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.
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.
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.