Choosing a pig-like mayor?

Chinese born former Labour MP Raymond Huo (2008-2014) tweeted:

@RaymondHuo

Is this real? “Not afraid of divine opponents but a mayor like a pig. Choose wisely…” (Not a verbatim translation)

PalinoChineseHoarding.jpg

Keith Ng picked up on this and did some further translating.

Keith Ng Retweeted Raymond Huo

More verbatim translation: “Not afraid of a god-like opponent, most afraid of choosing a pig-like mayor make a smart choice; vote mayor, vote John Palino”

There’s not really any room for misinterpretation on the “god-like opponent” or “pig-like mayor”.

I don’t see how you can accidentally mistranslate something into god-like or pig-like.

I suspect he has a Chinese copywriter with very weird ideas, or a fairly weird sense of humour.

Weird for sure.

Wellington mayoralty

What’s up with Celia Wade-Brown pulling out of the Wellington mayoralty? Was she ever in it this year?

One the Celia for Mayor website:

Celia moving on after twenty years in local government
POSTED BY ON AUGUST 05, 2016

Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown has announced today that she will not be standing for election in the upcoming local body elections.

 “After 20 years of successful local government service, 6 years as Mayor and 14 years as a councillor prior to that, I am ready to move on and contribute to the community in a different capacity,” said Ms Wade-Brown.

She then goes on to praise herself and Wellington City.

After which there are a number of praising endorsements from a variety people that are more the sort of thing you would expect from someone campaigning for office.

This seems late for the incumbent mayor of a major city to decide not to stand for re-election.

Cosgrove to work for Mayor Goff

Duncan Garner tweeted this morning:

Hat tip; Clayton Cosgrove to work for Phil Goff when he becomes Mayor of Akld. 

I heard that somewhere a while ago too, so maybe this is a thing.

In April Cosgrove announced he wouldn’t stand again at the next election. He lost the Waimakariri electoratein 2011 and has been a list MP since.

RNZ in April: Labour’s Clayton Cosgrove to leave politics

He said he wanted to take on new challenges and opportunities and was looking for opportunities in the business sector. He did not rule out resigning his seat before the election.

Working for a mayor is not in the business sector. Working for an ex-fellow MP sounds like jobs for mates.

I’m not aware of Cosgrove having much of a connection with Auckland.

Lining Cosgrove up alongside Goff makes it look less like the independent bid for the mayoralty that Goff has tried to portray, and more like an attempted Labour Party takeover.

Goff is probably still hot favourite to win the Auckland mayoralty but Goff + Cosgrove gives his opponents more of a shot.

Defamation: councillor v mayor

The acrimonious relationship between Dunedin City councillor Lee Vandervis and mayor Dave Cull continues with Cull being served legal papers on a Dunedin Street yesterday in  defamation proceedings.

This is a further sign of the degree of dysfunction in the Dunedin council.

ODT: $500,000 claim against Cull

Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull is vowing to defend a $500,000 defamation claim, after being served with legal papers while walking down the street yesterday.

Mr Cull was handed the documents by private investigator Wayne Idour near the corner of Bath and lower Stuart Sts yesterday morning.

The documents related to a defamation claim filed against him in the High Court at Dunedin by Cr Lee Vandervis earlier this month.

Mr Cull and Cr Vandervis were both reluctant to comment in detail when contacted, but both expressed regret the step had been taken.

But one or the other must have not been reluctant to go to the media over the serving of papers, unless a reporter just happened to have witnessed it. It’s likely that someone went public deliberately.

Mr Idour said when contacted he had planned to serve the papers on Mr Cull in the council’s Civic Centre building, but had seen the mayor passing by while sitting in Sugar Cafe.

“I was in there, having a coffee and talking, where I go most mornings, and he was walking rather fast down Stuart St. I saw him and shot out.

“I just took the time to explain what they were and handed them discreetly to him. He looked a wee bit shocked.”

Mr Idour said he was acting as “process server”, under a barrister’s instructions, and not working for Cr Vandervis.

Just a chance serving is possible but seems a bit unlikely. Serving the papers in public and then the media finding out seems a bit suspicious to me.

The serving of legal papers was followed last night by Cr Vandervis’ decision to release a copy of his statement of claim to media.

The document confirmed Cr Vandervis was seeking $250,000 in “general damages” and another $250,000 in “exemplary damages”, plus costs.

The claim followed a heated exchange during a Dunedin City Council meeting last year, when Cr Vandervis claimed to have paid a backhander to secure a council contract in the 1980s.

