While Onslow-Western Councillor, Jo Coughlan, has taken a somewhat lower profile this term, we have heard that she is taking soundings on whether or not to make a run for Mayor.
Coughlan is something of an enigma around Council – on paper she looks like a solid and seemingly obvious competitor. Multiple terms on Council, decent amount of votes, leadership on Economic Development, a business owner with clients and connections throughout the Government.
Yet somehow, she just isn’t.
Coughlan flirted with running last time around, but we understand that when the waters were tested she was well off the pace in polls.
This time around the Council Friend-o-China in Chief, if anything is closer than ever to the Mayoral team of Wade-Brown and Lester, effectively as 3iC overseeing their economic programme. But at the same time she is often lampooned by staffers for her creative approaches to meeting attendance and for not having a whole lot to show for in terms to economic development.
It was roughly three years ago that John Key said Wellington was ‘dying’, and while ‘stagnating’ would have arguably been more accurate, you could hardly say there has been a Coughlan driven explosion of growth in the Capital. Coughlan and Co stand by and watch as Auckland Council pick off the best bits of Wellington – its restaurateurs and bar owners were smuggled north, the Nines have copied and bettered the Sevens, the Auckland Festival has pitted itself head to head with Wellington (killing the Auckland market) and it is merely a matter of time before WOW goes as well.
Even the Coughlan championed Convention Centre will be dwarfed by what Auckland is building.
Then there was the odd situation of Coughlan distancing herself from the unanimous council vote in favour of the Call Active
bribe fee backhander sweetener (?!).
So after six years running the economic agenda for the Wade-Brown administration – what would Wellington really expect to get out of Coughlan becoming Mayor if she were able to pull together a credible run at the chains.