Bit of a group effort this one.
John Boscawen MP – Boscawen is mad as a hatter and pretty damn ignorant. So he should appeal to the hard-right voters. In Parliament, he has argued against the Waterview tunnel and for a surface motorway. That’s not going to fly with the people of Mt Albert, especially the rightwingers who don’t want to see the values of their homes and rental properties hurt. Not a serious contender but he will campaign seriously. No Epsom-style deal with National here – Boscawen is too pigheaded for a start.
Melissa Lee MP – she’s going to have to come up with a good answer to the question ‘why won’t National give Aucklanders their referendum on the supercity?’ because she’s going to be asked it at every public meeting. Clue – ‘it’s too complicated’ won’t cut it. On top of that, she’s going to have to defend a Black Budget and rising unemployment. Joyce isn’t going to drop her in it by announcing National will cancel the Waterview tunnel in favour of a surface motorway but she will be expected to have an answer on where National stands. Clue – ‘um’ won’t cut it. Lee is prideful and prone to outbursts when challenged, that’s a ticking time bomb that might go off in her face.
Russel Norman MP – Russel’s main position is that there shouldn’t be a tunnel or a surface motorway. The danger for Russel is that this will make him be seen as an arrogant outsider preaching to the people of Mt Albert who are very strongly in favour of the tunnel. Right now the people of Mt Albert are having to contend with their roads being jammed every morning with commuters going from the outer suburbs to the CBD ‘rat racing’ through their suburb. An Aussie from Wellington telling them they shouldn’t get Waterview and there should be some undefined mass public transport instead won’t be popular. If he manages to poll well he will cement his place as male co-leader. If he can’t the Greens will know they need to look elsewhere. The other challenge for Russel is to not be seen as cozying up to National and only criticising Shearer, it will hurt the Greens at the national level if they are seen to be selling out like the Maori Party.
David Shearer – yeah, he’s got the international pedigree but does he actually give a damn about local issues that matter to the voters in Mt Albert, and can he drop the language of the international player to communicate accessibly with ordinary Kiwis? He is the front-runner – it has always been a Labour seat, the gap between National and Labour nationally is narrowing, his party is on the locals’ side when it comes to Waterview and the supercity but he still needs to give those people a reason to bother going to vote for him. The people of Mt Albert are used to having, in Helen Clark, a representative who was a major figure at the national and international levels while simultaneously an attentive local MP. Shearer has to show he’s got the potential to give them at least a good deal of what they got from Clark.