Len Brown is looking more like the Mayor of Auckland than John Banks has over the last week or so. Banks has looked desperate.Looking at their respective hoardings on the streets - they are both unimpressive.
Team Banks has had the sense not to put his face on his street-level billboards because they would be defaced within a matter of hours - in South Auckland perhaps only minutes. Banks' campaign is well-financed, networked and slick, but the billboards are too generic to have much impact. While Brown has his mug on his billboards, Team Brown is scared of using any colour - a reflection of the waffly policy positions. They paid for colour in their leaflets too - but not to have used it is just stupid. It doesn't have to be red either - which must have been their major concern with pulling across anti-Banks National voters - but not to have used any colour is such a waste.
Going negative in the last days must have been in any candidates playbook too if there had been no traction with headway on the opposition, but the Banks resort to using fear of the ghetto-dwelling üntermenschen of South Auckland as a way of motivating his Afrikaner volksfront on the North Shore is crude and repellant. It's a polarising tactic that reneges on his toned-down tolerant makeover and promise of being less racist (at least in public) than he used to be. Even Paul Henry's "New Zealanders" in the Auckland region understand the need for a non-red neck leader of the council that represents the whole of Auckland.
Votes can be cast at the public libraries and council chambers. Posting them at this stage is too late to make the midday Saturday deadline. There are a few hundred less votes in Papatoetoe, but there's a bit of suppression around that at the moment.
It might be a relatively inconsequential local board membership at stake in this example, but what if these phantom/lost voters all voted in the general election? I'm not sure which general electorate they are in, but if it was marginal a few hundred votes might make all the difference - as they probably would have at the local level. I hope the people associated with these 306 votes lose because it is simply not cricket to stuff ballot boxes in NZ. There's no subtlety or art in that practice. And to rub it in I hope they lose by less than 306 votes.
Apart from the terrible precedent that ballot-stuffing sets this case is another wake-up call to the dodgy grade of candidate that the main parties select as their token "ethnic" representatives. They tend to select religious types, ones with deep pockets, ones who can spin bullshit, ones who claim to lead a sub-section of their community, and ones will do what they are told. They are not ones selected on their own merits and they probably wouldn't be selected at all by the mainly Pakeha membership at any rate. They are the ones they can tap for money, tap for their community networks that deliver votes and be kept in a low and dependent position on a party's list. There are several MPs from both Labour and National that could fit that cynical bill. The reality is the parties are more interested in the money than multiculturalism and it leads to all sorts of compromises. Remember:
UPDATE | 3:50PM Friday: NZ Herald advising the name suppression has been lifted on Labour Party candidate Daljit Singh. Another still has suppression.
And it isn't looking too hot for Banks on TV3's polling. Banks is not ahead in any area of Auckland - with Brown clearly ahead down South, out West and more interestingly also ahead in Banks' own hometown of Auckland City.