Brian Rudman: Mayors must focus as they face execution

Brian Rudman: Mayors must focus as they face executionConstitutional experts have spent decades trying to hatch a constitutional structure for Fiji with spectacular lack of success. With Auckland, Prime Minister John Key and his advisers have tried the other approach, taking just two… [NZ Herald Politics]

Brian Rudman usually write trite socialist tosh. Today he has delivered a pearler and a message to the Mad Mayor, Brown Eye Bob and Aortic Len, get over yourselves.

You know that the government has got something right when Brian Rudman and my old man agree on something. On the Super-City plan they are in broad agreement. I am astonished and therefore must be of the belief that if these two old war horses can agree then it must be good.

Rudman actually visits the taudry tale that other media fails to grasp in that these failed outer-lying mayors are the architects of their own demise;

The doomed outer mayors are now pleading from death row for a last date with their executioner. I’m not surprised that Mr Banks, whose allies are in power, can’t stop grinning, and that both he and regional council chairman Mike Lee are mocking them. They’re smart enough to realise that if Mr Hide does go to meet the condemned tomorrow, it will be solely to measure them up for a swift end. We’ve had so many variations on this theme from the mayors – both present and past – that one last death cell revelation is not going to carry much weight.

The scariest suggestion was from Waitakere Mayor Bob Harvey, who invoked the desire to bring in business leaders such as Deloitte chairman Nick Main to mediate. As ARC chairman Mike Lee so eruditely replied, “sounds like elitist bullshit to me Bob”.

Mr Lee, was of course, the intended victim of the comic-book putsch against the regional council, Mr Harvey and a gaggle of mayors and shadowy big-business backers tried to engineer in 2006. As in pre-European times, Tamaki Makaurau is the land of a 1000 lovers, the rich lands that everyone wants to control, be it big businessmen, Wellington politicians or local mayors trying to protect their patches.

Rudman also provides a good history lesson for all from the 1989 commission report that the government ignored to the present day;

In more recent times, a flurry of reforms – often eccentric and usually with Mr Harvey’s fingerprint nearby – have been proposed. In 2005, Mr Harvey called for a Lord Mayor of Auckland, based as some sort of ambassador in Wellington. A year later he actually sent a letter applying for the non-existent job to Deputy Prime Minister Michael Cullen.

By spring 2006, everyone was talking one city. In the background were businessmen like Stephen Tindall and Mr Main. With their encouragement, Mr Harvey and the then mayors of Auckland, Manukau and North Shore, produced a plan to replace the ARC with an all-powerful Greater Auckland Council. This GAC was to have direct government and possibly other outside appointees, guaranteed seats for the mayoral plotters, but contemplated having no directly elected councillors.

The mayors advised Government against a referendum on this because it would “slow the process down” and “would create uncertainty and could potentially derail the process …” The mayors argued “that speed and urgency is important as a means of overcoming pullback and resistance to change”. So much for the present calls for consultation.

A week later and the attempted coup laughed out of court, Mr Harvey confessed to his fellow plotters, “last week we were roosters, today we’re feather dusters”. It’s maybe unfair to link the other mayors with their predecessors’ high jinks, but with Mr Harvey still playing a star role, is it any wonder people are no longer listening?

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