Mayoral Race FOMO – a tale of two cities

Guest writer Michelle Rush notices a thing or two about local mayoral candidates…



This week I’ve been in Auckland to watch my daughter compete at the swimming nationals.

It’s entailed some serious driving, in serious traffic, my envious eyes on serious busways with really big double deckers screaming past the parking lot that was me in my car with thousands of others in theirs on the Northern motorway.

I had even more envy for the serious cycling infrastructure where the properly separated paths are actually wide enough to ride on.

I engaged in lots of serious walking, because unlike Wellington’s compact centre, Auckland’s centre’s pretty vast. And so I huffed and puffed up the hills and endured the nutters (of the young mostly male variety) on lime scooters shouting and weaving dangerously past the hundreds of others filling the footpaths in and around the Queen Street canyon.

Auckland is where I grew up.

It’s a colourful place. It always has been. And this week I found that extends to its Mayoral race too.

Colourful, see


I sat down with my sister after dinner when she pulled out her voting papers and began reading the candidate statements for Mayor out loud. I was intrigued and then overcome with a serious case of FOMO. For Wellington’s reasoned, reasonable and eternally polite mayoral candidates fade to beige against the riot of colour that is the Auckland Mayoral line up. Here’s a wee taste:

Cheel will STOP trashing your planet… just beware that native birds will be STOPped too when she abolishes 1080 (can someone remind me when 1080 became the responsibility of Auckland’s Mayor?)

Oh, and Vaughan also intends stopping 1080. Along with Roundup and 5G. And he’s promising multi-storey car parks.

Coote is standing for “strict racial equality for us all.” Reading on and it becomes obvious he’s great mates with dear old Don Brash.

Feist, and his new political party “Lift NZ” will abolish Auckland’s Urban Fence and allow Auckland to grow to be three times the size of Greater London – not just twice its size as it is now. He also thinks this can be achieved without rate hikes. Not sure where he’s magicking the infrastructure from.

Heneti likes facts and tells us that she is “outstanding and awesome.” Her qualifications include the Landmark Forum and being a John Kehoe Mind Powers Quantum Leap Graduate.

Maddern’s platform is Plastic Roads. Evening Classes. Fares Linked to Inflation.  He’s silent on where the evening classes fit in.

Nguyen says “Let’s unfurl our great votes and resolutions for Auckland.”

Sainsbury, a.k.a Fiona the Wine Reviewer aims to ban plastic straws, observing that “not only are glass ones better for the environment. They also help with wine-drinking so that you don’t get lipstick on your teeth.”

Vermunt, from the Communist League draws inspiration from Cuba “It is possible for working people to take political power and uproot capitalist exploitation,” she says. But what about the aftermath? On this matter, she is silent.

Young’s ten policies are literally Houses x 7 and Flats x 3.

And if you’re pining for the days before PC madness, then Snelgar is your man: He “grew up on Struggle Street” and promises he won’t tell Aucklanders how to think or act.

There were some others that either seemed perfectly nice, and /or did offer a semblance of coherence in their election platforms. Just not remarkable.

Until, at last, shining like a beige beacon was A Name: Phil Goff. Safe, sensible, sound and dare I say it, Beige. With a sigh of relief, my sister had found somewhere to put her tick.


Image credits

  • Cover image by Sustainable Business Network
  • Auckland by Fiona Whyte

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