Pon­der­ing new su­per-coun­cil

Kapi-Mana News - - REGION - By JIM CHIPP

What might a Welling­ton su­per-city-lite look like? Be­fore the re­gion’s coun­cils are re­or­gan­ised it may be worth con­sid­er­ing who might sit on a pow­er­ful new re­gional coun­cil as pro­posed by the gov­er­nance re­view panel. Lord Mayor Sir Geoffrey Palmer’s quaint­lyti­tled Lord Mayor idea has been greeted with wide­spread de­ri­sion so it’s hardly likely one will ever wear the chain, but there does need to be some kind of head hon­cho.

The pre­tenders are likely to be led by Welling­ton Mayor Celia Wade-Brown and re­gional coun­cil chair­woman Fran Wilde.

The el­e­vated stand­ing of the new po­si­tion, even if falls short of no­bil­ity, could be enough to at­tract at least one Par­lia­men­tary politi­cian.

Long- serv­ing Ron­go­tai and Kapiti MP An­nette King had her tilt at great­ness as Phil Goff’s deputy in Labour’s 2011 cam­paign, but that was an un­mit­i­gated dis­as­ter. Ex­pect her to be con­sid­er­ing some new ca­reer op­tions.

Wilde is a sea­soned cam­paigner at all lev­els – MP, min­is­ter and Welling­ton mayor. She was com­fort­ably elected to her cur­rent po­si­tion and prob­a­bly would be again to the big­ger coun­cil.

Welling­ton has 40 per cent of the re­gional pop­u­la­tion and would get four seats on the 10-mem­ber coun­cil.

Wade-Brown is bound to have a go.

She has a high pro­file, hasn’t of­fended any­one since her elec­tion and Welling­to­ni­ans ap­pear to have some green sym­pa­thies so she’ll prob­a­bly be the first elected.

Andy Fos­ter was Welling­ton’s high­est- polling coun­cil­lor for many elec­tions, and would be a shoo-in.

John Mor­ri­son is a for­mer Black Cap and ra­dio com­men­ta­tor so name recog­ni­tion should see him home.

The fourth coun­cil­lor is harder to pick.

Low- polling coun­cil­lors Paul Bruce and Daran Pon­ter won’t have much hope, though Pon­ter would make an ex­cel­lent rep­re­sen­ta­tive.

One- time Ed­u­ca­tion Re­view Of­fice head and for­mer act­ing health board chair­woman Ju­dith Aitken was the third- high­est polling can­di­date in 2010.

Chris Laid­law is a for­mer All Black great, short- term MP, Rhodes Scholar, diplo­mat and Race Re­la­tions Con­cil­ia­tor, with a strong pro­file. He was sec­ond­polling coun­cil­lor be­hind Ms Wilde. Al­though he has yet to make the same im­pact at the coun­cil he had as All Black half­back, the name-recog­ni­tion fac­tor is likely to win him the last coun­cil seat.

Welling­ton City Coun­cil ap­pears to have a re­volv­ing pol­icy on gov­er­nance.

First it trum­peted its Col­mar Brun­ton poll re­sults, which found that 58 per cent were op­posed to any bound­ary changes and only 10 per cent favoured a su­per-city. Last week coun­cil chief ex­ec­u­tive Garry Poole pro­nounced that a re­gional su­per-city was the only way to go.

Hutt City will have two seats and, when the mu­sic stops, pop­u­lar mayor Ray Wal­lace will with­out a doubt have planted his be­hind in the first.

Gar­ru­lous deputy mayor David Bas­sett and coun­cil­lors Ross Jamieson of East­bourne, Christo­pher Milne and Max Shier­law might fancy their chances against the three in­cum­bents, Peter Glen­sor, Prue La­ma­son and San­dra Greig.

Al­though Greig com­mands a sub­stan­tial grey vote, Glen­sor was the high­est-polling of the three and he came close to tak­ing the Hutt may­oralty from John Ter­ris.

Wal­lace and Glen­sor would most likely win.

