- Date published:
4:20 pm, December 15th, 2009 - 29 comments
Categories: auckland supercity, john banks, len brown, privatisation - Tags: auckland supercity, john banks, len brown, privatisation
It’s interesting to look at the trend behind the headline 11 point poll lead Len Brown has opened up over John Banks as reported in today’s Herald. In April Brown was only rated as preferred mayor by 6% of Aucklanders verse 17% for Banks. A head-to-head poll in late July put him one point ahead of Banks and now he’s opened up a significant lead and surely has the momentum at the beginning of election year.
What is emerging is that Banks’ superb name recognition is not the positive his campaign hoped for. He is clearly a polarising figure, and voters seem to have pretty fixed views on him which will be hard to shift. His support base is firm, but so too is his opposition, and the latter is larger.
One suspects Banks’ polling is showing a similar story. He’s tried to soften his language in the past two months. He’s ceased to focus purely on rates. He’s even been talking about the importance of community services. The danger he faces is that in so doing he’s playing on Brown’s â€˜home ground’, on issues where he lacks credibility.
Len Brown, by contrast, has much lower recognition, but is picking up support as he becomes better known. He’ll need to work to turn that 11 point poll lead into voter turnout. Given the increased interest in this election, the importance of the first council to Auckland’s future and the contrast between the candidates, voter turnout will jump next year (as it did after the 1989 local body amalgamations). He’ll also need to develop a comprehensive plan for Auckland, continue building his profile, build a strong campaign machine and keep up the momentum.
Rodney Hide might have handed the campaigns a defining issue – privatisation by including provisions in the third Auckland governance bill which reduce the threshold for selling off council owned assets, like the port. Banks is trying to disavow any intention to privatise any assets, but his past record is the opposite. Brown should run hard on this issue.