October 14, 2007

Major upset in the local election

The three yearly yawn fest, a.k.a., the local body elections ended yesterday, with a deja vu result for the mayoralty of Auckland. John Banks, whom I had the dubious pleasure of shaking hands with at my citizenship ceremony during his previous mayoralty, is back for another go. I never understood voters wanting a previous lot back for a second go. I mean, Harold Wilson wasn't any better the second time. No matter how transmogrified they pretend to be.
Anyway I had to vote, nose held, to keep Banksie out, and I didn't succeed. Tough.

Much more fun was the election race for our local Gulf Islands Councillor, with sitting member Faye Storer finally getting some stiff competition this time round. And guess what.
Denise Roche won!
We went round to Denise's house last night to join in the celebrations, even though at that time the margin was only 9 votes (in about 4,000 votes) which later in the evening went up to 16. It will probably lead to a recount but that didn't dampen the party spirit. It was high time we had a different representative on the Council because the outgoing one, many islanders felt, has been there too long and has been captured and sidetracked by too many other jobs within Council to do the representation and advocacy effectively.

The island community board returned the rather depressing lineup of the incumbents plus a newcomer, splendidly named Nobilangelo Ceramalus. He at least writes a blog.

Now the big battle is to begin on what the future governance structure of Auckland will look like: a supercity enamoured and geared towards business interests only, or proper democracy with decision making at the lowest level possible. We still want our County back!

UPDATE: Denise Roche declared the winner by 12 votes after the special vote count. So there will possibly a recount but more probably no change in that outcome.
The husband of the candidate who came second, a.k.a. the incumbent, wrote an extraordinary vitriolic letter to the Waiheke Gulf News (see below) accusing and mocking voters who didn't tick his wife for being gullible and naive. He wrote they would eventually regret voting the newbie in instead of supporting his now financially strafed family member.

Here's the Letter to the Editor (Waiheke Gulf News, 18 October 2007, p5):
As the partner of Faye Storer, I would like to thank the sensible intelligent people who have supported her for the last 15 years, on the community board and as the Hauraki Gulf councillor.
During that time she has been involved with every major council project on the island, working up to 80 hours, seven days a week for the last nine years to ensure Waiheke got everything it deserved.
For those who voted for candidates other than Faye, all I can say is you must be very gullible people to be taken in by the glib talk and false promises made by them.
Denise Roche in particular has never attended a council or community board meeting, so hardly has the qualifications to be our representative on council. She will be like a lamb to the slaughter at a Citizens and Ratepayers dominated council table. Her inability to get Waiheke anything will show through in a very short time and the 'Looney Left' vocal minority who have fought to get rid of Faye and supported Denise will get what they deserve, which is absolutely nothing. Expect to see major cutbacks in Waiheke's cut of the cake, and the likely sale of the Matiatia land back to private owners.
My next barrage is for the editor of the Gulf News whose editorial of 11 October showed his true colours. It implied that Faye's salary of $90,000 was extravagantly high. In reality, working an average of 70 hours a week for 48 weeks of year amounts to just over $26 an hour and, after tax, not quite $17.
Do you expect someone working those sorts of hours to it for nothing? Faye is actually relieved that she no longer has to deal with those people who don't have the gumption to stand for the community board or council themselves, but snipe at those who do, and is saddened that Waiheke will now suffer because of the selfishness of a few.
The community board, with three particularly hard working members, will now bear the burden of having an ineffectual councillor. Faye will not provide any advice to anyone but them; and Denise Roche is now wholly responsible for all off island decisions and their outcomes.
John Newton, Oneroa
If I had voted for Faye Storer I would be now majorly embarrassed and pissed off with this ungracious outburst against democracy. Good riddance to unsporting losers.

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