The second in our ‘Fisking the Candidates’ series where we take a look at each Ward and its candidates. As always you’ll have your own picks and observations, so please leave them in the comments below.
Southern Ward (2 vacancies)
With two incumbents, one the best rated and one the worst rated councillor, running for reelection, the Southern Ward is one of the most interesting of 2013. Aside from the contrasting incumbents there’s a high profile personality, a Green Party backed candidate, the last election’s 3rd placed candidate and a gaggle of other people all wanting one of two seats up for grabs. The Wellingtonian has also profiled the race.
Eagle should romp home on first preferences, repeating his Ward topping efforts of 2010. He’s a campaigning machine, a rarity in local body politics and he deserves all the plaudits he’s received during his first term for his accessibility, visibility and engagement.
In a way he hasn’t stopped campaigning. His unprecedented breakaway consultation in 2012 around the long term plan saw thousands of Paul Eagle branded leaflets delivered and numerous meetings held through his ward. This ruffled many feathers and bruised a lot egos around the Council mostly because he was actually talking to people and arguably did a better job than the Council itself.
His campaigns around liquor licensing in Newtown also proved he can rally the community around a cause while attaching his name to the right side of a hot-button issues. A man with obvious ambitions for Parliament, our own northernwccwatch has picked him as the next Deputy Mayor.
Despite that, incumbency and low voter turnout is his biggest and only asset that returns him to the council table via the second seat. 2013 will hopefully be the year he is defeated and he can spend more time filtering his fluoridated water and drinking flax seed oil.
McDonald’s surprise entrance into the race was a real game changer and finally smashed the Southern Ward sausage fest. As a candidate she has ridiculous name recognition, has probably MC’d a fundraiser of some sort for most of the schools and many of the clubs in the ward.
Prior to McDonald running, I’d have picked a close fight between the Green’s David Lee and Bryan Pepperell (based on the latter’s incumbency and the Greens’ brand) for the second seat – that could still be possible if McDonald’s campaign is a disaster. She’s clearly trying to limit the perception that she’s a joke candidate and is going for the serious look with her campaign material. Maybe it’s too serious? Nevertheless, she’s a formidable challenger, talking about issues that will resonate will many in the Ward, and the only woman running in the Ward, which could be a benefit in itself.
The Green Party’s first Southern Ward candidate since Celia Wade-Brown stood in 2007, Lee is a relatively unknown. His biggest asset will be the Green brand and machine that comes with it. His campaign materials are slick but relatively vague. His website doesn’t elaborate on his plans for the Ward, just general goals and reasons why he’s standing. That might be because like his colleague standing in the East, he doesn’t live in the Ward.
Despite that and Party differences, Paul Eagle seems to working with him where possible, specifically around hoardings. Lee will be a competitive candidate for the second seat along with Ginette McDonald and Bryan Pepperell.
This is Moore’s second tilt at the Southern Ward after finishing a surprising and respectable 3rd in 2010. However he’s in a much more competitive field and might struggle. Will be interesting to see if his name recognition form the last election helps at all.
Moore has one for the more humanised candidates blurbs that will appeal to a few, especially to the those not usually engaged with council matters, hippies and papatuanuku.
Pierson was New Zealand First’s 2011 Rongotai candidate, and his running the line that he “was the highest polling candidate not to get into Parliament. That’s a bit cute when you see he won 1.36% of the vote (488 votes) and had a NZ First list placing in the mid 20s. He was no where near entering Parliament. He later popped up when he fronted for the Party at a canceled meeting Richard Prosser was to hold in Aro Valley following his infamous Wogistan comments.
During the 2011 general election campaign he caused outrage at a candidates meeting when he “suggested that those who did not want to get pregnant should not have kids, adding that he did not personally agree with abortion, and suggested that adoption is a more beneficial solution”.
He shouldn’t fare any better than his last electoral outing in 2011.
With Eagle’s probable dominance, 2013 will be a six-horse race for the second seat. At this stage Ginette McDonald should ultimately triumph.
- Picks – Paul Eagle, Ginette McDonald
- Dark Horses – David Lee, Byran Pepperell, Will Moore