With the announcement from
Sir Ian Mckinnon CNZM confirming our earlier report that he will not be standing, the current bunch of councillors are already talking about who will fill the role of Deputy Mayor. Despite the title, it isn’t really much of a role, and isn’t too dissimilar to the largely powerless, waiting-for-a-vacancy type of role like the Veep in the US. Nonetheless, the title sounds impressive, so it is sought after.
Regardless of who becomes mayor, chances are it will be the same characters putting their hands up for the Deputy, so I thought we should run through some of the likely options.
Jo Coughlan – an incumbent in Onslow-Western, however, we had been told that she was unlikely to stand if she didn’t run for the mayoralty. Probably has the right sort of character to be a solid deputy – unlikely to cock anything up, but a few people have flagged that she often ducks away from Council with her work and family commitments (which I actually think is admirable, as you want your representatives to have lives). If Coughlan runs she could be credible Deputy, but its unlikely she would bring extra votes with her to help the mayor.
Paul Eagle – relatively young, first-term Southern Ward councillor of Maori descent (which probably helps), Eagle is a popular figure with the public and will likely romp home in his ward this time. Eagle seems to be a decent networker and could actually shore up extra votes around the table. He also has his eye on bigger things, openly wanting to stand for Parliament and being Deputy looks good on the CV. He has show ability to work with all sides, and its hard to imagine anyone having a problem with him being Deputy. I’d say he would be the favourite.
Justin Lester – Northern Ward councillor and successful businessman, also a first termer. Lester has been largely inoffensive and has kept a relatively low profile which probably both helps and hinders his chances of being Deputy. He isn’t well known and hasn’t taken a high profile role or owned any issue – but he also hasn’t created any bad headlines, which helps. More likely to take on a significant portfolio role this time.
Ray Ahipene-Mercer – long term Eastern Ward councillor who despite his experience is probably an outside shot at the Deputy. He has almost been around too long and would do little to offset the timeserving criticism that will be leveled at Wade-Brown and Morrison – but if a newbie like Young or Yan were to come through, then who knows, he could be a good fit. He will need a lot of things to go his way to be a decent runner.
Simon “Swampy” Marsh – first-term Eastern Ward councillor, the former radio personality with a big voice. Marsh has been popular and constructive in his time on council, and could be a useful ally for any mayor. Doesn’t seem to have any designs on being mayor one day, so you would assume he would be a loyal deputy. But does he have the ambition or desire to be Deputy either? Like Lester, he may be more at home with a significant portfolio.
Bryan Pepperell – lol jokes.
All in all there are some solid options there who would undoubtedly do a good job – but we also shouldn’t discount the chances of a first-term councillor picking up the role – it could be what is needed by the time serving candidates to demonstrate a sense of freshness to their administration.