The worst-kept secret in Wellington is out of the bag: The Mayor won’t be running for re-election in Wellington’s local body elections next October. Having previously promised to go on and on, she’s now fudging questions about her political future. On Newstalk ZB last week, when asked directly by host Tim Fookes, Wade-Bicycle gave as clear an indication as we’re likely to get: “I haven’t yet made my mind up yet” (indecision is one of the hallmarks of her ‘leadership’) was followed by talk of “succession planning” and finding someone to carry on her pet projects.
Politicians intending on sticking around don’t talk about the future like this. Kim Jong Il never talked about stepping down, but followers of Pyongyang’s politics knew what would happen once the Dear Leader popped his clogs. And so too with Celia Wade-Succession Plan, although the problem of civic elections might throw a spanner in her dream of becoming the city’s spiritual Mayor For Life once she pedals off into the sunset next October.
Indeed we’ve suspected for some time that she’s coming to the end of her political career, and have pointed out how her conspicuous absence from major civic events (such as the official turning of the first sod at the Cuba Central campus) is giving the Deputy Head Boy Justin Wade-Lester increasing amounts of much needed media exposure.
Wade-Succession Plan told Tim Fookes that she ‘had October 8th 2016 down in her diary’; presumably with something like ‘find a new job’. She’s been getting stuck into her LinkedIn network, and flicked connection requests to everyone she knows, wants to know, and a few she probably shouldn’t know.
An amped up LinkedIn profile is usually the harbinger of a career change, along with a scrubbed up CV and attendance at management courses. Oh yes; that fits – earlier this year she spent a week at an Institute of Directors’ course in Queenstown – at the ratepayers’ expense, of course. Now in her third decade on Wellington City Council, you’d think Celia would be leading the training seminars (or maybe even running the city) – instead, she’s clearly getting herself ready for Life After Council.
We suspect none of the Mayor’s 66 ‘Community Engagement’ endorsements are Island Bay residents, and her sole endorsement for ‘Staff Management’ reflects the notoriously high turnover of employees in the Mayor’s office. Sources in Wakefield Street suggest that ‘Making Staff Cry’ would get a much better score. Perhaps we might accept her connection request – after all, we hear she’s regarded as one of New Zealand’s ‘most prominent and influential progressive politicians’