If he decides to run again I suspect that Phil Goff will easily be re-elected as Auckland Super City mayor. The job is immensely complex and hampered by the Super City model but Goff has performed well despite having to battle Covid and its consequences.
And he has learned that Local Government is a different beast to Central Government. Earlier criticisms that he was not consulting sufficiently with councillors have disappeared. He has addressed water quality and environmental concerns with targeted rates that are having a positive effect in these areas. And when it comes to the big stuff, such as getting budgets passed, he has managed to achieve these without difficulty.
So it is his for the taking. But he has already served six years in the role and the thought of committing to a further three years is clearly something he is considering.
The job is daunting. In my view it is the toughest political job in the country. Having 1.7 million constituents and having to continuously corral a disparate group of councillors without the benefit of a party system is at times all consuming.
It has also been rumoured that Goff could be in line for the American Ambassador’s position. This must have some appeal.
There is discussion about who his successor may be. In a clear sign that Goff is thinking of moving on former Labour leader David Shearer’s name was floated as a possible successor. Shearer is a good friend of Goff’s and these sorts of media stories do not appear randomly.
But yesterday this potentially managed succession was tipped on its head by an announcement by Manukau Councillor Efeso Collins that if Goff stands down he wants to be considered for the job.
From Todd Niall at Stuff:
Auckland councillor Efeso Collins is keen for a run at the Auckland mayoralty.
In July, Collins and his family received bomb and death threats after criticising the reality TV show Police Ten 7. He said this moment was pivotal in putting his name forward.
“I studied philosophy at university, and there was a philosopher who said our decisions are made more real when we confront the idea of death,” Collins told Stuff.
“My family have reflected on the bomb threats. We want to give our lives and our time toward an amazing cause. And I want to spend my time giving back to Auckland.”
Collins said it was too early to confirm his candidacy, but as mayor he would give back to a city which had “given so much” to he and his family.
“If the Labour Party were to run a selection process for a mayoral candidate that they will endorse, I would be more than happy to make myself available to seek that nomination,” the Manukau Ward councillor said.
A Collins candidacy would potentially lack the big funding required to run an effective Mayoral campaign. But he would feature strongly in the South and the West where all of the Mayoral campaigns have been won. And he is an exceptional public speaker and is bright but down to earth.
I suspect that a Collins campaign would draw heavily on Pacific talent and rely on social media such as this gem, produced for his tilt for the Manukau East seat.
Together with Josephine Bartley Efeso has been doing sterling work getting Auckland’s Pasifeka population vaccinated. In the Counties Maanukau Health Board area the rate for Pacific is now a reassuring 89%, just short of the target. The work load is intense, but their sense of dedication and commitment to their community is exceptional.
Collins’ announcement has attracted a lot of attention. In the world’s largest Pasifeka city it may be time for its first Pasifeka Mayor.