Character building

I finally got around to filling in my ballot for the Auckland City Council elections.

With so many different things to vote for and so many different people to vote for, I went through the candidate profile booklet and started eliminating candidates based on their little blurbs.

I will not vote for candidates who said the following:

  • “I call for the withdrawal of US and ‘coalition’ troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.” OK, but what about plastic-bag recycling?
  • The anti-abortionist who says that, if elected, he will “use the office of mayor solely in this battle.” Sorry, the mayor can’t help you. He’s busy stopping a 15-year-old rape victim from aborting her unwanted foetus, etc.
  • The candidate who who “understands company reports as NZX investor.” This sounds like she sat down with a Work and Income CV consultant and learned to maximise her potential.
  • Regarding Queen Street being “a mess” – “I will encourage those concerned to wake up.” Yes, you Queen Street retailers had better wake up or there’ll be trouble.
  • The candidate who has no conflicts of interest with the “(insert name) District Health Board”. Yeah, me neither.

It looks like the mayoralty is going to be between the incumbent mayor and the previous mayor. Neither of them really excite me.

Sometimes I like to go into the Auckland Public Library’s Auckland resource room and read old city council propaganda publications. This is what I have learned – there are always going to be mayors who have really amazing plans for the city that never get to happen.

Mayor Robbie’s idea of a rapid rail system is often hailed as an example of this. I found the 1974 district plan that had this detailed in it. It was bit weird. There would have been an underground concourse running from Hobson Street (where Sky City is now) down to Queen Street, and up to Kitchener Street. Why? What’s wrong with walking down the street? And there would have been all sorts of peculiar tunnels and escalators needed to get under and around the hilly inner-city landscape.

But for every visionary idea that never makes it, there are also really horrible ideas that never get approved, like the plan to put a mall and office block on the site of the Civic theatre.

Every mayoral or council candidate that isn’t currently on the council seems to be running on the promise of change. Something is broken in this city, they say, and they’re going to fix it. But why does Auckland’s brokenness have to be fixed? Why can’t we accept the flaws of this city as being what makes it special? Does Auckland actually need “world class” paving stones on its footpaths?

Now I’ll just have to remember to post my ballot off.

6 thoughts on “Character building”

  1. I like to pick mine based on how they look.
    Really creepy = no vote!
    Not smiling = no vote!
    Scary haircut = no vote!
    Smiling and not creepy or scary = vote!
    Honestly who can read all that info – after a while it just becomes blah, blah, blah, snore.
    Wow – I’m really disinterested in local elections.

  2. I can’t find a photo online, but one of the Auckland mayoral candidates is a gentleman by the name of Scruff Ralph. He is apparently “New Zealand’s best known roady”, and he sports a bald head, bushy grey beard, several nasal piercings and a full facial tattoo. Perhaps I should have voted for him.

  3. Ah, that’s a fine pedigree. Now I’m thinking I really should have voted for him. Among his community-based policies is his desire to have “bureaucrats fired, no consultants”.

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