Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I'm from the Council and only here to help...

Speaking of Mayor Bob, the eco-dinosaur, here is his local government election message. Some candidates would do well to take note, as he takes a parting swipe at the offerings.

It's election season again. The faces of candidates are grinning out of signs on roadsides and street corners around the city. I'm an old hand with a hammer. In the many hours I've spent battering in those hoardings in the last 18 years, I've always made an effort to take note of the signs put up by my fellow hopefuls. They've given me a good idea of whether there's going to be a good crop of people leading the city.

This year's Council candidates look good. There seems to be a mix of contenders with experience, energy and creativity. Many of them are new to local government. Others are respected, hard working veterans with a vision for the future of Auckland. They have a good chance of navigating the political minefield that is likely to be the first term of the Auckland Council.

It's a different story when it comes to those standing for local board. Our great new community representatives are looking like the same tired, recycled faces that have for so long acted as a roadblock to any hint of change. They're easy to spot. Most were unable to muster a smile, even a decade ago when their election photo was shot. Their slogans are short and angry. And they are mainly known for stopping things happening rather than making them happen. These candidates are potential kryptonite to democracy and vision in the new Council.

What these local boards need is vitality and enthusiasm. That's why I've come up with my own list of signs you shouldn't be standing for a local board. There's going to be exceptions, but here are some rules of thumb:

  1. You're over 70. If there's one thing we need more than people that are excited about the future of Auckland, it's people who are going to live to see it.
  2. You find yourself pining for the good old days. Auckland's future is going to be radically different from the past whether we like it or not. Being involved in the new council means committing to making it work, not bringing it down.
  3. You just want to oppose things. One of the great problems of politics is that you can fill a rugby field with people wanting to oppose an idea, but only a phone booth with those wanting to cheer something on. Let's vote for people who are about we can do for this city, rather than what we can't.
  4. You're a technophobe. If you can't use email, text or even master a hands free car phone, don't think about standing for what will be a very modern and community focussed role.
  5. You can't work with what you've got. Hide, Key, Twyford and Banks/Brown are names you'd better get used to, because they sure aren't going away soon.
  6. You're an aging Che Guevara. You're not going to be leading a revolt against the Auckland Council. No-ones going to follow you on your march to Wellington to complain about decisions.
So there's your checklist. If any or all of the above applies to you, it's probably a better idea to be booking a spot for recreational fishing in Kaitaia than standing for office. That will only cause stress and increase your heart attack risk. Don't blame me if your life turns to custard. After all, I'm from the Council and only here to help.

That's the bad news. The truth is if I had come up with a list of reasons why you should stand for local government, they would fill the rest of this report. That's why I remain optimistic for the future. I still believe we will get people with good ideas and the ability to make them a reality. But the naysaying, small mindedness and patch protection needs to go. This new Auckland Council will be bigger than that. It's going to be about the next 100 years of this city, not the last 20. Our local representatives should be as well.

I for one will glad to see the backside of said Mayor having had to endure his small minded, patch protecting offerings ever since he was elected. As well as the never ending increases in rates and reductions in services.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Do we hear candidates expressing their concerns at the runaway costs Councils have forced onto ratepayers?

That they will hold their CEO’s to account for their wasteful and profligate expenditure and overloaded payrolls!