As reported earlier, businessman John Dow has entered the Lambton Ward race. He is of course the same person that helped John Morrison broker the deal to bring a few hundred call centre jobs to the capital.
Dow looks to be the first candidate of the Morrison-bloc to run, probably in the chance that if both are successful, he can succeed Iona Pannett as the mayoral cheerleader and defender-in-chief. Will we soon see other Morrison-bloc candidates pop up in other wards? Time will tell if Wellington has the chance to trade in the “anti-progress Green bloc” with the “bring and win all the sports events to the city via all the new roads bloc”.
Nestled amongst his lengthy announcement including a massive (and very impressive) list of past achievements he says:
I believe that after close to 30 years creating, managing and delivering a range of projects and special events, for Wellington City and New Zealand, that my experience and commitment to enhancing our economy and community provide the ideal foundation of knowledge and skills to be able to make a significant contribution to Wellington City through being an effective Councillor.
As a Councillor I would continue to work very hard to enable, empower, celebrate, acknowledge and help resource these fantastic people and would be very focused on generating economic activity, profile for the City throughout NZ and internationally and on generating sustainable employment and creating new jobs.
I believe my skills and experience would allow me to successfully work with the various artistic, creative, sporting, cultural, community entities in conjunction with the business and commercial interests in Wellington to ensure we create an economic infrastructure that delivers careers, pathways and an interesting and vibrant life in our City.
All very laudable, widely appealing things. On paper Dow could fill the vacuum left by the Ian McKinnon and I wouldn’t be surprised if (Morrison aside) McKinnon had a role in helping persuade him to run.
Now Dow isn’t the first (and won’t be the last) businessman to launch a bid for council on the back of their successful careers. The key question will be whether he can transfer the skills that brought him so much business success to a campaign for public office. Just remember the terrible campaigns in 2010 from businessmen John Bishop and Adam Cunningham in the same ward. The average cost per vote of successful candidates across the city was $2.50, but the average cost of each vote Bishop and Cunningham received was 38.63 and $51.98 respectively!
Also the entrance of such a close Morrison ally underscores the split within the independent centre-Right persuasion of Wellington politics, with Nicola Young fighting both Morrison for the mayoralty and Dow in Lambton. With incumbency favouring Iona Pannett, Mark Peck running a decent campaign and likely to pick up many of the retiring Stephanie Cook’s votes, at this point, it’s shaping up to be a battle between Dow and Young for the third seat. Right now it would it would be hard to argue that Young doesn’t hold the advantage.
Fun times ahead.