Hey, National Party MPs: Never hug a corpse


Richard Harman at Politik went where Whaleoil isn’t welcome

The National Party turned out in force last night for the launch of ‘independent’ Victoria Crone’s Auckland mayoral campaign – and she dug deep into the government’s playbook to announce a new policy on a second harbour crossing.

But missing from the launch was John Key who has maintained a refusal to endorse Crone arguing that as Prime Minister he will have to work with whoever wins the Mayoral race.

That approach has drawn criticism and last night looked like Crone had finally got the formal approval of the National Party.

She was Introduced by National MPs Mark Mitchell and Alfred Ngaro and with a video exhortation from former Prime Minister Dame Jenny Shipley, Crone’s big night was an emphatic coming together of the centre-right.

Speakers from both the Communities and Residents (C&R) and Auckland Future blocs spoke in her favour.  Government ministers Nikki Kaye, Maggie Barry and Paul Goldsmith were joined in the 130 strong crowd by National Party president Peter Goodfellow, the current Auckland regional chair, Andrew Hunt and the two immediate past chairs Alastair Bell and Alan Towers.

Crone’s launch announcement of bringing forward $150m of council funding to put a second harbour crossing on the fast-track by 2020 was applauded by Nats in attendance, including North Shore MP Barry.

Endorsed by The Nation’s Favourite Grandmother, no less.

“This is another building block to how we create a world-class city.”  A rapid transit public rail corridor would be investigated as part of the new crossing.  “If the government agreed to that timeframe, we as a council will agree to another $600m to integrate a public [transport] component into the second harbour crossing.”

The centre-right have plainly identified the North Shore as rich ground for Crone – in the 1970s and 1980s Rob Muldoon used the harbour bridge tolls and their eventual removal to manipulate support for the government in Shore electorates.

It is also the kind of headline-grabber with a vaguely defined dollar value and arbitrary timeframe which the government drags from its deep political pocket when polling shows public focus is too concentrated on policy failings elsewhere.

Crone dug deep into the government’s coffers to get at taxpayer money.   She can’t announce a $150m Harbour Bridge extension without the help of the government of the day.  The Harbour Bridge is owned and operated by the NZTA, a Crown entity and nothing to do with Auckland Council.  Why she would heave $150m of rate payer money into it, making those people pay twice as tax payers and rate payers, seems to have no political upside.

Vic Crone has been dead in the water from the beginning.  For National to be so disingenuous about her being independent as well as National as a party not getting involved in local body politics, well, people don’t like being lied to.   Call a spade a spade.

National ministers should be reading the tea leaves and running away at high speed, instead they care cuddling a smelly political corpse.  And we all know what happens next.

Vic Crone

And Crone played up her links to the National-led government.  “I have been building on my existing relationships with the government and how do we partner together. I worry about a 30-year politician who has been boxing out of the red ring….”

and how do we partner together…  looking for synergies and positive outcome mutuality, no doubt.

Crone is making multi billion dollar promises to spend government money she doesn’t have and neither does the government.  On top of the multi billions yet to be spent on the rail loop.  All funded with a maximum 3% rates increase.

And don’t forget she wants to move the port too.  Don’t you wonder where that $6b comes from within a 3% rates increase?  The whole thing is a load of crap.  Supported by idiots.  And somehow they are hugging this political corpse like a Weekend at Bernies.

With three weeks to go before three weeks of postal voting opens, the right’s anointed one declared: “This thing is winnable. Let’s not let a leader from yesterday cruise into the mayoralty of Auckland.”

Winnable?  Anything is possible.  She’s already 7% ahead of Penny Bright!


– Richard Harman, Politik

  • Isherman

    Gee, 7% ahead of Penny Bright…I hope her spot on Labours Future of Work commission is secure, she may have to fall back on that yet for a crust.

  • Jman

    Realistically speaking, it’s a choice between Crone and Goff and even that may be pushing it as right now it looks like Goff can sleepwalk to the win. Palino and Mark Thomas are out of it unless something dramatic happens. Otherwise the media will just continue to starve them of any coverage.

    I’m sure like most of us I’m not at all enthusiastic about either Goff or Crone. Kinda like how most US voters must be feeling although on a less significant scale. So which way to go? At this stage I’m honestly not sure.

    • Everyone was out of it the moment Phil Goff got the Media party support.

      • Rebecca

        Goff went on National TV the other day talking about Helen Clark at the UN. IMHO he presented himself/came across as a Labour insider. He had those votes anyway but I wonder whether he turned off the majority who don’t vote Labour.
        Certainly I appreciated WO’s earlier excellent point about the Right splitting its votes: maybe this is the beginning of sorting that out.

        • Sailor Sam

          Goff is only an independent when running for the mayoralty.
          Whilst he is in parliament he is just another little party politician with his snout in the taxpayer trough.

  • Seriously?

    Okay, I’ll say it a second time as Crone’s people are sure to read this, but then shut up about it.

    A housing supply idea that is actually implementable, and may help and would certianly send the signal that the Council should send…

    Stop charging any fees for Council staff time spent on processing resource consent and building consent applications that will add more household units to the supply. That covers both intensification and subdivision. If you want to narrow it down, make it say more than 2 new ones, or 3. The cost is only staff time.

    • biscuit barrel

      Thats called a subsidy… and its for people who will possibly make a killing from the deleopment.. ratepayers wont wear it.

  • metalnwood

    Here are my thoughts.. I dont follow local body in depth so I look to places I can trust to help me out.

    I am at a bit of a loss on this one. No one is helping me decide. Vic Crone is possibly quite naive about politics and getting caught in questions that someone with more experience would have been prepared for. So she is getting a bagging for it.

    Phil Goff, the life long troffer gets bagged for being a career politician bringing the same old stuff.

