From open invite candidate campaign bus rides, candidates signing each others nomination forms, liking their opponents Facebook pages, earnestly dispensing policy and campaign tips, to cross party billboard trailers, 2013 is shaping up as (for the time being) a cooperative love-fest rarely seen in political campaigns.
We’ve seen everything except a group hug, until this weekend. From Southern Ward candidate Jacob Toner:
Today I met with fellow Council candidates Hayley Robinson (Onslow-Western), Malcolm Aitken (Onslow-Western), Sridhar Ekambaram (Onslow-Western), Sarah Free (Eastern), and David Lee (Southern) to catch up over a coffee and discuss the Council election. We are a diverse bunch with a wide variety of policy stances, but the one thing we share in common is a commitment to try and work together for Wellington and avoid the divisiveness that can paralyse Council decision making. We’ve seen enough of the type of politics that leaves Wellington stalled.
We don’t endorse each other and I would recommend to voters to investigate and decide how to cast their vote. The diversity of views came through when we talked today about local government amalgamation – we had everything from supporting the status quo through to supporting a single tier regional structure. Regardless of who you decide to vote for, it is important that our representatives are able to work constructively together and the collegiality of this meeting bodes well.
I love this photo, mainly because most of them look like they don’t want to be there! Nevertheless, I’m sure they all had a great time and it’s nice seeing candidates for public office trying new things and campaigning in unorthodox ways.
I’m not sure how effective this overall love-thy-candidate approach will be – the final analysis of the campaigns and results will be fascinating. But I’m sure many voters will appreciate it though (if they even notice at all). Time will tell whether this cooperation and dialogue in general continues once campaigning and candidate forums get underway and polling approaches (especially in Onslow-Western where three of the above are running), and if it will carry into the next council term, if any are successful. But as Jacob mentioned, early signs look like it will hold.