He was labelled “a liar” by Mr Cull and ejected from the meeting after suggesting he had given Mr Cull “personal evidence” to back his claim.

In May, both men claimed a report by internal auditor Crowe Horwath, examining the backhander claims, backed their positions.

Cr Vandervis then threatened to “double the damages” after Mr Cull stood by calling him a liar in the wake of the report.

And this is where it has ended up, serving papers in public.

The ODT understands the council had insurance to protect ratepayers from the cost of claims against elected representatives in their council duties, although it was not yet clear if a claim resulting from Mr Cull’s comments would be covered.

Ratepayers could still be left to pick up the bill for associated costs, including legal bills, should Mr Cull lose, the ODT understands.

Ratepayers pay in two ways – picking up some of the bill for this spat, and continuing to have a dysfunctional and acrimonious council.

Both Cull and Vandervis have indicated they will be standing for mayor and for council again this year.

But this reflects very poorly on both of them and on the Dunedin City Council.

I think that this obvious and ongoing inability to work together raises serious doubts about the suitability of either for serving the public on council in either capacity.

It’s time voters looked for elected representatives who don’t allow personal animosities to dominate their work for council and for Dunedin.

Vision for ‘best city in the world’

Auckland mayoral candidate John Palino has released a manifesto book titled A Vision for Auckland (PDF) in which he outlines how he thinks he can make Auckland “the best city in the world”.

Auckland has an amazing opportunity that many cities around the world could only dream of. While some may be opposed to growth, the alternative is far worse. So let’s take advantage of our challenge and make Auckland the best city in the world.

In ways an aim of ‘best city’ may be admirable, but it’s an impossible overall goal – impossible to judge and impossible to achieve.

The purpose of this book is to lay out a very clear choice between the current council’s strategy, which I am convinced is not working and will not work, and an alternative strategy I will put before you. I appreciate your reading this book and allowing me to paint a picture for you of my vision for Auckland.

Palino’s key strategy planks:

  • To implement a comprehensive and transparent budget that reduces rates by 10% over my first term
  • To introduce an Auckland Ratepayers Bill of Rights that will hold Council responsible for meeting and managing within budgets
  • To make Council spending transparent to Ratepayers so they can judge whether or not their money is being spent sensibly
  • To ensure Council priorities are focused on core services and resolving the key problems facing Auckland
  • To provide a planning and regulatory framework that allows and encourages the private sector to genuinely provide affordable new housing in the numbers required
  • To promote economic growth by ensuring business friendly policies and a pragmatic regulatory environment and associated processes
  • To provide a long term city plan that reduces traffic congestion by creating an environment that encourages and allows businesses to develop in locations and provide employment opportunities near where people want to live
  • To abandon the current council ideology that increasing housing density in existing suburbs will solve traffic congestion problems and provide affordable housing
  • To provide an Iwi consultation process for resource consents that is limited to genuine cultural issues, that is speedy and cost certain
  • To hold council officers to account for poor or tardy decisions by establishing a Citizens Decision Review Panel, including relevant external experts, that ratepayers can appeal to

Most of those are fairly general political palaver.

Will anyone believe that it’s feasible or possible to reduce rates by 10% in one term?

A mayor doesn’t have the power to do what they promise in an election campaign. The full council votes on everything, so to achieve what the want a major has to win majority vote in the election, and majority vote for everything in council.

So rates reduction and everything else Palino has in his book is aspirational rather than a promise.

Palino will have to convince voters he can manage a mayoralty and manage the council, and have his say along the way.

‘Best city in the world’ is over the top unattainable. ‘Best candidate for mayor’ might be possible.

From Palino’s launch

First reactions via @tmurphyNZ from John Palino’s mayoralty launch:

Palino’s first answer to first question of his campaign: ‘I wasn’t the one who was found with his pants down in the Ngati Whatua room’

‘Whaleoil is NOT working for me. Why do you keep saying that??’ – Palino

‘We will not be running a smear campaign’ – Palino

Crosser and crosser…..

Palino melting down: shouting, voice wavering. ‘I care about these people – I don’t play dirty. What ya looking at me like that for Rebecca?

‘There’s an awful lot of corruption In this town. If you want somebody to step up and get rid of it someone who is gonna tell it like it is”.

Palino crowd heckling journos: ‘Wood from the neck up’ call at the esteemed David Fisher.