    So everyone has their issues but I get the impression here to vote for no one. OK, but seeing as we have to vote for someone.. who has more chance that leans the way I do?

    Surely the slightly naive person who probably thinks more like me is the person than the polished lefty liar.

  • Rebecca

    If it’s good enough for Wellington to discuss gifting a runway extension to Infratil, why shouldn’t Auckland gift some ratepayer money to a publicly owned crossing?

    At least an extra crossing does not rely on incentives to airlines or other tricky dicky to “prove” it makes economic sense. All Aucklanders can see there’s a need for more crossing capacity as was stated (and ignored) way back when the harbour bridge was first being designed.

    • Ross

      I see it as pragmatic politics… local and central working together. NZTA can’t successfully build a flyover in Wellington, I can’t begin to imagine the RMA type issues that could exist with a project of this nature and as we’ve seen in Wellington, projects struggle to proceed with you have misaligned local politics at play. From a funding perspective, it makes the dollars spent somewhat more palatable for those south of the Bombay’s if Aucklander’s are chipping in too.

      Edit; english

      • Rebecca

        Crone will need to be smart about this. Existing Council has invested huge coin in a Northern Busway that boasts a 17 minute reduction in crossing time at peak hour. So increasing capacity for cars may threaten the Council Mandarins of Public Transport who will begin their well-practiced undermining and white anting. She’s going to need really competent administrators on her side to survive the passive aggressive behavior of entrenched bureaucrats who have plenty of time and practice at subversion.

    • biscuit barrel

      Firstly its part of the SH system so its a 100% government responsibility. No ratepayers money required
      Secondly Wellington ratepayers have a share in the airport company, but its still mad to get ratepayers to top up the runway cost for little benefit.
      While maybe the North Shore might like the idea, they are only 15% of the region population

      • Rebecca

        The existing crossing may be part of the SH, but Council looks after a lot of roads as well as part of an airport and other utilities, so there’s no barrier to all or part of a harbour crossing AFAICS. Crone suggested public-private partnership but there are plenty of options.
        I think benefit extends to more than people on the North Shore. With Auckland on a isthmus, anything that eases transport bottlenecks North or South can help unlock the city-wide congestion and makes it more feasible to live outside current city limits rather than trying to cram in at enormous cost.

        • biscuit barrel

          Auckland council may have apart share in Airport company ( they get substantial dividends each year) but they dont pay for runways etc. Yes Roads are part of the council funding but SH are totally not and should never be. if the 2nd harbour crossing isnt on the government list now its because the cost benefit ratio is too low . So a second reason not to do it.
          Your reasoning is wrong about unlocking bottle neck on Shore reducing congestion elsewhere, it will just move the bottle neck into CBD or Newmarket. That what happened when the opened new SW motorway from Puhunui to Wiri to connect with main Southern motorway, it turned both motorways into parking lot at peak hour

          • Rebecca

            A second crossing was called a “priority” by National in its 2009 20-year infrastructure plan but I think Crone is saying she wants to accelerate that.
            I take your point about dumping lots of extra cars in town – and lets not forget self-driven cars that ought to be a reality before another crossing is even started at this rate. Streams of vehicles co-operating rather than cutting each other off or failing to merge like a zip or tootling along in the wrong lane, will make an enormous difference in NZ.

  • twittertit

    $150m isn’t going to get you much of a second harbour crossing.

    • Boondecker

      Typical of NZ councils. Could you just imagine what it would be for $150m though… a bottleneck single lane each way debacle or maybe three lanes with signal lanes like the old Panmure bridge at a pinch. They’ll be looking at costly and expensive clip-ons (or another tunnel) in no time.

  • Sailor Sam

    At least she did not (yet) offer the ” living wage” for council employees like her independent opponent.
    Aucklanders, be afraid, be very afraid.

  • DoctorEvo

    Wow… Just read Vic’s responses to the Mayoral Questionaire in this month’s Incite Politics newsletter.

    I strongly recommend anyone considering voting for her as the defacto “centre right” candidate to read it for themselves.

    She seems to be nothing more than a collection of management-speak and cliched bureaucratese strung together in an (at times) incoherent manner.

    • Boondecker

      So exactly what WO has been saying for a while now then.

      • DoctorEvo

        Indeed! But he is also a big advocate for research and forming one’s own opinion rather than meekly accepting what one reads in the “media” ;-)

  • Cadwallader

    This woman bleats on like a sixth former angling to be the Head Girl of a small and snotty high school. She is a vacuum inside a vacuum. If she did her maths she’d know 3% on X is not X x 3 to match her planned expenditure.

  • Boondecker

    Thanks to WO, I feel far better informed about Vic Crone and her policy platform than what I would have been otherwise. As for Phil Goff, I could never vote for a Labour lifer, and Phil is the leopard who will never change his spots. I voted John Palino last time around and still feel good that I did – he obviously didn’t win, but voting gave me the right and ability to openly and rightly critique matters as I saw them, and as at least I did vote and didn’t sit back waiting to whinge about when Len Brown and his cronies (no pun intended, Vic) started their council circus.

    I will vote Palino again this time around, knowing well that he has less of chance of winning against the well known Labour candidate Goff, but if you’re not in to win how can you possibly comment later. I also promise no mercy for Goff. He is just Len Brown Mark II with less activity in the Ngati Whatua room after hours.

  • Rebecca

    At last we know what to do (Shame Palino and Thomas still don’t get it)
    Vote Vic for a fighting chance or watch Phil grin
    Why can’t Palino and Thomas do the right thing – they are still trying to mess with the power brokers – give Auckland a chance please and go to the beach – Summer is coming

  • Deanos2

    I don’t get it. Why does the pic say ‘Phils Angels’ and what does JdeJ have to do with it?