I think the process of getting election material to voters is seriously underwhelming. I mean, you probably get 300 words in which to describe yourself and what you stand for, plus a picture of your face. There are other sites that tend to spring up around the time, but again, they tend to be through different lenses, rather than a centralised view.

    I’ve tried in the past to profile candidates, but often, there is no information about them. Easier when they are currently elected, however the number of “ghosts” who throw their hat in the ring with no researchable background is quite high. People tend to vote with their eyes. So a good portrait. with a pleasant, open, trustworthy face, is essential. Media coverage also tends to be spotty, so reaching the entire voting base of residents is hard. So people guess.

    I get the reluctance around people wanting to vote for a candidate who is aligned with a party. Often, people who are OBVIOUSLY associated with a party claim that they are not anymore, muddying the waters. If they just said on the voting papers “I am a Labour party member and will vote in line with their policies”, it would be a simpler choice.

    I also think that hanging your hat on the Labour ticket next time around might be a bad thing. I can feel change in central government coming and if Labour is struggling this time next year, that could colour the way people vote in local elections.

    PS Conor, now you have me overthinking Paul. Ha ha.

     
  34. bsmith, 24. November 2021, 13:25

    Out of the current crop of councilors, with the exception of a couple, they are all out of their depth. They haven’t had any intention of doing what’s right for Wellington and the ratepayers, instead they have pushed their own biased agendas.

     
  35. michael, 24. November 2021, 15:05

    Even though I didn’t vote for him, I feel sorry for Andy as it has been impossible for him to do anything with the evident petty resentment and lack of co-operation from the labour/green “political faction” within the council. They have constantly ignored the mandate to represent their constituents in favour of their own biases and political ambitions.

    Even with a Mayoral change, unless the labour/green political interference and personal biases are stopped, it is highly unlikely anything will alter and the council will continue to be dysfunctional at a critical time in Wellington’s development.

     
  36. Ray Chung, 24. November 2021, 20:47

    Ian, this question is probably best aimed at you although I welcome input from Conor and others. Is there any possibility of asking candidates – and I guess you can also include existing councillors in this – what they stand for and what they hope to achieve in council? Why I’m asking this is because people are saying now about subjects like SNA, that none of the candidates said what their position was. Notwithstanding this, in all probability, many will say they’re standing for a particular issue but then change completely once they’re in office. An example of this is Jill Day who campaigned on keeping rate increases to a maximum of 3% but she’s been instrumental in proposing additional costs that have resulted in the 15.4% rate increase this year. When I did my oral submission to the council on the ward representation, I started by saying that most of you (addressing the councillors) came into the council wanting to do the best for all Wellingtonians but once in council, something changed and many started following their own agenda and ideology. Why is that? This was a rhetorical question but Iona Pannett asked “do I consider ideology a bad thing?” I replied not at all and we probably all have some sort of ideology but it shouldn’t replace the oath that all councillors make to do their best for all Wellingtonians. So is it feasible to ask all candidates this and then when/if they get into council they can be publicly reminded of it?

     
  37. Ian Apperley, 25. November 2021, 9:57

    Hi Ray. Lots of very good questions. Last election period, the candidates were bombarded with different questionnaires on their policies. Climate groups, retail groups, the chamber of commerce, Stuff, and others all sent surveys to Council candidates to try and judge where they stood. I remember one candidate saying to me at the time, “I just don’t have the time to fill all these in,” and you had to look at the quality of the data because some groups skewed the questions as well. What would be better is if candidates simply outlined their policies and their 150 day plan (or similar.) Andy did a good job of that and we can now easily go back and match what he said then, against how he delivered.

    Most candidates ran a website with their policies at the time, and most of them have deleted those websites since. If you have the time you can look for the original site on something like the Wayback Machine, which archives websites. For example; here are Jill Day’s policies: https://web.archive.org/web/20200119063121/https://www.jillday.co.nz/policies.html

    I suspect that two or three things happen on their first days in Council that change their thinking. First, Council seeks to dominate the new Councillors by throwing the code of conduct at them and other “rules.” Outspoken candidates may feel gagged at that point. Second, they are most likely gagged, being told when and if they can speak to media and how. Conjecture on my part, but we have seen some evidence of this. Third, they will be lumped with a massive amount of data about the Council that needs to be digested. As well as that, they will all be on their best behaviour until their “portfolios” are given out.

    In this triennium, we have seen bullying tactics by a number of different parties, which must just wear Councillors down. The leaking of emails to media organisations is a part of this, in my opinion. It has been a long time since we had an outspoken Councillor, and when we get one, the pack tries to shut them down. I remember one particular Councillor who was removed by police from at least one Council meeting.

    In short, I think that the environment is so toxic now that new Councillors have little choice but to join in the grand game, or, be left out in the cold. It’s a bleak assessment I know. You can almost hear Pink Floyd as they arrive on their first day…

    “Welcome my son, welcome to the machine.”

     
  38. Claire, 25. November 2021, 10:31

    Ian: it seems that councillors have done the bullying this time around. And obeyed their masters in the Beehive by voting against council planners.

