Peters still left as the kingmaker
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.