Election close up
UPDATE | 10PM: Here is the video from the debate:--UPDATE ENDS]
NZ Herald report on the Close Up debate last night. Banks lost, Brown won... so what? The council is going to be a bit of a mess anyway no matter who is the Mayor. It will be very close between the two mayoral candidates, but the City Vision/C&R blocs will be minorities when the independents are added to the mix.
Banks' main campaign failure has been in agreeing to debates with just Len Brown. His tactic should have been to designate a third candidate to spar with from the left - a challenger to Brown. He hasn't done this and so now all the anti-Banks vote will be going to Brown. Banks looked desperate and his attack lines weren't working.
Brown's failure has been to let his exuberance and penchant for the theatrical interfere with his message. Last night's performance was par for the course: he interrupted the host (Sainsbury) and tried to talk over him to make a point a few times; but in these time-sensitive TV situations he will always lose because the chairman must keep order and the interjector cannot over-rule the chairman in these circumstances. He just looked like a hectoring dick for having tried it. When he tries to be serious and meek he over-does it and when he tries to be strong and forceful he over does it.
As for the substantive policy differences - there are far too many overlaps to draw clean distinctions, especially with both promising to borrow and increase debt in order to keep rates rises to a minimum. I can't stand Banks - and that sentiment will be shared by a majority of Aucklanders - but whether they vote or not is another thing, so I'm picking a very close election result.
As for my local ward, the choices are unsatisfactory. The local Left ticket couldn't even get their shit together to run a candidate for councillor FFS. That is beyond pathetic. They have gifted the councillor position to the Tory. They've stood a full slate, however, for the board - along with C&R. I've read through the candidates' 200 word blurbs in the booklet accompanying the ballot form and they are mostly a gawdawful vacuum of nothingness.
Most of them don't even mention policy. At all. It's all "listening to the community" and lists of committees they've served on rather than an indication of what they are concerned with. I don't want to know every detail of their mundane CV's - I want to know what they care about and what they will do about it. For me it is a process of elimination.
There are 22 standing for 7 places on the board, of which 9 have no policies whatsoever, and 3 have pseudo policies too vague to call actual policies - so I can't vote for any of them because I don't know what they stand for. That leaves 10 - and most of their policies are waffly and vague "economic drivers" and "equitable rates," employment etc. that are barely above pseudo-policy level. If they have managed to identify issues many have picked ones the local board will have no ability to influence. The ones that seem to have a grip on what the job will really involve, what the ground-level issues are and what needs to be done are some (but certainly not all) of the incumbent old white guys. They say we need more diversity in local government - and I agree we would be better served by a range of people from different backgrounds - but I'm not going to vote for non old white guys just because they are non old white guys, that's not enough to get my vote. They have to at least sound as though they know what they're doing.
So overall the calibre of candidate is woeful and their 200 words wasted egotistical waffle.