What is about the centre right in Auckland? There they are, in the citadel of commerce, and yet they’re routinely unable to put up a credible mayoral candidate to run the place. All they’ve got for now is poor old Mark Thomas, the former National candidate in Wellington Central whom even the National Party threw overboard 20 years ago, at the 1996 election. A credible right wing foe for Phil Goff may eventually emerge – but they’ll be starting from a long way behind the man from Mt Roskill. Things got to such a pretty pass that earlier this week, Thomas was reduced to complaining that Goff had used a taxpayer funded telephone line (!) the other day to talk to RNZ, when they rang for an interview about his mayoral campaign….
For Goff, the mayoral race marks an interesting phase in his relationship with a Labour Party he has served since he was a lad. Goff won’t be running as a “Labour” candidate for mayor, and if he wins, he’ll be exposing Labour to a by-election contest in Mt Roskill that could be turn out to be a sterner test than expected. (Any centre – right politician with ambition has a better shot at glory in the subsequent by-election than in running for mayor. )
In almost every other electorate that Labour won at last year’s election, it still lost the party vote to National ; and Mt Roskill was no exception. Despite Goff holding an electorate majority of 8.091 over National’s Parmeet Parmar, Labour lagged by 2,189 votes behind National on the party vote, which is an indication of the strong cross-party support that Goff enjoys. A new Labour candidate in Mt Roskill may have their work cut out, especially since the Greens and New Zealand First will welcome the opportunity for exposure that a by election will offer, and this will inevitably split the centre-left vote. Labour should still win that by – election – and if it can’t, the 2017 general election will be all but over – but they’ll have to work for it.
If Goff wins the mayoralty, his statements to date suggest that there will be a lot of policy continuity. Despite a few minor points of difference “Len Brown-ism without Len Brown” would be an accurate campaign slogan – especially since Brown’s former media manager David Lewis will reportedly be playing the same role for Goff in 2016. Fair enough, too. It was Brown’s personal peccadilloes, not his policies, that brought his mayoral career into disrepute. Much as the right wing likes of Cameron Brewer may fuss and fume, there is no wide public support for asset sales or any of the other hackneyed baggage of that goes with privatization:
Goff’s recent criticism, and in fact complete dismissiveness, of Auckland Council reviewing its assets shows just how red his political blood runs…..
“If Goff’s not prepared to take a really serious look at reviewing Auckland’s $40b of assets, with the possibility of selling down, in whole or part, the likes of the Ports of Auckland operating business or council’s 22.4% shareholding in the Auckland International Airport, then ratepayers should be worried.
Red Phil ? There may a planet on which Phil Goff is the wily servant of creeping socialism, but it isn’t this one – and any Cam Brewer lookalike who tries to oppose him in the upcoming mayoral race will struggle to make the “ red Phil” label stick. Back within the Labour parliamentary caucus, the exit of Goff could theoretically allow for an infusion of new blood, but if Michael Wood really is the frontrunner to replace Goff in Mt Roskill…well, we do seem to be facing something of a young fogey situation:
Marlon Williams on NZ Music Awards was the weirdest most won’ful music I’ve heard 4 ages. Must acquaint.
Red, and Black
Paint the town red ? Not under Mayor Phil. Here’s a French song from the 1960s with a different colour in mind. You may not recognize the song by its French title “Marie Douceur, Marie Colere” but this mid 1960s hit ( in France) by the beautiful Marie Laforet will be instantly recognizable :
Before this, Laforet had enjoyed a prominent career in French film. She’d co-starred for instance, opposite Alain Delon in the Rene Clement film Purple Noon ( aka Plain Soleil ) – a long time favourite film of Martin Scorsese. A few years ago, Plein Soleil got remade as The Talented Mr Ripley, with Matt Damon in the Alain Delon role. Here’s the trailer for the original film, with quite a few shots of Laforet, who – after “Marie Douceur, Marie Colere” – went on to have a pretty successful career as a folkie/cabaret singer.