Written By: - Date published: 8:02 am, February 26th, 2019 - 20 comments
Categories: auckland supercity, Dirty Politics, john tamihere, local body elections, local government, supercity, taxpayers union - Tags: matt mccarten, Michelle Boag
Yesterday was an interesting day at the Herald.
I have a love hate relationship with the institution.
I think that Simon Wilson, Matt Nippert and Dave Fisher are outstanding reporters, that John Roughan has good days and bad, that Heather Du Plessis Allan has mostly bad days but the occasional great day and that Mike Hosking should feck off to somewhere in his latest European sports car and leave us alone.
And I see lots of click bait. And stories that I wonder how did they get there.
Yesterday there was this opinion piece from Jordan Williams, a person deeply implicated in dirty politics and head of the Taxpayers (how they must have laughed when they decided to call it a) Union.
Jordan chose to write in praise of John Tamihere and recommend him as the super city’s next Mayor.
This caused me a degree of internal reflection.
I thought that back in 2004 Tamihere could be the next PM of Aotearoa New Zealand. I was present at a meeting of about 300 mainly european constituents thinking that giving Maori any rights over the foreshore and seabed was a really bad thing.
He stood up and explained why respecting their rights was a good thing and why Labour’s decision to remove these rules but provide recognition in other ways was acceptable.
He spoke without notes and without fear.
His Waipareira organisation has performed and still performs great things out west.
But he has weaknesses. Just google “frontbums”, “roastbusters” and “cats” to see what they are.
He has announced that one of his major policies will be something that all lefties would agree with, the ending of homelessness.
But the details are difficult to understand. From Sophie Bateman at Newshub:
John Tamihere says if he’s elected mayor of Auckland, he’ll end homelessness within his first 18 months.
The former Labour MP made the bold promise on The AM Show on Tuesday morning, three days after confirming he’ll challenge Phil Goff in October.
“Within 18 months of taking over, there won’t be anyone laying on the streets,” he told Duncan Garner. “There’s no need for it and we’ve got enough resources to fix it, and we’re rewarding poor behaviours and you’ll continue to get them if you continue to reward them.”
He says he’d implement similar strategies to those used in west Auckland.
“If you go out to Hendo [Henderson] and others, you don’t have the type of nonsense you’ve got down in the CBD.”
Unfortunately there is still homelessness out west, far too much of it.
What I cannot work out is how the right will respond to this most Micky Savage of policies?
I get the feeling that this is a piece of feel good rhetoric, and the right is willing to go along with it because the desire for power and the chance of sticking it to the left are such strong motivators.
And Jordan, taking one for the team, Williams gets to be really enthusiastic about Tamihere’s campaign:
John Tamihere’s mayoral campaign represents the first opportunity for the centre-right to take control of our Queen City. It could, if the National Party stalwarts play it right, be the Super City’s first departure from Len Brown’s high-rates, high-debt, and low-transparency approach to governance, which Phil Goff has continued.
The first, but more risky, path to success is to get behind Tamihere, hoping he delivers on tackling the problem of council debt worth more than $20,900 for every Auckland household, and 2250 staff now on salaries of more than $100,000.
This appears to be Tamihere’s pitch to voters: a former Labour politician who can pull together pedigree from across the political divide to form a united ticket for Auckland — his core campaign team includes former labour union leader Matt McCarten on the left, and former National Party president Michelle Boag on the right.
Someone should tell Williams about Tamihere’s homeless policy, this is not the sort of proposal that the right generally agree with.
But wait there is more …
Tamihere’s team is engaging with the local government researchers at the Taxpayers’ Union to identify potential savings at the council.
But punch-drunk from Brown and Goff’s broken promises on rates, ratepayers may find it difficult to accept the word of yet another Labour Party politician running for mayor and selling the same snake oil. Nevertheless, Tamihere’s aggressive waste-cutting and house-cleaning rhetoric suggests he’s aiming squarely for the anti-Goff vote.
Neale Jones sent out this interesting tweet:
I wonder what the basis of the relationship is? Is the Taxpayers Union doing it out of the goodness of their hearts or are they being commissioned to do this? The funding and nature of the relationship would be interesting to understand.
I actually think that Goff has done a good job in holding Council together, keeping rates increases low but getting dedicated rates through that will allow for improving water quality and enhancing environmental protection.
Tamihere would hate the job. It is a 70 hour a week job and you have to deal with huge egos around the Council table, deal with CCOs that are basically fiefdoms and propose and advance all sorts of things.
Lefties should be really worried about Tamihere’s buddying up to the right. And Jordan Williams supporting him.
They risk getting rid of a moderate progressive mayor and getting someone who is rather risky instead.
Super City is one bad mayor away from disaster. Tamihere would hate the job. I think we can do much better.