Peters still left as the king­maker

Kapi-Mana News - - CONVERSATIONS - CAROLE NAYLOR Pa­pakowhai GRAEME EBBETT Ti­tahi Bay Res­i­dents Assn chair­man ROSE HUD­SON Karori GOR­DON CAMP­BELL

Is this an in­di­ca­tion that Porirua City Coun­cil in­tends to raise more rev­enue in these ar­eas – a part­ing shot from our de­part­ing mayor (and his grand­mother)?

My apolo­gies to your grand­mother Nick (I would not have men­tioned her if you had not been dumb enough as to in­tro­duce her into your elec­tion cam­paign).

The Welling­ton City deputy mayor, Justin Lester, is cam­paign­ing about hous­ing con­di­tions, the cur­rent mayor on cy­cling, city coun­cil­lor Ni­cola Young is stand­ing for growth, but not the liv­ing wage.

How­ever, for Nick Leggett, it ap­pears that hav­ing to rein him­self in over lo­cal body amal­ga­ma­tion is all about him and his grand­mother.

BAY FOUGHT HARD FOR THE­ATRE

An in­cor­rect sug­ges­tion was made by Rose Hud­son (May 17) that the Ti­tahi Bay com­mu­nity was not sup­port­ive of its lo­cal the­atre.

Much work was done to save the com­mu­nity hall.

The res­i­dents as­so­ci­a­tion or­gan­ised a pub­lic meet­ing, trade sup­port and a restora­tion plan with a project man­ager and ma­chin­ery from a con­struc­tion com­pany of­fer­ing vol­un­tary ser­vices.

The plan was scut­tled by a com­pet­ing plan, sup­ported by mayor Nick Leggett, to trans­fer own­er­ship to Porirua Lit­tle The­atre.

Ev­i­dently that plan has now failed and Leggett leaves the Bay com­mu­nity a legacy of demolition by de­lib­er­ate ne­glect of its his­toric com­mu­nity hall.

KEEP­ING DRY IN PORIRUA

There are so many build­ings and foot­paths in Porirua’s city cen­tre cov­ered in scaf­fold­ing at present that it is now im­pos­si­ble to keep dry on a wet day, while com­ing and go­ing be­tween the shops and of­fices – that is, from those that are still open for busi­ness.

Tak­ing off on foot in some places is a bit like wad­ing through a chil­dren’s pad­dling pool while suf­fer­ing an icy cold shower with all your clothes on.

Porirua City Coun­cil em­ploy­ees and im­por­tant elected coun­cil of­fi­cers re­spon­si­ble for town plan­ning have kept the en­trance to their work place cov­ered and have ar­ranged for a small bridge to be placed over the worst pud­dles close to their coun­cil door­way, so they can en­joy dry feet, and dry clothes all day. Lucky them.

It can be de­scribed as a have and have not sit­u­a­tion, best il­lus­trated dur­ing a howl­ing wet gale when walk­ing along Ha­gley St past Pem­ber House, then around the un­cov­ered city coun­cil cor­ner.

All shel­ter there has been lost by the place­ment of scaf­fold­ing, ex­cept where there is a dry cov­ered en­trance into the Porirua City Coun­cil Cham­bers to be used by ‘‘keep dry’’ coun­cil em­ploy­ees, and those brav­ing the el­e­ments to pay rates, and fines etc.

Scaf­fold­ing is very nec­es­sary for earth­quake strength­en­ing in the Porirua area.

It would, how­ever, be eas­ier to ac­cept a daily soak­ing in the rain if Porirua City Coun­cil of­fi­cers could be seen to ex­er­cise equal­ity by putting up with a daily dunk­ing, pulling on a pair of trusty gum­boots and dry­ing out later in the tea break, just like ev­ery­one else.

It would be wise to keep a dress­ing gown un­der the desk in case the Porirua drains are blocked and leak­age in the work place oc­curs.

As the old say­ing goes, gov­ern­ments lose elec­tions more of­ten than op­po­si­tion par­ties win them.

Any bud­ding al­ter­na­tive govern­ment still has to look rea­son­ably com­pe­tent though, re­gard­less.

Given how rare ab­so­lute ma­jori­ties are un­der MMP, it also helps if you can demon­strate an abil­ity to work co-op­er­a­tively with oth­ers to achieve your pro­gramme.

Last week, Labour and the Greens took one small step in that di­rec­tion.

The memo of un­der­stand­ing they’ve signed isn’t about pol­icy hag­gling, which will kick in only af­ter the votes have been counted and the rel­a­tive strength of the part­ners is known.

For now, the team­work will amount to lit­tle more than man­ag­ing the elec­torate races so that the cen­tre-left bloc can max­imise its tally of seats.

Ohariu will be an ob­vi­ous test­ing ground for this strat­egy.

The­o­ret­i­cally, United Fu­ture’s Peter Dunne’s cur­rent ma­jor­ity of 710 would be erased if the Greens (who won 2764 elec­torate votes there in the last elec­tion) chose not to com­pete strongly in the elec­torate, and if most of the Greens elec­torate sup­port swung in be­hind the Labour can­di­date, and if this ar­range­ment didn’t pro­duce a sym­pa­thy vote for Dunne.

Not a sure thing, in other words. Also, any gains for the cen­tre-left would not be pain-free. Gen­er­ally, the Greens com­pete in elec­torate races not be­cause they think they can win them, but so that their lo­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tive can preach the Greens mes­sage and boost the cru­cial party vote.

In Ohariu last time, the Greens won a healthy 5623 party votes. Eas­ing off the ri­val­ries at the elec­torate level may well de­liver Labour vic­to­ries in Ohariu and in mar­ginal Auck­land Cen­tral – and could shore up Trevor Mal­lard’s van­ish­ing ma­jor­ity in Hutt South.

All this may boost the chances of a cen­tre-left govern­ment. Yet such vic­to­ries would have been sub­sidised by Greens losses on the party vote, and would there­fore weaken their po­si­tion at the bar­gain­ing ta­ble as the spoils of any overall vic­tory were be­ing divvied up.

Pre­sum­ably, Labour and the Greens weighed those pos­si­bil­i­ties be­fore sign­ing their agree­ment.

Al­ready, some com­men­ta­tors have reached for the smelling salts and de­scribed their deal as a rash, al­most sui­ci­dal move – but that reaction seems out­landish.

Surely, few New Zealan­ders would be shocked and amazed to

Talk­ing pol­i­tics ‘‘The deal merely con­firms the bleed­ingly ob­vi­ous.

learn that any fu­ture Labour-led govern­ment un­der­MMPwill prob­a­bly need to have the Greens on board. In that sense, the deal merely con­firms the bleed­ingly ob­vi­ous.

Mean­while, Na­tional’s sup­port has not de­clined to a point where its re-elec­tion chances are in se­ri­ous jeop­ardy.

Still, it may need fresh al­lies in 2017 to feel en­tirely con­fi­dent of get­ting over the 50 per cent mark.

The real elec­tion co­nun­drum next time will be whether Win­ston Peters will join forces against the Key govern­ment, or come rid­ing to its res­cue.

The lat­ter seems more likely – partly be­cause of Peters’ long-held an­tipa­thy to the Greens, and partly be­cause the role of the third wheel in a cen­tre-left ar­range­ment is sim­ply not his style.

In sum, the sig­nif­i­cance of the gath­er­ing warmth be­tween Labour and the Greens will not hinge on how the pub­lic re­acts to it – but on how Peters, this coun­try’s peren­nial king­maker, chooses to re­spond.

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