Denise Krum

Len Brown breaks yet another promise, ratchets rates ever higher

Len Brown has become the lying Mayor.

Another of his election promises has gone by the wayside as his council keeps on increasing rates rather than reining in spending.

Auckland Council’s budget committee has voted 16-7 for a proposal to increase rates by 3.5 per cent for each year of a new 10-year budget.

The proposal got the backing of Mayor Len Brown, who promised voters to hold rates at 2.5 per cent this term.

This is on top of the massive rates rises of the last 3 years, some way more than 10% but capped under now expired legislation. Remember too that this is average rates rises of 3.5%, there will be some with even higher rates rises.

These are the tax, spend and hope councillors.

For a 3.5 per cent increase: Len Brown, Penny Webster, Arthur Anae, Cathy Casey, Bill Cashmore, Ross Clow, Linda Cooper, Chris Darby, Alf Filipaina, Penny Hulse, Mike Lee, Calum Penrose, John Walker, Wayne Walker and Maori Statutory Board members David Taipari and John Tamihere.

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No surprises, troughers vote for trough to continue to be filled with lolly

Auckland Council troughers have voted to continue to sup fromt eh trough despite the council running a black budget process due to burgeoning debt.

Not for them to have to spend time with the smelly passengers and poor people in cattle class.

A group of Auckland councillors have managed to retain a business-class-travel perk, but a bid to give them free parking has been voted down.

The move comes as reduced library hours, street cleaning and an end to inorganic rubbish collections are on the table for sweeping budget cuts.

George Wood, Christine Fletcher, Denise Krum and Calum Penrose were among those who voted yesterday to defeat an amendment by councillor John Watson to restrict business-class air travel to health grounds only.

Councillors get to keep the perk of sitting in business class when taking flights of more than six hours and conducting council business within 24 hours of landing at an overseas destination.

It took the casting vote of finance committee chairman and Labour councillor Ross Clow to keep the status quo in the elected members’ expenses policy, despite many of his left-wing colleagues voting to tighten the rules.

Right wingers Cameron Brewer and Dick Quax supported the left to tighten the rules.

Mr Clow justified his decision on the basis that elected representatives needed to turn up fresh and fully prepared to represent Auckland after long-haul travel beyond most of Australia.

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Censured, now go Len

Len Brown has been censured, unanimously.

Auckland councillors have unanimously voted to censure Len Brown.

The threat of censure against the city’s mayor was mooted earlier this week, as the fallout over his extra-marital affair with Bevan Chuang continues.

There’s been robust debate in the council chambers on the Ernst & Young report into Len Brown’s spending and conduct during his extra-marital affair.

But a group of Auckland councillors have failed in their bid to hold a vote of no confidence in Mayor Len Brown.

Councillor Cameron Brewer was one of the councillors behind the no confidence motion.

“It was an outrage that we couldn’t put a no confidence motion up today, because the chair ruled it was a double negative.

“So we’re going to have to vote against another motion just to show our disdain.”  Read more »

Fran O’Sullivan on Len Brown being above the rules

Fran O’Sullivan from the NZ Herald doesn’t hold back as she discusses Len Brown’s propensity to fail to abide by the rules.

If he had any skerrick of honour left, Len Brown would by now have tendered his resignation as mayor to the people of Auckland.

It is absolutely clear that Brown has obtained multiple private benefits by virtue of his position as Mayor of Auckland.

It’s now time for Auditor-General Lyn Provost to open up a much wider inquiry to satisfy Aucklanders – and New Zealanders at large – just where Brown’s abuse of his position stopped.

Brown is hopelessly compromised by the Ernst & Young (EY) report, finally released after lengthy “negotiations” between the mayor’s office and Auckland Council chief executive Doug McKay on just what would be made public from the review into the possible use of council resources during the mayor’s two-year affair with Bevan Chuang.  Read more »

A few good results in Auckland

Although Auckland re-elected Len Brown he can hardly claim a mandate, indeed no one really can given the appallingly low turnout.

Len Brown gained 148944 votes. That is less than ten percent of Auckland’s population. The turn out was just 34.33% or 341611 votes. 995080 were eligible to vote.

Len Brown has won on 14.9% of the possible vote. He can hardly claim a mandate. His best statistic he can claim is that he won 43% of those who voted…no mandate there either.

There are some more interesting council results though.

Governing Body Results

Local Board results

Veteran trougher, Richard Northey, despite skiting to those attending a recent concert that he had the race in the bag has been unseated by Denise Krum. Well done to Denise. Northey has been supping from the public trough since Adam was in nappies. Good riddance.

