- Date published:
12:46 pm, January 16th, 2010 - 22 comments
Categories: auckland supercity, C&R, local body elections, supercity - Tags: aaron bhatnagar, auckland supercity, citizens and ratepayers, john banks
There is a story in today’s Herald noting that current C&R Hobson councillor Aaron Bhatnagar is not going to stand for the new super-council. He is taking on the running of Banks’ faltering mayoral campaign and has been offered a job in the new mayoral office should they turn around Len Brown’s momentum.
But the other buzz is that Bhatnagar is eyeing up national politics – and that could cause big problems on the right.
Bhatnagar, aka Barzini the bizarre late night Wikipedia vandal, is a likely front runner for the traditionally National held seat of Epsom (following Richard Worth resigning). Aaron is now the current chairman of the National Party Remuera branch. And there is no love lost between Bhatnagar and the seat’s current occupant Rodney Hide. He ran Worth’s failed electorate campaign in 2008 and was openly scornful of ACT’s campaign in 2005.
Why the animosity? Bhatnagar used to be a board member of ACT but fell out with the leadership. Here he is saying: ‘If you knew the reasons why I left ACT, I think you might have a slightly different tune, but I will not be telling that story as long as there is a Rodney Hide in Parliament.’
And later on the same blog saying: ‘I wouldn’t dream of offering a merger to ACT. I think ACT should simply wind itself up and fold itself into National’, perhaps hinting at his future intentions.
Now that Hide’s credibility has taken a huge hammering with revelations he’s been rorting the taxpayer with dodgy trips abroad, Bhatnagar could be sniffing his chance, with true blue National voters in Epsom fed up with Hide’s antics (he also dismissed John Key as a ‘do-nothing prime minister’). Even Rodger Douglas and Heather Roy spotted the writing on the wall when they tried to oust Hide from the leadership last month.
Bhatnagar has big name recognition in the electorate from his time as a city councillor and has a huge chance to take the seat back from Hide.
Why do the Nats want Angry Aaron Bhatnagar to knock out Hide? How will ACT respond to this given Epsom is their only chance to stay in parliament? How will this affect the current uneasy working relationship between ACT and National in the local body elections later this year?