‘Reduce rates’ promises

Political promises are Clayton’s promises – they are promises that are not really promises. They are statements of ‘I’d like you to think I would do this if elected but it depends…’

In local body election campaigns ever escalating rates inevitably attract promises but the promises never seem to be delivered.

NZ Herald: Auckland’s would-be mayors offering same old hoary chestnuts

The triennial “silly season” is upon us. Most of the mayoral candidates and many of the council aspirants are trotting out the hoary old chestnuts, reduction of rates, for example, or capping rates. Remember those promises any other times? Remember any rates reductions, or “caps” staying in place?

Does anyone remember anyone actually drinking Claytons, ‘the drink you have when you’re not having a drink’?

…please look at the website showing press statements of Phil Goff…

From Goff’s policies:

  • Rate rises will be kept low and affordable at an average of 2.5 percent per annum or less, if current Council fiscal projections are correct and the CPI stays low.

Rates are high now so can’t be ‘kept low’ by allowing them to continue to rise faster than inflation. And Goff has two out clauses so this is not a promise, it is political snake oil.

Vic Crone delivers fairly similar, glib statements, including “keeping residential rates low”. She will also “cap rates”.

So Aucklanders can expect that their rates will remain high and will be capped at whatever the mayor and councillors think they can get away with without being run out of office.

Crone, like Goff, also proposes to make savings (“at least $500million”) and increase efficiency by reducing “back office waste” and by “efficient procurement”.

Meaningless mumbo jumbo.

Mark Thomas…

…has a more varied menu of options, such as: “freezing rates for a year with targeted options” or, “two further options of targeted growth involving an average rates increase of ‘around’ 2-4 per cent including a version of targeted rates”.

No sign of anything different there.

John Palino proposes to…

“…reduce rates by 10 per cent across the first term” by reducing spending on “non-core” and “wasteful spending”, “discretionary activities”, “payroll costs”, bringing these down “to a more normal level”.

At least Palino doesn’t pretend that rates are currently low, but I don’t know how anyone can believe he can get the support of councillors to reduce rates by 10%.

Penny Bright still doesn’t pay her own rates.

Voters are likely to remember things like this: Len Brown breaks election rates promise

Auckland Council’s budget committee has voted 16-7 for a proposal to increase rates by 3.5 per cent for each year of a new 10-year budget.

The proposal got the backing of Mayor Len Brown, who promised voters to hold rates at 2.5 per cent this term.

Nearly one in four households face rates increases of more than 10 per cent, largely due to big rises in property valuations.

 

Auckland mayoral poll – two leaders

In two ways of looking at an Auckland mayoral poll there are two leaders – Phil Goff easily leads the other contenders, but ‘Don’t Know’ easily leads Goff.

But care needs to be taken with this poll – it has been done by a pollster with an unknown record and was done entirely online with none of the traditional polling being done.

The Spinoff: Exclusive: new Spinoff/SSI poll shows Phil Goff with huge lead in Auckland mayoral race

A survey commissioned for the Spinoff’s War for Auckland pop-up site puts the Labour MP well in front of his nearest rival, Vic Crone, just weeks out from voting. But many remain undecided.

Comparing the contenders (decided voters):

  • Phil Goff 60.3%
  • Victoria Crone 15.5%
  • John Palino 7.9%
  • Penny Bright 4.6%
  • Mark Thomas 3.3%
  • David Hay 2.8%
  • Other 5.6%

This is a big lead for Goff. Being the only one with well established name recognition the lead isn’t a surprise but perhaps the size of his lead is.

Crone has a huge job to try and close the large gap.

Palino stood against Brown last election so should be known, but his campaign has failed to impress since it launched.

But the numbers look a bit different when adding one significant number.

 

  • Don’t know 43.7%
  • Phil Goff 31.2%
  • Victoria Crone 8.0%
  • No intention of voting 4.6%
  • John Palino 4.1%
  • Penny Bright 2.4%
  • Mark Thomas 1.7%
  • David Hay 1.4%
  • Other 2.9%

 

Despite the large lack of certainty – about half chose none of the candidates – that is still a huge lead for Goff. As ‘don’t knows’ get to know other candidates the gap may close but this looks like it is Goff’s campaign to lose. This seems unlikely as he is likely to run a fairly bland campaign.

However the accuracy of this poll is unknown. It was conducted by am international pollster with no phone surveying done.

Survey Sampling International conducted an online survey of 760 Auckland residents 18+ with quota applied for gender, age and Auckland region. Polling took place August 17-19 and there is a margin of error of +/- 3.6%.

From the SSI website, About:

SSI is the premier global provider of data solutions and technology to drive business success.

As the premier global provider of data solutions and technology for consumer and business-to-business survey research, SSI reaches respondents in 100+ countries via Internet, telephone, mobile/wireless and mixed-access offerings.