     
  39. K, 25. November 2021, 10:49

    While it’s been messy at times, I think the current council is acting in a democratic manner it’s designed to operate under: Councillors were democratically elected, and they vote on council actions in a democratic manner with a majority needed to pass items. Voters are free to vote or not vote for the councillors who represent them in their ward. I take issue with councillors and their supporters now describing that democratic method, the basis of our society, as being “broken”, only because they are often opposed to the outcomes of council votes (I have yet to see any valid explanation of why the council voting method is “broken”). Yes, having a minority view often sucks, but that is all part of being in a democracy, and if you really think the majority of Wellington voters agree with your views then that will be decided at the next council election – just like always. Personally I don’t agree with everything the council has done this term, but that’s always the case for everyone. I do however think they have made good progress with finally addressing much needed progress on increasing funding for infrastructure, cycleways and most importantly of all in this dire housing crisis: enabling a large increase in future housing density, which I view as the single most important issue facing Wellington. I think the majority of Wellingtonians agree with me on that, but like I said above we will see at the next election if that is true.

     
  40. Tablecloth, 25. November 2021, 11:07

    Jill Day’s blurb is a massive eye opener. Seems like once in power they get to do whatever they want and to hell with their promises.

     
  41. Tamatha Paul, 25. November 2021, 13:49

    Maybe it’d be more transparent if everyone actually acted with their party values but I don’t even know about all that because I’ve never been in one for this very reason. Stupid, bitchy, tribal politics. [via twitter]

     
  42. Claire, 25. November 2021, 14:22

    Tamatha: from what I have seen watching voting, you contribute to the above and vote with the politics.

     
  43. Ian Apperley, 25. November 2021, 16:26

    Good lord, I just stuck my head back into Twitter briefly, what an unholy mess. Astounding that some Councillors are still publicly fighting with each other. It’s quite disgraceful. Several of them need to go next election.
    I shall ready my pen.

     
  44. Ray Chung, 25. November 2021, 18:04

    Thanks Ian. I’ve just read the URL on Jill Day and I have to say that if I only read that and didn’t look at her actions over this triennium, I’d vote for her based on these promises! So, now where? If we can’t believe what candidates say prior to the election, and we can’t put too much credence on what these individual surveys and questionnaires say, how can we know what they stand for and how they’ll act in council? Yes, I’ve read the “Code of Conduct for Elected Members” and it states that whatever any elected member does, it must be for the benefit of all Wellingtonians and not for individuals or focus groups. What are the repercussions if they ignore it? Are there any? Do we need a totally unbiased person to make up this questionnaire? I can think of someone eminently qualified to do this and his first name is Ian and surname starts with A. I’m not so concerned about who runs for or wins the mayoralty now that I’ve seen how a bloc of councillors can nullify what he/she tries to do. But it’s much more important to get good councillors. Would you like to run for mayor Ian?

     
  45. Ms Green, 25. November 2021, 18:18

    What’s on twitter? I never grace its nastiness. I don’t care that I don’t have millions of fake friends. Goodness is that where Council politics and debates are held? Is it the new Council chamber? So is this how consultation is done these days?

     
  46. Ray Chung, 25. November 2021, 19:21

    I’m with you Ms Green! I don’t like social media at all!

     
  47. bsmith, 26. November 2021, 6:27

    Twitter may be slanged as a cesspool, but it does highlight the childishness/IQ of certain councilors, that you wouldn’t get by other means.

     
  48. Nemo, 26. November 2021, 17:14

    If you really want to see Social Media toxity at work, in real time, watch one of the WCC committee Zoom meetings on YouTube, and read the comments streaming in real time. Violently ugly toxic people writing their words every few seconds, about anyone whose politics they don’t agree with. The nastiness expressed by the supporters of Rebecca Matthew’s and Tamatha Paul made me vow never to vote for those candidates ever again. Society has a veneer of civility that is less than skin deep.

     
  49. Ray Chung, 26. November 2021, 21:28

    Nemo, bsmith and Ian. I asked a friend with a twitter account to show me what you’re both so disgusted about and now that I’ve seen them, I completely understand why you’ve said this.

     
  50. D'Esterre, 26. November 2021, 22:07

    JulieNZ: your quote from Michael Oakeshott is bang on point. In my youth, I was a (pla)card-carrying radical. Now, the wisdom of age has made me into a conservative on most issues. Diane Calvert’s conservatism is in my view an excellent qualification for the office of Mayor. Most pointfully, we need as Mayor somebody with the courage to call out some of the appalling behaviour on the part of a bloc of Councillors which we’ve seen in Council meetings this term.

    Nemo: I agree about the toxicity of WCC meetings. I’ve been shocked by what I’ve seen. I remarked to a household member – who many years ago worked for another local authority – that the then mayor would never have tolerated that sort of behaviour. It needs to be called out, and I expect that of the current Mayor.

    [Comments are now closed as we’ve reached the maximum that our system can handle.]

     

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