Jack Yan 2.0

Jack Yan is having another crack at the mayoralty after finishing third in 2010, with 7426 votes against Celia Wade-Brown’s 24,881 and Kerry Prendergast’s 24,705.

Yan announced his candidacy almost six months out from the election – way back when Onslow-Western Ward Councillor Jo Coughlan thought she stood a chance (or that anyone knew who she was) and concert promoter Phil Sprey flirted with the possibility.

Since then both Couglhan and Srpey have seemingly given up, with only John Morrison officially declaring candidacy as the centre-Right and anti-Celia standard-bearer.

Picture 1

However Morrison’s campaign to date, a good story about jobs and a sports game aside, has been pretty lackluster. Right now, he’s probably known more for all the wrong reasons.

Yan’s campaign on the other hand is unusual. Unusual in that he declared early, has a very good website, has released a manifesto months out from the election, is (frequently) using almost every social media medium, producing videos, and is actively campaigning, talking to people. He’s now stepping things up with his first campaign fliers (see below) we’re told he designed them himself.

If every candidate for local government followed this playbook, regardless of politics, I have no doubt we’d have better people being elected and more people voting.

2013 flier 1

2013 flier 2

His design and messaging is light years ahead of Morrison’s advertising to so far. You can tell he has a background in typography.

Yan’s biggest organisational challenge will be the lack of a party machine (even as an independent), or a campaign machine in general of well oiled, voter targeting and delivery systems, doorknockers, activists and campaign experience behind him.

Many Labour and Green candidates like Paul Eagle and Celia Wade-Brown’s recent success were products of their ability  to tap into those types of resources.

There’s nothing more valuable to a campaign attempting to topple an incumbent than having teams of door knockers sweeping streets and wards pushing your name and message. That was a key reason Wade-Brown edged out Prendergast and how Paul Eagle comfortably topped the Southern Ward. How Yan mobilises his volunteers while doing all he can himself as as candidate (as he is now) will be interesting.

Were he also standing in the Lambton Ward he’d likely be a shoe-in for one of its 3 seats up for grabs. Not only would a seat around the Council table be welcome reward for all his effort and investment, it would would allow him to position himself as a natural/obvious successor to Wade-Brown once she moves on, as a champion of a modern, creative and smart Wellington (I’m sure he has his reasons as to why he’s isn’t running in a ward, so Jack, feel free to comment below if you want to explain why).

In an election cycle absent of a high-profile battle between a polarising 3-term mayor and a well known, well resourced opponent, Yan has a real chance at claiming second place, beating Morrison into third handing. But who knows, Morrsion and Wade-Brown could split the vote and Yan slips through the middle :-).

Whatever happens, his campaign has brought a breath of fresh air into an otherwise stale race. I’m looking forward to things heating up over next couple of months.

We’ll take a look at the other mayoral campaigns soon.

8 responses to “Jack Yan 2.0

  1. Dear WCC Watch, great article, but I have to disagree with this bit: “Yan’s biggest organisational challenge will be the lack of …a campaign machine in general of well oiled, voter targeting and delivery systems, doorknockers, activists and campaign experience behind him.:” Mr. Yan has a good solid team ready to support him, though I’m sure he’ll welcome anyone who wishes to volunteer their time. An independent Mayor is just what we need in terms of ability to bridge all political divides; it’s an asset, not a liability.

    Hayley Robinson
    Onslow-Western Ward candidate
    And Jack Yan supporter (and flier delivery-woman)

  2. “But who knows, Morrsion and Wade-Brown could split the vote and Yan slips through the middle.”

    This would be possible under STV, but much harder than it used to be. The suppression of vote-splitting is one of the reasons I think STV or a similar runoff system should be used for electorate votes in a national election.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but for Jack Yan to win by splitting the vote, I think it’d require Celia Wade-Brown and John Morrison voters to be very polarised against each other, rating Jack Yan higher than the candidate of those two whom they didn’t prioritise. It’d also require all other voters (who don’t prioritise any of those three) to rate Jack Yan above the other two.