 

The ladders of democracy should be equal

Democratic processes should be as even handed and equal opportunity as possible. The Auckland mayoralty contest seems to be far from fair.

Quinton Hogg at Whale Oil pointed out something I have been meaning to post on:

I attended the EMA candidates meeting last week where Ms Crone, Mr Goff and Mark Thomas spoke. And Penny Bright stood outside in the cold as she wasn’t let in.

Of the three Mark Thomas was the most impressive. I had heard Ms Crone previously without being impressed and Mr Goff wandered through the platitudes.

Slater added:

The EMA refused to allow John Palino to participate.

This stinks, regardless of how anyone may rate candidates at this early stage of the pre-campaign campaign.

It is sad to see the Employer’s and Manufacturer’s Association picking and choosing candidates to give exposure to.

Penny bright may have limited appeal, especially to an EMA audience, but she’s prepared to put herself forward and should be given an equal opportunity in a democratic contest.

John Palino (who has Slater as an adviser) and got off to a poor start with a launch that was treated as a bit of a joke by media, but he is one of the choices so should be in the mix at any election meeting.

But this does have some irony as Whale Oil is not exactly an equal opportunity blog for candidates. Slater seems to have been quiet on Palino but has been predictably critical of Goff, and frequently very critical of Crone who happens to have a good chance of keeping Palino out of the contest.

Slater is also often critical of ‘the media party’ and how they influence politics, but this is even more ironic given his claim to be serious media but is far more biased and attack orientated than the MSM are ever likely to be.

The Auckland mayoralty and democracy are being poorly served all round.

The ladders of democracy should be as even as possible.

Anti democratic Auckland election event

The South Auckland Business Group is ratepayer funded and is running a mayoral election event, but it is only inviting two candidates.

Worse, they invited John Palino and then cancelled the invitation. Palino stood for the Auckland mayoralty in 2013 and got 108,928 votes (31.67%).

Regardless of perceived prospects, selecting some candidates and excluding others is unfair and is very poor democratic process.

Radio NZ reports: Mayoral hopefuls decry rescinded invitations

Two Auckland mayoral candidates aren’t happy at being invited and then excluded from an election event being organised by a ratepayer-funded business group.

Mark Thomas and John Palino said they were invited to the South Harbour Business Association candidate event, but then removed from the line-up, leaving just Vic Crone and Phil Goff.

Mr Palino said he was invited by email to join a line-up including Phil Goff and Mark Thomas, but 20 minutes later received another email withdrawing the invitation.

Ironically RNZ did similar in 2013, at least in Dunedin where they featured only four of eight candidates in their election coverage because they ruled out the chances of half the candidates, denying them equal opportunity to attract votes.

The business lunch was organised by the South Harbour Business Association, which is funded entirely by a targeted rate and a grant from the Auckland Council.

Email exchanges obtained by RNZ News showed some of the on-again, off-again exchanges:

  • April 6 2.18pm: SHBA’s manager Alex Holley, confirms that Vic Crone and Phil Goff will attend.
  • April 21 12.27pm: SHBA writes to the Goff campaign – “Further to my email regarding Mark Thomas wanting to join, I have received a call from Victoria Crone’s representative saying Victoria will not appear with Phil and Mark.”
  • April 27 11.49am: SHBA invites mayoral candidate John Palino to present “alongside Phil Goff and Mark Thomas.”
  • April 27 12.05pm: SHBA emails John Palino (16 minutes later) “Please disregard my previous email as my request is now withdrawn.”

That’s very shoddy, as is the selection of two candidates and rejection of others.

Ironically Radio NZ has pre-selected candidates that it wants to give campaign exposure to in the past.

RNZ allowed only four of the eight Dunedin mayoral candidates to feature in their election coverage in the 2013 campaign, and presumably did similar for other cities as they defended their anti-democratic pre-election selectiveness.

That was very shoddy, especially for a fully publicly funded broadcaster. I hope they give fair and even coverage this year.

Another Auckland mayoral candidate?

With John Palino’s mayoral campaign derailing at it’s train wreck launch attention is already moving back to other candidates and forward to another possible high profile candidate, Michael Barnett.

That would make the field even more crowded on the centre right.

Richard Harman from Politik was at Palino’s launch and has posted on AUCKLAND’S CHAOTIC MAYORAL CAMPAIGN.

He said that National will…

…probably not lose too much sleep over the announcement yesterday by café proprietor and 2013 candidate John Palino that he was standing again.

It didn’t go well.

But…

…with Mr Lusk running  his camopaign, and “Whaleoil” Cameron Slater in the background, Mr Palino looks unlikely to pull out.

