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Auckland Moves Left

Written By: - Date published: 11:03 pm, October 9th, 2010 - 13 comments
Categories: auckland supercity - Tags:

As the dust settles on the local elections we have new mayors in Hamilton and Dunedin and Bob Parker successfully using his no-campaign campaign and the earthquake to retain his mayoralty in Christchurch.  Wellington was an unexpected cliffhanger that has the media scrambling with why they failed to cover it more – Prendergast currently holds on by 40 votes, but nothing will be decided before Monday when special votes etc will be counted.

But in Auckland there was always going to be an incumbent winning for the first time, and it turned out to be Len.

But it’s not just the man at the top the left can be happy with.  Auckland may have provided a few new seats to National at the last general election, but the centre-right mood is evidently not lasting.  Because despite Rortney setting up the supercity to give over-representation to conservative rural areas, and setting two-member seats up so that the traditionally low-voting poor would miss representation, the council and local boards aren’t looking very right-wing either.

Over the last few weeks we saw those in poorer areas making sure they had their say, and a much better organised campaign from the Left.  This gave Len a great mandate, winning by 14% over Banks, but also ensured a council he could get more from.  Of course Len has shown in Manukau how well he can work across the aisle, but it’s always easier the more there are on your side.

By my reckoning there are 10 progressives and 9 conservatives on the council, with 1 genuinely centrist independent.  The conservatives include only 5 Citizens & Ratepayers (National’s local body vehicle); and also include former Papakura mayor Calum Penrose who’ll be more pro-Papakura than pro-right wing, and Arthur Anae, who campaigned on left-wing policies, including making Auckland more like Manukau with full services etc (how well he would have got on with former National Party colleague Banks as mayor is unclear…).

The Local Boards have certainly thrown up some surprises – in the North Shore especially.  There the majority of all the boards appear progressive, sometimes strongly so – this in an area that has had no Labour MPs in the last 2 elections, and most seats are very safe National.  C&R managed a clean-sweep in Botany (Howick), but other than that struggled to impose in some of their heartland areas.

Of course, the SuperCity set up is going to provide some hard work for Len and co to overcome and get democracy back into it – but I’m sure he’s the man who’ll be up to the job.

As a footnote, the representation on the Council looks both good and bad.  Good on gender – 40% women compares well to parliament.  Bad on ethnic diversity – the need for Maori seats is only shown up by the results.  Alf Filipaina is part-Maori/part-Samoan, and Arthur Anae is the only other non-European at the top table.  90% Pakeha isn’t a good look in a city that’s only 60% white.

[Update: missed Des Morrison being Ngapuhi – 85% Pakeha’s still a fairly large over-representation though.  The 20% Asian population being the most markedly missing]

13 comments on “Auckland Moves Left”

  1. RC 1

    Actually Des Morrison’s a Maori too from Ngapuhi …… so two maori cant be all that bad, sounds interesting really ….. I wonder if hes related to Sir Howard ???

    The youngest Councillor from Albany is 25 years, now thats interesting

    I like the new council, its very mixed with caterers to all city needs from the green cronies to businesses to cultures and communities, male:females and ages

    The only hope I have is for all to make it work for all of us Jafas, im 70% confident it would

  2. Julie 2

    I think Jamie Lee Ross claims some Maori whakapaka too?
    There is a definite swing left in many areas, compared not only with 2007 but also more historically. In my area of Puketapapa for eg it is the best result for the centre-left ever, even though C&R still got the board majority.
    IMHO shows the importance of a) having a clear, single, credible centre -left candidatefor mayor and b) high turnout, for left success in Akl local elections.
    It’s also been a timely practice run for many Labour electorate organizations ahead of 2011.

    • just saying 2.1

      Congratualtions Julie. I’m not sure iif the local body elections result are as relevant to national politics, as many are claiming, but it is encouraging that few more people like you have been elected across the country.

      Kia ora.

  3. Apart from Jamie Lee Ross the C&R councillors are relatively centrist. I am sure that Len will be able to work with them.

    • Zaphod Beeblebrox 3.1

      Notice how the ones that have had violent disgareements with Hide or the old boys network (Webster, Wood, Fletcher, Brewer) did well. Poor old Alex Swney would have been better off not accepting C and R support.

      The rule seems to be the vocal your opposition to the Super City- the more votes you get.

  4. rosy 4

    “Wellington was an unexpected cliffhanger that has the media scrambling with why they failed to cover it more”

    IMO the media failed to cover the campaign in Wellington because every time Kerry made a statement she dropped votes. So better for the (right-leaning) media to report nothing at all.