Ann Hartley, another of Len Brown’s flunkies has be unseated in North Shore. The North Shore returned George Wood and Chris Darby. I’m glad Joseph Bergin didn’t get elected despite him being a young Nat…he is wetter and more left than Nikki Kaye, so Auckland dodged that bullet. Chris Darby will be interesting to watch though, because he is slightly loopy, a planner, and a fair weather right-winger…I expect Len Brown will attempt to buy him off with a chair position of some sort.

In the local board races I was very pleased to see Michael Williams unseated. His little team of nasties has been destroyed with only Jim Donald and Steve Udys being returned. Bullying people and getting drink driving convictions doesn’t really help your election chances. There is now a clear majority on the local board of like minded people who can work together instead of against each other. I was very pleased to see a good friend in Katrina Bungard get elected to the local board in the Pakuranga subdivison. Michael Williams supporters Wayne Huang and the bewildered Shirley Warren were destroyed. The shame in that ward is Simon Williamson missed out despite a fair bit of hard work. Never-mind, Steve Udys is on borrowed time.  Read more »

Brewer, Quax and Stewart already elected

The nominations for local body elections have now closed and three councillors have already been confirmed, essentially elected due to the lack of opposition.

They are Sharon Stewart and Dick Quax in Howick Ward and Cameron Brewer in Orakei. All are top performers in their wards, working tirelessly for the local community, the lack of opposition would seem to confirm this.

Congratulations.

It is perplexing to see the left wing not try to stand against them, or anyone else for that matter. Though given the lack of resources they it is probably smart to concentrate those in areas at the margins, like in Maungakiekie-Tamaki where the tired old warhorse and rifler of desk drawers Richard Northey will face a battle from the much younger and energetic Denise Krum.  Read more »

Tamaki redux – The Blokefest continues

Simon O’Connor has won the nomination for one of National’s safest seats – congratulations to Simon who won on the final ballot in the rushed contest to replace Allan Peachey after he resigned for ill health. This selection process has been exceptionally well run by the electorate chair and there has not been even a hint of skullduggery except by the President making his usual hamfisted interventions but no one in National thinks this is malicious, it is just the president has tits for hands.

The rushed selection has arguably not allowed delegates a proper chance to get to know the candidates, but the result accurately reflects the Tamaki constituency preference for a conservative male candidate who is well networked into the party, who presented fairly well and was good off-the-cuff. It also represents their desire to play it safe, by not selecting a candidate who would have represented unacceptable public relations risks for the party. There is also a suggestion that the aged males of Tamaki did not want a woman, which excluded three of the unsuccessful candidates (two of whom were female).

Commiserations to Denise Krum, who gave a great speech on the night and who presented well. It is unfortunate that she is still being tagged with the description of “former United Future president” in the Herald – she has earned the right to be described as National through and through.

Mark Thomas probably hung up his political boots last night after coming third (insiders suggested he was likely to win, and he had the support of some prominent Auckland Nats). His Party involvement has been defined by rejection at important moments –  knifed by Bolger and humiliated at the hands of the famously narrow-minded Tamaki electorate.

It looks like once again Tamaki will have to be satisfied with a less than average MP.

The Tamaki Debacle, Ctd

The race for the National aprty nomination for Tamaki is between these five:

I have been forwarded a summary of candidate biographies by the electorate chair, Andrew Hunt, who is making a good fist of the selection. HE is approachable and seems to be be running everything precisely by the rules. He has sent me the summary because candidates aren;t allowed to talk to media.

Candidate Bios

My summary will follow the same format as previous selections. Links on their names are to their iPredict stock.

Denise Krum:

Selection Record: Maungakiekie 2008 (Successfully won selection for United Future), Botany 2011 (Did not make it through Preselection),  Epsom 2011 (Dropped at 2nd ballot)

Denise is a pleasant journey woman who is unlikely to make mistakes as an MP, but also unlikely to make an impact. Her solid and stable family background and Christian values platform may endear her to some locals. A female MP for Tamaki would be a first, and probably not a bad thing either. If Krum can present more like a corporate and less like a suburban housewife, she would have the potential to win the selection.

Advantages:

  • strong track record of community involvement including getting seriously off side with Greenpeace after cleaning up the Ellerslie town centre and having them poster it with anti corporate messages.
  • Political background including father Graeme Lee being a former National MP.
  • Would help the gender balance in the National caucus

Disadvantages:

  • Political background including father Graeme Lee being a former National MP.
  • Ran for United Future in 2008
  • Was United Future Party President
  • A very attractive woman who’s causal dress sense and hippy style hair does not do her justice
  • Needs serious speech training to stop her coming across as a stoner.
  • No proven track record as a vote winner
  • Has not won a selection so far and Tamaki may not want a woman who is a repeat loser

Toni Millar:

Selection Record: To this blogs knowledge has not stood for National Selection previously

A former local councillor with a reputation for abrasiveness and bossiness. Her strong local connections 9she has lived in the electorate for decades) would make her an excellent candidate for right now, but her “spoilt child” reputation proceeds her, and will turn off some delegates. Local community groups would adore Millar as the local candidate, as she is a very social person. Not one to make a contribution to policy – think of her as a Sandra Goudie without gumboots. No longer married, but also no children, which means she would have the time to apply to the role of ribbon cutter. Would be an effective local MP and loyal to the party. Her weight might be held against her by some delegates.

