An orderly handover of power

In a democracy the handover of power can be fast and brutal.  Leaders from totalitarian states have often been surprised at how someone so powerful one minute, is completely gone the second without a bloody revolution.  And so it is at Wellington City Council. 

Mayor Celia Wade-Brown is officially in charge.  Now it’s time to start delivering on the hopes and aspirations of the electorate, while balancing what is achieveable against the enormous debt burden her precedessor has left.  This situation is almost is akin to the Labour’s BNZ debacle for the incoming National Government in 1990, or Muldoon’s currency crisis in 1984, and could require some radical surgery. Good luck Celia.


The Dom Post reports:

A tense hug, brief speech and a bunch of flowers heralded a change of mayor for Wellington.

Outgoing mayor Kerry Prendergast and her replacement, Celia Wade-Brown, hugged briefly during the powhiri, before Ms Prendergast officially handed over the chains of office at the city council’s inaugural ceremony last night.

In a surprise move, Ms Prendergast – who has not spoken publicly since her narrow defeat in this month’s election – spoke to the crowd. She had thoroughly enjoyed her nine years as mayor, and the six years before that as deputy mayor, she said.

“It is the best job in New Zealand, and I have absolutely loved it … I love knowing I have given it my best, and it has been an honour and a pleasure.”

Before handing over the chains – which her daughter had suggested she call the “ball and chain” – she congratulated Ms Wade-Brown.

“I’m confident you will discharge your new office well and faithfully.”

Ms Wade-Brown then gave Ms Prendergast a bunch of flowers before the elected councillors were sworn in.

In her speech, Ms Wade-Brown commented on the single transferable vote system that clinched her election.

Ms Prendergast previously said STV lost her the election, because she received more first-preference votes.

But Ms Wade-Brown said the result reflected the desires of Wellington “in all its complexity, in a way that first past the post [voting] cannot”.

She promised to act in a unifying way for all of Wellington, including those who supported other candidates, and the majority who did not vote.


8 responses to “An orderly handover of power

  1. on what possible basis is the situation in Wellington remotely comparable to the disaster of a country that awaited David Lange’s incoming administration in 1984?! Bizzare.

    • I’m guessing johnny referred to the currency crisis specifically as it’s something that presents the new administration a huge problem to deal with, rather than the state of the nation in 1984 as a whole.

      Then again debt servicing is only making up around 5% of expenditures – so unless the leaky home bill isn’t covered by the council’s insurance and/or Celia’s train-set is going to be debt funded the council is’t hat badly off.

  2. The DomPost just can’t let go of their steadfast attachment to Prendergast. Even in the small article of the change over – placed off the front page – the paper gave the first 6 lines of the article to Prendergast before allowing Wade-Brown 2 lines and then returning to Prendergast.

    Maybe the DomPost editors require a lie-down before they can responsibly carry on.

  3. Agreed Alana.

    I do fully understand their love affair with Kerry though. Her Council has spent around $500,000 pa with the DumbPost on its weekly full page ads for years now. But I find it odd that the DumbPost is being so anti-Celia as she is unlikely to stop that hideous waste of rate-payers money (unless Fairfax know something I don’t on that subject).

    Actually it really bugs me because I always want to see the city’s paper cast a critical eye over the Council but, although they have been given ample opportunity to do so over the past nine years, they have done nothing but rah-rah Kerry and co.

    Now that Celia is Mayor they have started putting the spotlight on the Council but have largely relied on ignoring the positive and making up the negative.

  4. Good comments Rex. The Dompost has suppressed so much for years under the last regime.

    Hpoefully now they will look into many of the issues that I raised concerning the finances and other matters instead of attacking the messenger which has been so easy for them to do.

  5. Johnny

    I am surprised but pleased that you have highlighted the exact issuethat I have battled against for years under Mayor Prendergast.

    How is the city now going to pay the enormous debt which will be very much larger by June next year $360 million

    If you want it in a nutshell this is why Prendergast was so anti towards me.

    On a personal note I owe you an apology for my comments last month. The experience of losing my father was very painful and sad one and in hindsight I should not have reacted to your initial article the way I did. I guess thats what you get when Council and the Dompost don’t publish the full facts behind my attendance rate

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