Okay so the raised voice, bellicose attack on the incumbent, the corrupt and the media has travelled from Tulsa to Takanini

$6!for a flat white at Palino’s cafe at the launch……

NZ Herald: John Palino joins Super City mayoralty race, promises 10% rate cut

Today, Mr Palino said Auckland ratepayers have faced massive increases forced on them by a wasteful council.

“Since the formation of the Auckland Council rates have risen from an initial increase of 2.9 per cent to last year’s unprecedented 9.9 per cent. Many ratepayers have had increases far in excess of these levels,” Mr Palino said.

“If elected I will institute a full review of council spending with cost savings passed on to ratepayers and redirected to essential ‘core’ spending,” he said.

“The waste and inefficiencies of present council operations mean that the council, following the 2016 election, will have a wide scope to reduce rates. Finding savings to allow a 10 per cent rates reduction across three years is very achievable.”

Auckland Now: Former candidate John Palino confirms he will stand again for Auckland mayor

Radio NZ: John Palino confirms push for Auckland mayoralty

Mr Palino today set out his pitch for the mayoralty, promising to cut rates by 10 percent in his first term.

It is his second attempt at Auckland’s top job, having lost to Len Brown by 50,000 votes three years ago.

He becomes the third centre-right candidate, alongside one-time National Party candidate Mark Thomas and businesswoman Victoria Crone, who is backed by Auckland National Party figures.

Veteran Labour MP Phil Goff launched his mayoral bid in November. Activist Penny Bright, rates campaigner Stephen Berry and former Green Party candidate David Hay are also standing.

It’s getting crowded on the centre right. Slightly to the left of that Goff must be smiling.

UPDATE: Tim Murphy has written a report of the launch at Spin off:

‘We need to look in the front-vision mirror’ – a very odd afternoon with John Palino

Very odd indeed.

And Slater has put up a fairly predictable post – he’s promoting John Palino!

NOW AUCKLANDERS HAVE A CHOICE…RATES INCREASES OR RATES DECREASES

They may be making their choices on a few more things than a promise that will be difficult to fulfil.

And Slater points out:

Other candidates like Goff and Crone announced their candidacy and promptly went on holiday with no policy to be seen as yet. That was a mistake and one Palino has capitalised on.

Palino may now wish he had gone on holiday today.

 

Slater: “Palino…severely tainted”

“Palino isn’t such a man.  He’s severely tainted and doesn’t deserve to have a second go, no matter how early his image revitalisation run is started…”

A post at Whale Oil (Cameron Slater on May 18, 2014 at 5:00pm):

PALINO FOR MAYOR? YEAH… NAAAAAH

Auckland wants to get rid of Len Brown so badly, it will accept anything that comes along that doesn’t look like it is going to work them over.

Palino isn’t such a man.  He’s severely tainted and doesn’t deserve to have a second go, no matter how early his image revitalisation run is started with the help of a paper that is looking to work its way into the next mayor’s office.

Asked about any regrets about the 2013 campaign, Palino said rogue elements — Brown sympathisers — in his campaign team undermined him. He declined to name them.

Political scientist Dr Bryce Edwards said it was extremely naive for Palino to think he’d land support from right-wing elements again, after questions over tactics used to out Brown’s affair.

“There was definitely skulduggery involved. Whether it involved Palino or not is, I think, the question that will continue to dog him because he hasn’t really put his cards on the table and dealt with it.”

Now he’s trying to blame Luigi Wewege and Bevan Chuang as “Brown sympathisers”?  Yeah, late night car park meetings never happened either, did they John?

You don’t have the support of the people you let down John.

Who let who down I wonder.

They know where you went wrong, and it isn’t about not getting enough votes.

Meanwhile, Palino was keenly following debates this week on Auckland’s draft alcohol policy, which would limit liquor availability and opening hours. Palino said getting drunks off the streets must be balanced with letting responsible diners have a late-night drink.

Yeah, whatever.  You ran away to another country.  You stopped talking to everyone, and now you are trying to reimage yourself via a compliant Herald pining to have another mayor on speed dial.

Not going to happen.

If Palino and Lusk and Slater thought they could shove the past under a dirty carpet and start a fresh campaign with no baggage they may be mistaken.

Perhaps they know this and they are just trying to dirty up the mayoral campaign and inflict as much damage on everyone else that they can.

A “if we can’t have it we’ll make it as hard as possible for anyone else to get it” sort of thing.

It’s hard to imagine that this is a serious challenge.

