It has become apparent that the polarising figure of Theresa Gattung has resisted the approaches of the Wellington has-beens collective to stand for Mayor this year. Which is probably a good thing but it does take us back to square one in terms of an entertaining race.
We are left with the rather uninspiring contest of Celia Wade-Bicycle vs late-1960s throwback, John Morrison vs Jack (hey, at least Im not either of those two, even if you haven’t heard of me) Yan. Why is it that the most energetic and innovative campaigning seems to happen at the councillor level?
In 2010 it was Paul Eagle and Simon Marsh who were quickest out of the blocks with impressive campaigns. This time around it seems like it is the battle for Lambton that is the hottest contest with Labour’s candidate, Mark Peck, and independent, Nicola Young, carrying out a blitzkrieg on the letterboxes and doorbells of the ward.
So why are we left with such a yawn-fest for the mayoralty? The desperation we are all feeling is probably what leads to rumours like the Gattung one spreading like wild-fire across the City as people wait for someone to smash open the tiresome bore-fest. In the words of Bonnie Tyler, we’re holding out for a hero… although I fear that Paul Eagle and his Labour colleagues would demand Tyler changed her lyrics to be gender-neutral. But the point still stands, we need someone to knock us off our feet.
We need a larger than life figure to breath life into this campaign, someone who can cut through and reach the thousands of people who are disconnected from the elections currently or who can’t stand the thought of voting for the time serving, Morrison and Bicycle. Maybe it is someone like Eagle (assuming he could get permission from Tim Barnett and Grant Robertson to not have to run as a co-candidate with a female) or even someone totally fresh like Nicola Young?
Eagle is well established on Council and is one of the best campaigners around, but maybe that he is a little too established could count against him. Young on the other hand has led an energetic campaign and is pragmatic while still building interest and excitement.
Regardless, for the sake of our collective sanity, I hope that someone, even if it is Two-Billion dollar-share-dive Gattung, breaks open the campaign and creates a buzz around being the Mayor of Wellington once again.