Voting has opened in the Auckland Local Body Elections for 2013. As usual, nobody cares about anything other than who is going to be mayor, and as usual, the candidates' descriptions of themselves reveal much about the mood of the populace. UPDATE: it turns out all this information is available online.
Want to know how much the National government messed up when setting up the Supercity? Among the 17 candidates for mayor, only 4 could really been seen to be on the right side of the political spectrum, and even a couple of those are marginal. They are handily outnumbered by left leaning candidates, including a card-carrying member of the Communist League ("I demand the immediate withdrawal of NZ armed forces from abroad"; not something the mayor of Auckland has much say over, but all the best, comrade)
I was expecting more candidates to mention the rising council rates, a frequently mentioned bugbear among my home-owning friends. Many of the candidates mention rates in passing but only one is unequivocally promising cuts, and only one other is promising a hard cap. There is much talk of fairness and equability but this is just Auckese for moving the rates increases to suburbs in which nobody you like lives (I vote Sandringham - those guys are dicks).
And of course, what would the Mayoral race be without some -ahem- interesting policies?
Jesse Butler has a masters degree, a penchant for punctuation, and a great plan for the first six weeks of his mayoralty:
... Week 3: Public Hui. Veto Unitary Plan. Your house rules. Priorities. Mokos. Babies. Children. Mothers. Elderly. Sick. Veterans. Retired. Disabled. New Aucklanders. Week 4: Gang hui. Truce. Cease violence/crime. Priority. Tourism. Public safety. Rewards? Economic packages. Early releases. ...
Emmett Hussey is interested in controlling immigration but also plans to sue the Chow brothers over the Palace Hotel debacle. He pledges to donate half his mayoral salary to causes he deems worthy, which is good. More worrying is point 5 of his manifesto:
I promise to strive (within my control) to spend the council's money as though it were my own money.
I think I know what he means, but there has got to be a better way of phrasing that sentence.
Paul Duffy's plan is to "reinvent politics" by removing three quarters of the politicians and running the city via online referendums, thus improving GDP so that NZ tops the OECD again, advancing innovation, family, and "Olympic Gold Medals". Fabulous.
Phil O'Connor has a different vision:
When elected I intend to use every facility of the Mayoral Office to rally all people of goodwill to eliminate legalized abortion. All my energy will be focused on this single issue.
Again, not something that really falls under the purview of the Mayor's Office. O'Connor is also the only candidate not to supply a photo for the booklet. He can't look any worse than some of the other runners, there are photos that look like police mugshots. You guys are running for an important office, at least smile a little.
Despite the recent flap in Hamilton there is only candidate that is campaigning to remove fluoridation from the water supply. I guess that is something.
It occurs to me that many of the single-issue candidates could advance their causes by teaming up and forming a party under a single leader, their policies are not mutually exclusive and could be easily carried out in parallel. Vote NIAFLOR : "No immigration, abortions, fluoridation, or corruption, but lots of roads".
Voting papers must be received by Saturday the 12th of October.