  5. Draco T Bastard 5

    As a footnote, the representation on the Council looks both good and bad.

    As I’ve said before – the people who represent you are the people you vote for not the people with the same colour skin or set of genitals. Identity politics is even less rational than the free-market.

  6. gingercrush 6

    The Auckland electorates National gained in 2008 have typically not been National-held seats (indeed first time Auckland Central went to National). Of the three Auckland Central I’m sure will o Labour’s way Nikki campaigned well and I’m sure she’s liked in the electorate but she really only got the seat because of how split the Greens-Labour vote is there. Waitakere went National’s way again because the Greens and Labour split their vote. But it’ll be more determined on whether Bennett’s relatively high profile in government works for/or against her. Maungakiekie is a bit more interesting. The Greens as tends to happen outside South Auckland got over 1, 000 votes but both Matt Robson and the Act candidate each had over 700 votes. It’ll be the hardest for Labour to win back though is possible.

    For all the left screaming about how Hide set up the Super City and all the supposedly advantage given to the right. Most of it was nonsense. The left always had a very good chance in Auckland. The West and South have long been Labour strongholds and the North Shore council itself was rather left-leaning and Labour has done well on the North Shore in the past. Most of the old Auckland City has always been advantageous to Labour. Other than the East and Remuera. Labour has typically done very well. Setting up the Super City itself was also going to be problematic for the right because of the reluctance of most for there to even be a Super City. And local issues in the Mt. Albert by-election meant that local issues play a part. That the left ran a far better campaign and seemed to be positioned nicely months ago whereas the right were asleep.

    I do think the Super City election outcome will be a reality check for National and the right. If you campaign half-asleep and make assumptions that you’ll win, you tend to do rather shitty. The lack of grassroots support and a too-corporate campaign structure will be concerns and should be fixed by the time Election 2011 comes. And they should hopefully be reminded that a campaign based around negativity (C&R, John Banks, Labour 2008) don’t tend to work. People need issues to grasp, something again C&R, John Banks and Labour 2008 lacked. So Key should have a much sharper issue-based campaign than he had in 2008.

    More concerning than the lack of Asians, Maori etc is that most of the people that made it to council throughout New Zealand still tend to be the same old people. It doesn’t matter whether those people are Maori, Asian, Pacific Island, Indian etc. They tend to be middle class/high income earners, those advocating on the left in particular tend to be liberal academic people, professional based careers or business people/farmers and particularly noticeable this year are the number of former politicians.

    In the Super City itself, I’m personally concerned at how many people elected are former MPs (5 of them, MPs – Northey, Fletcher, Anae, Webster and Heartley. 4 former mayors – Fletcher, Heartley, Penrose and Wood. Two of the councillors came straight from either being a Mayor or the Regional Council Chair. And most of the other councillors were previously councillors of councils now disbanded. Its not particularly diverse and I’m not talking race or gender but that most of them have been in the politics arena for a very long time and I can’t see how it is good for a new council structure to have so many of the same professional political class. That for years have fucked Auckland about.

  7. Nick K 7

    The Local Boards have certainly thrown up some surprises – in the North Shore especially. There the majority of all the boards appear progressive, sometimes strongly so – this in an area that has had no Labour MPs in the last 2 elections, and most seats are very safe National.

    Not sure you have this right Bunji. Your board is clogged with centre-right people, as is Upper Harbour Board. The Hibiscus/Bays board is a mixed bag. Kaipatiki has three definite “progressives”, but the Shore Voice team is unlikely to side with them.

  8. RC 8

    quote from: http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/local-elections-2010/59153/brown-aims-to-limit-rates-increases-to-4-percent

    ” The council’s youngest member, Jami-Lee Ross, says no matter what Auckland wants, the council obeys Parliament as the ultimate authority ”

    ^^ Who is this Jami guy? if he cant stand up to the government for the voices of the people, who the hek voted him in. Hes way too right for my liking now after reading more about him. Does he have any substance on sticking up for the people of Auckland on a Regional level? or is he there just to keep his far right cronies happy in Parliament? The comment he made is totally wrong in a sense that this is about Auckland and what we want, as thats why this Super City was built for in the first place, you DONT OBEY to the Government, you DISCUSS TO CONSENSUS OR AGREEMENT! If Auckland wants something, I hope he delivers! …….. Jami this major council is a third of the country on many levels, its no ordinary council, Get with it! shape up or ship out.

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