Newstalk ZB report:
The Prime Minister is rejecting claims the relationship between Wellington City Council and the Government isn’t a good one.
Mayoral hopefuls have accused the current council of lacking a relationship with central government.
But John Key says he sees mayor Celia Wade-Brown as often as he sees Auckland’s Mayor Len Brown.
“We’ve worked very effectively with her. I don’t think it’s actually right to describe that relationship’s not good.”
Considering how long some candidates have been rubbishing Council’s relationship with central government and blaming it all on Celia Wade-Brown, this is pretty significant for a few reasons.
First, Key felt it necessary to defend the Wade-Brown and the Council, and second, it’s almost as if he is expecting John Morrison to lose and he will have to work with Wade-Brown (at least until 2014) and doesn’t want to rock the boat.
I’d love to see centre-Right detail how their relationship with a potential Labour – Greens government post-2014 would be any different/better.
There’s no denying the relationship has been fraught on certain issues (just like in Auckland and Christchurch) – most notably around transport. I doubt anyone would disagree it would could be better. But as Wade-Brown highlighted in Radio New Zealand’s “Outspoken” debate, Council’s relationship with central government around issues like building and construction, earthquake strengthening, technology and innovation, and disaster management are pretty robust. Their ministers might be considered “the B-Team” by some mayoral candidates, but they are all critical issues facing the City.
Things can always be better, but with Key’s defense of council’s relationship and recent news about small business confidence soaring to an 11-year high and other similar good news, the constant talking down and rubbishing of Wellington and Council is looking a bit tiresome.