At Whale Oil yesterday Cameron Slater suggested candidates consider whether they consolidate their position and policies.

It was no surprise to see the sensible Stephen Berry endorse the position, but with some additional things to consider around rates.

It’s worth considering whether or not these two should consolidate their position and policies.

So would Berry pull out to improve another candidate’s chances? Possibly. I asked him and he responded:

When I announced my candidacy in April last year, I did so on the proviso that I would stand as long as there was no other candidate who represented Affordable Auckland’s position and could attract more votes. That still remains my position and what is most important in this election is ensuring a centre-right majority in the next Council. I’d welcome working with other individuals and groups on the centre-right to make that happen.

It’s too early to say at this stage whether that may be Palino. I have an open mind on the matter and would love to be pleasantly surprised by some serious policy announcements from Crone or Thomas.

I think a lot of people would be pleasantly surprised by some serious policy announcements.

When Berry announced he would stand he said:

“What is most important for the future of Auckland is not whether I win the Mayoralty, but whether politicians advocating smaller government and less regulation win a majority on the Council.

Affordable Auckland will be taking a strategic approach to ensure this occurs.”

Berry’s campaign website: Affordable Auckland. He followed Palino’s launch with a press release More to Rates Than Just the Rate.

Harman looks at the other candidates from centre to right.

Ms Crone has the backing of two Cabinet Ministers so she won’t pull out.

Mark Thomas, who stood aside once before in the 1996 election campaign in Wellington Central to allow Richard Prebble through, will undoubtedly come under immense pressure to stand down.

So Crone will probably remain in the race and Thomas may or may not.

And will Barnett also join the line up?

Meanwhile speculation is mounting among National Party insiders in Auckland that Chamber of Commerce, CEO, Michael Barnett, may also add his name to the list of Mayoral hopefuls.

But…

Mr Barnett can expect little enthusiasm for any candidacy he may want to mount.

Unless that mess can be somehow sorted out this all looks good for Phil Goff. There is no credible competition for him to his left, Penny Bright may get some protest vote but annoys more people than she attracts, and David Hay is there in name only at this stage and I don’t think he will get the Green machine behind him.

Auckland mayoralty – online poll

Duncan Garner is running a RadioLive online poll Aucklanders, who do you want to be mayor?

Online polls are easily manipulated so should be viewed with caution but could give us some indicators on the mayoralty.

It’s far too early to know who will be standing for mayor of Auckland, although current mayor Len Brown has confirmed he won’t seek re-election.

His main opponent last time, John Palatino, has said he will make an announcement on February 29.

Six people have indicated they will stand (there’s no guarantee they will all stay inb the race).

AucklandMayoraltyRadioLivePoll

Phil Goff has the highest profile by far and was always going to be one of the front runners, so no surprise to see him near the top here, but slightly surprising to see him a close second.

Vic McCrone is seen as the biggest competition to Goff. Pipping him here (so far) could indicate she has successfully raised her profile and established credibility, or her campaign team may have done better organising poll clickers.

Penny Bright, who has claimed she is the Bernie Sanders of the contest, is a creditable third. She stood last time getting 3.41%, has worked on improving her profile mainly through protests, and may have an effective social media network.

Stephen Berry also stood last time getting 3.97% but has some work to do to become competitive.

Mark Thomas is a past National party electorate candidate but doesn’t have party support in his bid here, and is struggling to make an impression generally and in this poll.

David Hay was a Green candidate but was suspended from the party after he challenged Russel Norman’s leadership in 2013. It is apparent that the Green online machine isn’t working for him in this poll.

Bright, Thomas, Hay, Berry, Goff standing for mayor

It’s no surprise at all that Phil Goff has annnouned he will be standing for mayor of Auckland.

He has already been getting a lot of media attention – and free publicity. The media machine tends to strongly favour those who are already well known to them. Some potential candidates they simply ignore, ruling out any chance they will be noticed by an apathetic voting public.

Others who have announced their intention to stand include:

  • Stephen Berry (former ACT candidate)
  • Mark Thomas (Orakei Local Board member)
  • Penny Bright (protester and blog self promoter)
  • David Hay (former Green Party member, council employee)

Don’t expect the media to rate them a chance or give them an equal chance.

In a launch promotion coverage at Stuff:

At the moment Goff is by far the front runner in a race that has only seen lesser candidates declare their hand.

Regardless of their potential capabilities the labeled ‘lesser cndidates’ will get significantly lesser media attention and get lesser votes. They are efectively ruled out as soon as they begin.

Goff may make a good mayor, and the media will ensure he has the best possible chance of winning.

Plus he has the advantage of remaining an MP so he can effectively do a lot of his preliminary campaigning while being paid to be a Member of Parliament.

For most people to stand any chance they have to quit any paid job and commit to campaigning at their own expense.