Since hearing that Jo Coughlan attempted to heavy John Morrison out of the race, we have now been told by several people close to the Prendergast clique that they are desperately seeking a more right wing option for Mayor. By all accounts, Morrison is just a little too centrist and isn’t right enough for their liking.
While it seems extraordinary that after a seemingly legitimate and winnable option emerges in the form of Morrison, Prendergast and Co still aren’t satisfied – which possibly shows he wasn’t under her spell when Kerry was Mayor.
Coughlan is their runner at the moment, although we have heard they have approached others including property developers and former politicians such as Stephen Franks. But we also understand the group made another desperate plea to Annette King, who said no thanks. Now while King is to the right of Labour, in the grander scheme of things she doesn’t seem to fit the bill with respect to their other options, hence the decline I imagine.
The group is now determined to back Jo Coughlan and have her as the candidate of the right.
But who are involved behind the scenes with this informal old-school right Prendergast clique? We understand it is basically the crew that ran her campaigns – including the underwhelming ‘a-handful-of-billboards-should-be-enough’ effort in 2010. Namely, Prendergast herself, Rex Nicholls,
Sir Ian McKinnon CNZM and Chris Parkin among others.
We have been told that these are the people who haven’t moved on from 2010 and are determined to have a new Mayor that is of the right (not just the centre) and who is captured by their influence.
For my mind this ‘Wellington Has-beens Collective‘ need to get over themselves and realise that they have had their time and they are no longer running the show. Coughlan remains incredibly unlikely to win – she is unknown amongst most Wellingtonians. The confusion they are looking to create in the market and what they are doing risks another term of Celia Wade-Brown.
If the goal is to unseat Wade-Brown they would be better off backing someone who might stand a chance of being competitive instead of insisting on dragging the City to the right with Coughlan.