We have now heard from several well-placed sources that John ‘Mystery’ Morrison will be entering the mayoral race in the next few days.
While for a time it was looking as though Jo Coughlan could challenge to raise her profile with a view to the future, she was unlikely to have much of a chance of unseating Celia Wade-Brown, due to her low profile outside of the National Party/Karori clique.
However, following the Mayors admission that her hands weren’t on the steering wheel, the opposition to Wade-Brown has galvanized and a more credible candidate was sought. We have been told that Morrison is the pick and he will announce his candidacy soon.
While John Morrison is hardly a fresh face, he does offer experience and a sense of control or calm. Maybe that is what Wellingtonians will go for as this could well effectively be an interim or transitional body that leads us towards amalgamation in 2016.
As Strathmore Park recently suggested, one of Morrison’s stand out features is that he is solid and reliable. His selling point will no doubt be that he is sensible and pragmatic on the issues. His age may also oddly play in his favour, as he is surely unlikely to have any pretensions of ever being super-Mayor. You could actually imagine Morrison taking pride in having been the man to guide the city through the transition.
And at the very least we won’t have to collectively cringe out of fear he will turn up with bike-helmet-hair to greet international leaders! 🙂
But as we have touched on before, Celia Wade-Brown is a formidable opponent who starts the race well ahead despite any perceived hiccups. She is the incumbent and has a strong campaign team around her. With all of her clumsiness of late, it is easy to forget the ruthless campaign she ran in 2010 that saw her outgun Kerry Prendergast where she shifted herself to a more moderate position and chucked the Green brand that had personified her previously well under the bus.
If Morrison is amongst the contenders, it will be interesting to see where the Labour/centre vote heads. While Morrison is right of centre, he is not a partisan Tory, and his pragmatic sensibility may woo those voters if they have had enough of calamities and sideshows.
One thing is certain – if he does enter the race, to be successful he will have to run one hell of a campaign.
Time will tell – either the mayoralty will be Morrison’s swan song or he will be unceremoniously sent back to the pavilion.