Claire Trevett rang me for a chat yesterday about Maurice Williamson dropping out of the mayoralty race. Strange since Helen Kelly thinks I am irrelevant.
One of National MP Maurice Williamson’s supporters says he dropped his ambition to run as Auckland’s mayor partly because the National Party refused to let him stand under the party’s banner.
Unlike Labour and the Greens, National has never stood candidates in the local body elections but National-aligned blogger Cam Slater said Mr Williamson was trying to get the party to change its stance. Mr Slater, who is a friend of Mr Williamson, believed National’s refusal had cost the centre-right the only chance to beat Mayor Len Brown.
Mr Williamson announced yesterday he had decided against standing, saying he had taken personal, political and funding issues into consideration in his decision.
I have known Maurice since my early teens…we used to annoy his neighbours with heavy metal sessions at his house on weekends. It really was no use pounding on the door when we were playing Deep Purple and Black Sabbath at those volumes.
Mr Slater also indicated Mr Williamson had spoken to some high-profile people who were willing to stand alongside Mr Williamson under a National banner in Auckland.
He would not give names, but Michael Jones has ruled out running for Parliament for National in the past because it would mean too much time away from his young family. Mr Jones did not return calls yesterday.
National has lost an opportunity to gather quality candidates for Auckland Council. It is highly unlikely that those same people would stand under the tarnished C&R brand especially with nasty little twats like Mark Thomas involved. Instead C&R will go into the campaign with a bunch of nobodies and cede the council and the mayoralty to the left wing. This will be National’s legacy, as well as John Key’s…a disenfranchised Auckland angry at the party.
Mr Slater said funding would also have been an issue for Mr Williamson because changes to the rules after the Auckland Council was formed meant mayoral contenders in Auckland had a spending cap of $580,000 in the three months before an election – much higher than the $70,000 caps for Christchurch and Wellington mayoral races. Mr Slater said this meant that a candidate would realistically have to raise about $1 million to have a chance and that was difficult in the time left.
Fuck you very much Simon Power, it is his changes to donations that have made life difficult for anyone trying to fight Len Brown’s ratepayer funded campaign.
The cowardice of John key and National have set back the centre-right for the foreseeable future. Len Brown will now ram through his unitary plan, increase rates even higher and National will lose a good deal of support across in Auckland.
John Key likely doesn’t care, his focus is on the next three years only.