    His best chance would be to convince as many current Celia Wade-Brown and John Morrison voters as possible to change their first preferences to himself.

  3. Thank you for your decent, impartial analysis of my campaign to date. There is a plan, as Hayley says, for getting out further, but in the meantime, I accept your kind invitation and address why I haven’t run for council.

    There’ll be messages from me about this in due course, too—the below is quickly off the cuff just before 2 a.m.

    While most mayors have been councillors, if we look at recent history with the changes to the local electoral system, Belich, Wilde and Blumsky were not. Whether you liked their politics or not, they got things done with, and I hope memory serves me right, fewer divisions within council.

    One thing Mark shared with me (after saying that I was the one non-politician who would have the most credible crack at the job) was that he wanted to see a mayor get back to the lower frequency of meetings that he had. If you have a good enough working relationship with councillors, then you can trust them to do their job. It is the same sort of management I have practised in my companies. I have established good relationships equally with most councillors over the last six years. (My own campaign teams, in 2010 and 2013, are a mix of left and right—we have more in common than my opponents think.)

    Consequently, what I wouldn’t face, that the last two mayors have, are blocs of councillors already opposed to me on historical or ideological grounds. The deadlocks we have seen in council are testament to the dangers of voting sitting councillors into the mayoralty.

    Other reasons are more specific. One example: while Kerry went off to Japan to negotiate electric car trials, my 2010 negotiations had begun earlier, with Vattenfall of Sweden, which already put in place electric car programmes with BMW and Volvo in Europe. I had met one of their executives in Stockholm. Wellington could have been a trial city for BMW’s Mini E (Portland eventually got it—whether Vattenfall was involved in that I do not know) and Wellington businesses could have created innovations in the zero-emissions’ sector. There were others—free wifi was just the tip of the iceberg.

    Some of these can’t be negotiated as a councillor. Wellington needs a credible face, with international experience, to create these links and allow individuals and businesses to benefit from them.

    I have a bold yet realistic vision for Wellington, one where creativity, innovation, and sustainable jobs help drive our economy, and where we see ourselves as a world-class city connected to others of this ilk. The top job is where I can best benefit Wellingtonians.

  4. All very interesting when you consider Celia came through on the back of the majority of Jack Yan voters giving Celia there “2” vote. If the right cannot get a more credible candidate than Morrison, then there is a very good chance Jack Yan will win (provided he can outscore Morrison on the first cut, thereby collecting all of Morrison’s supporters who don’t want Celia to win, in the same way Celia collected Jack Yan’s vote against Prendergast). If Jack Yan doesn’t win, then I think his support will again go to Celia (especially if there is a strong right wing candidate they fear might get in). In my opinion, the right’s only chance to oust Celia is to not stand another candidate. Perverse as that sounds.

  5. “there is a very good chance Jack Yan will win (provided he can outscore Morrison on the first cut, thereby collecting all of Morrison’s supporters who don’t want Celia to win, in the same way Celia collected Jack Yan’s vote against Prendergast)”

    Maybe, although from the voting iterations it still appears that fewer than half of those who preferred Jack Yan transferred their vote to Celia Wade-Brown (3,459) once he was eliminated. 1,806 transferred to Kerry Prendergast, but a further 2,881 didn’t prefer either and thus threw away the rest of their vote. There was a clear preference for those who rated either of the two, but it wasn’t exactly a white-wash, and ultimately was only just enough for Celia Wade-Brown to scrape ahead.

    Is there any published information from 2010 regarding how many of Celia Wade-Brown’s and Kerry Prendergast’s supporters would have transferred their vote to Jack Yan if their preference hadn’t reached the final iteration? That’s ultimately what I’d be interested to know, but all I can find here are two documents which seem to give the same information in a slightly different format.

  6. Izogi, we’ve looked around for the information, too, but what was provided to me in hard copy after the 2010 local body elections is a version of what’s on the WCC website.

  7. Pingback: Fisking the #Wgtn2013 Candidates – The Mayoralty | WCC Watch·

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