Advantages

  • Proven electability as a C&R councilor on the old Auckland City Council
  • Experienced political operator who would have a head start on newbies in parliament
  • Great links into a wide range of community groups
  • Very good with voter contact and very good manner with voters
  • Known to enjoy doing the hard yards in her electorate, and enjoy the contact with constituents
  • Would help the gender balance in caucus
  • Would not mind taking on hostile audiences of morons like teachers unions as she is known to have a hide like a rhinoceros

Disadvantages

  • An assertive woman in a world where assertiveness in women can unfairly be used to call a woman a “school marm”, “bossy” or “a bitch”
  • Former Teacher
  • Would not add to the intellectual and policy heft of the party
  • Perhaps not the best long term prospect

Simon O’Connor:

Selection Record: Stood unsuccessfully for selection in Maungakiekie in 2008.

Seen as a nice fellow, a hard working volunteer for the party over the years, but not considered a rising star. O’Connor used to be a priest in training, but mysteriously left the seminary with his studies uncompleted. However, his Catholic connections will probably be popular in Tamaki. He is unmarried, so may be seen as less than settled as a choice for a conservative seat like that. Has not been a seat candidate for National before, was unsuccessful as a local board candidate for the Waitemata ward in 2010. He is a Contracts Manager for Southern Cross Health Society

The selection in Maungakiekie in 2008 was marked by extreme unethical behaviour, with O’Connor and the electorate chair trying to stack selection in O’Connor’s favour against Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga. O’Connor then went on the offensive to attack Sam on the grounds he was a councillor and could not campaign properly due to his council responsibilities. Like Brent Robinson in Rodney, O’Connor lost.

What is it with fundies and unethical selection campaigns? Maybe we need to get candidates to swear on the bible they will not be unethical during selection.

Advantages

  • None

Disadvantages

  • Unethical selection campaign in 2008 means he will never receive a positive comments from this blog.

Seby Reeves:

Selection Record: None

I have never heard of him, but who is reputedly an early 30-something lawyer, is unlikely to have upset anyone, and so could become everyone’s second choice because he hasn’t done enough to cause people to vote against him. It is unconfirmed if he has a strong party connection. He is the son of Graeme Reeves.

Advantages

  • No previous negative form in National, meaning if he presents well, works the delegate list hard and delivers the best speech on the night he has a chance.
  • People will not have formed an opinion of him, so he has a chance to convince them to vote for him in a weak field.

Disadvantages

  • Unknown in National
  • Looks like an opportunist.

Mark Thomas:

Selection Record: Successful Wellington Central 1996. (Bolger shafted him so Prebble could win the seat).

Current Orakei Board member, with a reputation for talking but not walking. Thomas has a number of negatives causing political risk to National. His work as PR stooge for Mark Hotchin would be poison to locals and a bright shiny bullseye for Labour. Thomas is unmarried with children, which won’t be popular with locals either. His becoming an MP would also trigger an expensive by-election for Auckland ratepayers, or potentially cause another round of double-dipping accusations like Sam Lotu-iiga went through. Famously knifed by Bolger in Wellington Central in 1996. Comes across as a bit effeminate.

Advantages

  • Of the known candidates Mark is the most talented and has done more good for the National Party
  • Sound strategic and political mind, and a good backroom operator
  • Will present well and speak well, with a very clear, logical message

Disadvantages

  • Too close to party president Peter Goodfellow, who has no support in Tamaki
  • Good talker, not such a good walker
  • PR man for Mark Hotchin, which will be used against him
  • To intellectual to be really liked by middle New Zealand and not great at pressing the flesh
  • Not a retail politician
  • Unfairly blamed for Melissa Lees campaign debacle, rather than being credited for the highly successful campaign for Sam Lotu-Iiga in Maungakiekie in 2008

A note for readers: The tip line has been running hot with all sorts of stories about marriage, sexuality and other personal details. I do not believe these points deserve public airing, and I also do not believe they will be factors in selection. In 1976 Marilyn Waring was outed by the Truth, but remained in parliament until 1984, with the provincial New Zealand seats of Raglan and Waipa accepting her for who she was rather than being all preachy and judgmental.

