Thursday, August 19, 2004

We want Dick.......

This goes out on at 8:10 am on a Friday Morning


In some of the best news the anti-John Banks brigade has had in a long time the muesli-millionaire Dick Hubbard has announced that he is entering the Mayoral race.

Although he may not yet have any real policies as yet, what he does have is a good, vote-worthy image and, incidentally, an annoying predilection for exclamation marks - if you saw his full page ad in the paper yesterday you will know what I mean
He is famous for being a socially responsible businessman – whatever that means - and for flying his staff to Samoa. Hubbard certainly has the feel-good factor.

It was largely this amorphous feel-good factor that got Christine Fletcher elected Mayor in the first place. She was riding high in public opinion for her spirited activism in Parliament on Auckland education issues and was seen as more colourful than Les Mills.
Putting aside the fact that even with a fitness-factory named after him the Waikato River was more colourful than Mills doesn’t help her case.

However, on taking office Fletcher proved to be ineffective, wishy-washy and a very average manager of the council. Try to think of one thing she did – I can’t.

So along came Banks. A cowboy on his Harley. Larger than life with Bentleys, Jetskis and very un-Grey-Lynn opinions.

And, in the absence of a better candidate, he handsomely won.

How did someone with Banks’ past, well publicised, rotten outbursts win? I mean this is a guy who fought tooth and nail against the Homosexual Reform Bill, who once famously said that Asian people ate everything with four legs except tables and chairs, and so on and so nastier…. Simply a man who was the bane of Liberal New Zealand.

Well he won because the bulk of the people who bother voting in the postal-ballot council elections are the elderly, the wealthy and traditionally the right wing establishment types.
Turnout in the last election was somewhere around 40%. So all of the very vocal anti-Banksers can not possibly have voted. If you don’t vote you can’t complain.

The problem is that Banks didn’t just win – he creamed Fletcher by a stonking 15,000 votes. Although were there a better candidate and a more motivated electorate that is not an insurmountable figure to turn around.

But until Dick Hubbard put his hand up there simply wasn’t.

I mean look at them.
Bruce Hucker is well-intentioned, well-meaning, has good left wing politics, is caring and a pretty effective councillor but most importantly he is even less exciting than that description suggests.
And as far as Fletcher goes, as has been noted, there are around 15000 reasons she isn’t about to top Banksie.
So Hubbard may be just the man for the job, a candidate people might vote for. This is opposed to what Fletcher was offering which was pretty much – a vote for me is a vote against Banks.

But unless people start actually bothering to vote in these elections Banks is going to cruise back in. Honestly – even if everyone who wants Banks out manages to back one candidate it’ll still be his to lose.

First step is to make sure you are on the electoral roll at the correct address – the quickest and easiest way is to go to because unless the postal-ballot arrives in your mailbox there is no-way you can have your say. I think there is a slogan in that.

For what it’s worth I like Mayor of Auckland John Banks – he has made my world a more colourful place – but then again as a news-junkie I’m amoral, perhaps even immoral on these things. So perhaps don’t bother and, as Banksie puts it –keep the dream alive.


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