Porirua would have one seat, and odd­son favour­ing to take it would be Mayor Nick Leggett, who may also be heir- ap­par­ent to the top job when Wilde leaves.

Nei­ther of Porirua/Tawa’s two re­gional coun­cil­lors, Jenny Brash or Bar­bara Donaldson, have Leggett’s cur­rent pro­file or en­ergy, and deputy mayor Liz Kelly is not pop­u­lar.

For­mer deputy mayor Litea Ah Hoi polled very well in 2010 but didn’t come close to Leggett. With him out of the pic­ture, watch for her to tilt for the lo­cal may­oralty.

Kapiti will also have a sin­gle seat and it is likely to be a three­way bat­tle be­tween Mayor Jenny Rowan, for­mer mayor can­di­date Chris Turver and re­gional coun­cil in­cum­bent Nigel Wil­son. Rowan has been very tainted by the Kapiti wa­ter me­ter fi­asco and Wil­son is likely to slip through on the rails.

Up­per Hutt Mayor Wayne Guppy was elected in 2010 with a huge ma­jor­ity and he would be a front run­ner for the sin­gle re­gional seat.

Deputy mayor Peter McCar­dle has a de­cent pro­file as a for­mer MP but has a full­time job in Health Min­is­ter Tony Ryall’s of­fice.

For­mer gov­ern­ment min­is­ter Paul Swain was com­fort­ably elected to the cur­rent re­gional coun­cil, but Guppy’s 2010 mar­gin makes him clear favourite.

Wairarapa would get one seat and would pro­vide the most in­ter­est­ing con­test.

Carter­ton Mayor and ex- MP Ron Mark has the high­est pro­file. Master­ton Mayor Garry Daniell has the big­gest con­stituency but does not com­mand wide­spread re­spect.

Gary McPhee is the re­gional coun­cil­lor and has been mayor of Carter­ton. He can’t be writ­ten off be­cause he man­aged to un­seat the coun­cil’s for­mer chair­man, Ian Buchanan.

South Wairarapa Mayor Adri­enne Sta­ples is very pop­u­lar and will prob­a­bly have a go.

She is likely to be ev­ery­body’s sec­ond choice. If Mark can’t win out­right vic­tory at the first count un­der the sin­gle trans­fer­able vote elec­tion, and he is not likely to, Sta­ples will pip him un­der a later one.

The only thing likely to up­set that pre­dic­tion would be Daniell scratch­ing.

He could well see a bet­ter op­por­tu­nity as mayor of a uni­fied Wairarapa coun­cil, and that would avoid a split vote be­tween him and Mark.

De­spite pub­lic sub­mis­sions favour­ing a uni­fied ter­ri­to­rial author­ity for Wairarapa with the the re­gional coun­cil re­tained to pro­vide pub­lic trans­port and flood pro­tec­tion, the three coun­cils have spo­ken against the Palmer re­port.

They want a Wairarapa uni­tary author­ity also con­trol­ling their re­gion’s en­vi­ron­ment and trans­port. That may be driven by ru­ral coun­cil­lors ob­ject­ing to ur­ban­ites telling them what they can and can’t dump in wa­ter­ways.

No doubt which­ever of the may­ors wins the re­gional coun­cil seat, they would man­age to over­come their right­eous in­dig­na­tion to ac­cept the salary and perks.

Cen­tral Community News­pa­pers’ prob­a­ble coun­cil: Head hon­cho – Fran Wilde, coun­cil­lors Andy Fos­ter, Peter Glen­sor, Wayne Guppy, Chris Laid­law, Nick Leggett, John Mor­ri­son, Adri­enne Sta­ples, Celia WadeBrown, Ray Wal­lace and Nigel Wil­son.

Play­ers: There is still plenty of po­si­tion­ing and pos­tur­ing to be had should the su­per-city struc­ture pro­posed by the gov­er­nance panel be­come re­al­ity, but all of the re­gion’s lead­ers are bound to be in the pic­ture.

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