Tamaki Nominations for National

from National party press release:

The National Party has announced a shortlist of five top nominees who have put their names forward for selection as National’s Tamaki candidate in the November 26 election.

A shortened candidate selection process is taking place after the decision by Tamaki MP Allan Peachey to step down at the election.  Tamaki’s pre-selection committee met last night, while a final selection will take place on October 26.

Tamaki Electorate chair Andrew Hunt says the candidates are:

  • Denise Krum
  • Toni Millar
  • Simon O’Connor
  • Seby Reeves
  • Mark Thomas

As with all selections this blog does not take a position on who should win the selection, as delegates are smart enough to choose the best candidate most of the time.  A full profile of all candidates will be posted tomorrow.

This selection is being run very fairly, unlike others this cycle. Board members and regional chairs are not involved promoting candidates, in total breach of the ethics of their position, a position that requires complete neutrality.

Potential Tamaki candidates

Names are now starting to pop up for the rushed Tamaki selection. Names mentioned to the Whale, or mentioned in the media include:

Denise Krum – A more recently established National Party identity, Krum is struggling to make headway with some delegates, who see her as “nice, but not up to it”. Krum is 69 on National’s list, and on current polling stands a good chance of becoming a list Member of Parliament, certainly if there are some mid-term retirements anyway.

Karen Rolleston – An established National party identity, though not a resident of Tamaki, or anywhere near it, Rolleston has some X-Factor that makes her a worthy consideration for delegates. She presents well in person, though narrowly lost in Palmerston North which was not bad for a Jafa.

Alfred Ngaro – Ngaro was catapulted into the National list as one of the fresh new “diversity” faces, and will certainly be in Parliament. He was a good (but not great) candidate in the 2010 council elections, standing as a C&R candidate but losing the winnable Maungakiekie ward contest to Richard Northey. A Cook Islands Maori, Ngaro is educated, affable and presents well. Big things are expected of Ngaro, more than just a token cabinet ministry role.

Suzy Clarkson – ex Prime TV news presenter, and star of fitness videos back in the 1990s. Now reportedly working for Coca Cola as their public affairs director. Her National Party background is unknown. In this morning’s Herald, Cabinet Minister Paula Bennett is reportedly backing her, though this is not necessarily a useful thing.

D. Mark Harrison – A social media entrepeneur and Hobbit helper (he organised the marches for the Hobbit movie last year), Harrison is regularly found in the company of lingerie models and bikini pageant contestants. Fancies himself as a bit of a playboy. He would make Alasdair Thompson seem like a reasonable progressive if chosen. However, he presents well and his Kings College persona can be turned on at whim, making him a possible outside runner. His National Party background is unknown.

Aaron Bhatnagar – a friend of the Whale and established National Party identity. Missed out in Botany and Epsom. Needs more polish and some weight loss if he is to stand in another selection, but capable of being a strong MP if selected. Has been quoted as saying he is undecided about standing, and has already been the victim of an smear by the usual dark forces that congregate around Auckland National Party selections.

UPDATE: Aaron has confirmed with me today that he will NOT be seeking selection in Tamaki.

Mark Thomas – An established National Party identity and former candidate. Has a number of weaknesses that would cause National risk, including the fact he would cause a by-election if selected (he’s currently the spokesman for invisibility on the Orakei local board), comes across as effeminate, and is in a de facto relationship with his partner (Tamaki would be hostile to anything other than married). A public relations practitioner, famously once the paid PR stooge of Mark Hotchin, New Zealand’s second most hated man after Clayton Weatherston. He can’t have been that good allowing his client to be so branded. This also makes him a prime target for Labour, and would be viewed suspiciously by the St Heliers villagers who lost money in Hanover. His missus is said to be far more capable as a potential candidate.

Cameron Brewer – the rock star in the room. Is playing a media tease at the moment about his interest in Tamaki, but is the best known of the likely nominees, has a good National Party pedigree and is a monstrously effective media talent. Brewer would also cause a by-election if selected, which would no doubt have the blessing of Len Brown. Brewer is well advised by his old teammates in the National Party research unit in the Shipley years. May be seen as weak on policy by some delegates, but would probably be forgiven this as he would be incredibly effective in opposition when the Key government eventually does go out. Conceivably the only person in this lineup who could make cabinet prior to the 2014 elections, and if the whispers are correct, would.

David Williams – the ex headmaster of Saint Kentigern College around ten years ago has recently moved back to New Zealand after leading a school in Australia. His National Party background is unknown, though is well connected into the church community. Would probably have the support of the Peachey faction, who would like his strong education credentials and his socially conservative views (he is also a Presbyterian Minister). He would be expected to present very well.