What is Palino thinking?

John Palino is expected to launch his second attempt at the Auckland mayoralty today.

He has some major association  problems to overcome.

He gave an interview to Fairfax and not surprisingly wants to put the debacle that followed his election loss in 2013 behind him.

John Palino: why it’s time to forget about Len Brown’s sex scandal

But let’s rewind to that kaBOOM – the detonation that appeared to destroy Palino, American-born restaurateur, TV personality and entrepreneur who’d picked up a handy 109,000 votes against Brown’s 164,000.

Palino looked a villain because it seemed kinda obvious he must have played a part: Wewege was his guy; Brown’s downfall could benefit him. More damningly, Chuang said just after the election, and just before she blabbed to Cook, she met Palino on a Mission Bay carpark and the pair talked for 90 minutes about the affair and how it might still be used to force Brown to step down. She said Palino offered her a job on his team. It sounded really bad.

Except, says Palino, it wasn’t true and he wants to set the record straight.

“I had nothing to do with it. I didn’t have sex with someone. I’m an innocent bystander who said I’ve got nothing to do with it. I’m sick and tired of the lies that I’m hearing.”

Except that even if the record is set straight and Palino was totally uninvolved in the Len Brown affair and the attempt to depose Brown just after he’d won an election he has some awkward things to try and explain.

He has plans to fix Auckland’s congestion, housing affordability, city intensification, unemployment, corruption – the works. He’s not a politician but that’s a good thing, and he knows about leadership: “I believe in hiring the right people for the job. The mayor is about managing those people.”

But his management of people he hired for his last campaign, Wewege and Chuang, raise serious questions about his ability to hire the right people for the job. Wegege was in a relationship with Chuang who had been in a relationship with Palino’s opponent.

And Wewege seems to have to encouraged Chuang to go public via Whale Oil to try and overturn a democratic result.

Won’t he get bogged down answering questions about Wewege? About Mission Bay and Chuang? About the culture within his last campaign? Three years ago commentators said his reputation was shot, so what’s changed? Or to put it another way: John Palino, are you fricken serious?

What has changed?

His campaign manager is changing. Last time it was John Slater. This time Palino has taken on

In light of that, here’s an interesting fact: Palino’s new campaign manager is Simon Lusk. (It’s Lusk, Palino presumes, who got Cameron Slater to approach Fairfax about this interview.)

Lusk’s critics see him as unapologetic avatar of the dirtiest of politics. His own website boasts of a track record working “behind the scenes” to “remove” MPs and councillors who have “caused problems”. Is Lusk the person Palino needs while still shrugging off his alleged connection to a famous smear campaign?

“I need good people and he’s good at what he does,” says Palino. “But I don’t want any dirty politics. It’s not me.

If someone wanted to separate themselves from dirty politics I’d have thought that some of the last people you would choose to associate with would be Lusk and Cameron Slater.

“I need to make sure my team doesn’t do things like that. It’s up to me.”

Who has ever succeeded in making sure Slater didn’t play dirty. He brags about how dirty he is, how dirty politics is and should be, and how no one controls what he does.

Palino may genuinely want clean but if so it’s extremely hard to fathom why he would choose some of the dirtiest political operators in New Zealand without being aware of the difficulty that would create for his campaign.

If Palino is intelligent he must know this. Has he been sucked in by Lusk and Slater? Or is his campaign some sort of very deliberate, cunning plan.

If it involves Slater’s cunning then Auckland could be in for a train wreck mayoralty campaign. How many people have been let down by him?

Update: And it’s been claimed that Carrick Graham is managing Palino’s launch today.

 

Vic Crone announces Auckland mayoralty bid

In what looks like a serious and credible bid Victoria Crone has announced she is resigning as New Zealand boss of Xero to campaign for the Auckland mayoralty.

NZ Herald reports Xero boss in race for mayoralty

The contest to find a new mayor for the Super City moved up a gear yesterday when business boss Victoria Crone put her hat in the ring.

Ms Crone said being a serial politician was the biggest asset she brought to Auckland, with a familiar centre-right ring of addressing rates increases, perceived council wastage, transport and housing.

“I believe strongly in the values of fiscal responsibility and share this view with others on the centre-right.”

After less than two years at the helm of accounting software company Xero in NZ, Ms Crone resigned yesterday to focus on the mayoralty and building a profile outside her narrow business circles.

Ms Crone will stand as an independent, but has the support of the fledging centre-right Future Auckland and the right-leaning Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance.

