While we were away – Le Tour de Cock up

So obviously quite a bit happened while we were away and now transmission has resumed it is probably worth recapping. You know, in case you missed it…

As harsh as it might sound, unfortunately it seems like the running theme of the last few months has been the growing clumsiness of Celia Wade-Brown’s mayoralty.

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  • There was the $350,000 new office or ‘luxury nest’ which saw some suggestions that the whole council could be replaced by “teddy-bears”
  • The “total shambles” slashing of 150 council jobs which led to Celia asking “How did that happen? Why were our hands not on the steering wheel?”
  • The not being bothered to meet despite the seemingly urgent need to ratify water restrictions during the regional water crisis.
  • The attempt to kill the fly over by commissioning a further $40k report to consider alternatives… which promptly recommended building a fly over. Arguably a rock solid waste of time of time but it also led to an embarrassing episode of cowardice.
  • Which all saw Celia getting the attention of Whale Oil… and apparently the wrath of the Green co-leadership.

But probably the most significant episode was the decision by the left of the Council to remove the long-term WCC CEO, Gary Poole. Poole was seen by many to be close to the Prendergast regime and out-of-step with the lurch to the left taken by the Council under Celia. But he was also the dominant figure around Town Hall arguably holding much of the real power.

The political significance of this removal and the amount of work behind the scenes to remove such a big figure cannot be underestimated. Which is why it seems extraordinary that no one on the left seemed to think ahead and consider who they might appoint to the role and in the end the hole was filled by the only viable alternative… who happened to be a right-winger who literally wrote the book on out-sourcing, restructuring and downsizing councils… seemingly at odds with Celia and the Green-left caucus.

The lack of an actual strategist or political operator on the left was there for all to see through the clumsiness of the whole episode.

In saying all of this, Celia Wade-Brown remains in a pretty strong position electorally with the power of incumbency on her side. Word is that the series of events above has seen the centre and right of politics look to find a credible candidate that it can unite behind and properly challenge. But until that happens and someone actually credible emerges (and assuming the cycle tour of cock ups has ended…), then it is hard to see Celia being knocked off.

Of course, in the coming weeks we will cover the candidates in the wards and mayoralty races in far greater depth along with all the big campaign issues, whether the City is on its deathbed and the shape of governance in the region.

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6 responses to “While we were away – Le Tour de Cock up

  1. Good to see you back, though I am disappointed to see you regurgitate the articles from the dompost as if they are the “total” story.

    I thought you may have asked some of the obvious questions that were far to inconvenient for the paper to ask.

    One such question, about why some Councillors knew about the outsourcing of jobs at CitiOps while others weren’t informed, is quite intriguing when you realise that those in the know were part of Kerrys administration.

    Also, was it a coincidence that these issues hit the press in the final days of Garrys tenure.

    I’m also disappointed that you have swallowed the line that the new CEO is right-wing. The Council he moved from was Conservative but the one before that was lead by Labour. Both Councils gave him outstanding references and said they would reemploy him. He seems to be highly intelligent, well thought out and able to implement the agenda put in front of him. More importantly, he can communicate as we are seeing from the Press releases and the public can only benefit from that. Basically, he was the best applicant for the job and the judgement of those Councillors that thought otherwise should be questioned.

  2. Thanks Donald McGregor for your feedback but unfortunately you’re probably only going to get even more disappointed!

    In terms of swallowing that Lavery is right-wing, the suggestion comes more from his work than his incredible references from the Tory party and UK Labour. When I said that he wrote the book on out-sourcing… I was actually meaning literally. His ‘how-to’ guide to out-souricing or contracting is still available – http://books.google.co.uk/books/about/Smart_Contracting_for_Local_Government_S.html?id=oY0uzCxfy_AC

    … not exactly a little red book…

    Asking why only some councillors read or received certain papers is totally valid and credit to Paul Eagle for trying to halt the process. But still, Celia used her casting vote to approve the outs-sourcing. It is never good enough for the Mayor to ask why her hands werent on the steering wheel.

    It comes back to the point about the lack of some actual political nous amongst her and her team. Where is that basic instinct that good politicians have?

    All these issues appear to be happening to her or around her. She seems to lack the awareness of what is happening and clearly lacks the political skill to respond effectively. It isnt good enough to just blame the media – do something about it – that’s what an effective operator would do.

    Given the constant flow of bad headlines there have to be doubts over her political management skills.

    • Not only do I know about Kevin’s book, I bought it and read it once he was selected as the successor to Garry (please send me your address and I’ll forward you a copy so you can get up to speed!!!).

      If you managed to read my comments you would have realised that I was not painting Kevin as either left or right, but that he works apolitically!!!!

      I note your comments around “political management skills” but given that you, Fran and the dompost have constantly attempted undermined Celia ….. well …. how is it in Porirua?

      • Lol Im sure it’s just lovely in Porirua?? Mind you, I havent been through there in over a month though so not sure what you are getting at there? There is a whole northern ward within the wcc…

        In terms of Lavery’s book – I will save you the hassle. If it walks like a right wing duck and quacks like a right wing duck…. chances are it isnt a card carrying unionist.

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