Having strong backing and the financial means to launch a campaign ten months out from the local body elections make this a significant announcement.

I heard Crone interviewed on Radio NZ yesterday and she came across well.

Ms Crone, 42, is the favoured candidate of National powerbrokers to go up against Labour MP Phil Goff, whose profile and 30 years in Parliament make him the early favourite to replace Len Brown.

The media have promoted Goff as a favourite, but Crone’s candidacy may put real pressure on him. He still has to look like he is doing an adequate job as an MP as he has chosen to continue those responsibilities in parallel to campaigning.

If Crone is seen as a serious contender for mayor Goff may have to reassess running dual roles next year.

A valid criticism of Crone is her lack of political experience. Does a mayor benefit more from a political or a business background?

But there are questions about Goff’s suitability too. Does national politics transfer well to super city politics? Or is something significantly different needed?

And Goff’s failure to make any real impression as Labour leader over three years and in the 2011 general election raises questions about his electability if up against strong candidates.

Other candidates are Orakei Local Board’s Mark Thomas, right-winger Stephen Berry and activist Penny Bright.

They continue to struggle to get significant media coverage. Selection by media is a hard hurdle to overcome.

Crone has set up a website: Vic for Mayor

Vic4Mayor

Interesting to see her colour scheme. It looks red on one of my screens and orange on the other.

Nats proxy to contest Auckland mayoralty?

The Auckland local body elections have moved a step closer to being merged with national politics with the formation of Auckland Future to help the centre right contest the elections next year. It is closely linked with the National Party.

They will support a mayoral candidate “if, and when, a winnable candidate emerges”.

It seems almost certain that Phil Goff will stand for the mayoralty, giving his bid a strong Labour connection.

Bernard Orsman reports in NZ Herald – Nats back new Auckland ticket.

 Party figures drive centre-right platform created out of dissatisfaction with state of Super City

National Party figures are behind a new ticket, Auckland Future, being set up to wrestle for control of the Super City at next year’s local body elections.

Sources have linked National Party president Peter Goodfellow, former presidents Sue Wood and Michelle Boag, and Auckland-based ministers Nikki Kaye and Paul Goldsmith to the plan.

It is understood the National Party is prepared to contribute resources and fundraising skills to the ticket while keeping the National brand away from the Super City arena.

Prime Minister John Key was one of about 80 people at a fundraising event for the new ticket on October 14 at the Geyser Building in Parnell.

The ticket is the latest attempt by the centre-right to win control of the council after two poor campaigns and the failure of the Communities & Residents ticket, formerly Citizens & Ratepayers (C&R), to gain traction.

C&R president Karen Sherry, when asked if C&R could merge with Auckland Future, said “that’s a discussion that needs to be had” but added “sometimes competition can be healthy”.

Ms Kaye, MP for Auckland Central, said she wanted to ensure a strong voice around reducing rates and bureaucracy.

“There has to be change. It [the council] has been pretty fragmented and I’m very interested for a new entity to emerge.”

Campaign and fundraising experience should give this a major boost and the people involved and endorsing it give this an unmistakable National tinge. It looks like the Auckland mayoralty in particular will look closely related to national politics.

Joe Davis, a Browns Bay business consultant and National Party volunteer chairing Auckland Future, said the organisation was incorporated in September.

He said there had been a lot of conversation across the centre-right, including the National Party, about wanting to see Auckland run well, and with a vision.

“There is real widespread dissatisfaction with the current state of Auckland,” Mr Davis said.

“The city is too big and too important to have councillors voting in an ad hoc manner on key issues.”

Mr Davis said Auckland Future would field a ticket of councillors with a strong policy platform so voters would know what they were voting for.

He said the ticket did not have any candidates lined up and would embrace a mayoral candidate “if, and when, a winnable candidate emerges”.

So they aren’t saying specifically that they will support a mayoral candidate but one could presume that’s a major aim.

The Auckland mayor is seen as one of the most important elected officials in the country. The Prime Minister isn’t even elected as such, their party is elected with it’s leader becoming Prime Minister.

There may be good arguments both for and against national politics mixing more with local politics.

One benefit could be that the centre right in Auckland come up with a serious contender for the mayoralty. Last election Len Brown didn’t have much credible competition.

Phil Goff may stick with his proposal to remain an MP until/unless elected mayor. Campaigning for local body elections while a sitting MP is a major merge of national/local politics on it’s own, with the taxpayer funding his campaign time.

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