Welcome Sandra!
Saturday, October 19, 2013 at 2:20PM
Bill Barclay

Anyone who thought that electing Sandra Goudie would be a cost-free exercise, with the battle weary ex-parliamentarian sinking into the torpor of post-retirement inactivity while warming one of the three Thames seats on Council, had better think again.

The two years of enforced retirement from the National ranks where her contribution was no longer required, and her absence appreciated more than has been recognised in this neck of the woods, has clearly done nothing to suppress the juices of power – she remains through and through, a political animal, and her National back-bench rump views remain attractive to a large number of our voters.

The revealing interview by Michael Dobie in the yesterday’s HH laid it bare when she revealed that she had indeed used her extensive contacts (and very likely, the National Party distribution list), to advise recipients to vote for Clyde Graf really says it all. How on earth she already knows that the incoming intake of regional councillors “has a better understanding of Thames Coromandel than the old one” is anyone’s guess.

But one thing is for sure, Ms Goudie will be making her views very clear in Council, and when those views contradict those of Mayor Glenn Leach, you may be sure that the walls will ring with unabated rhetoric. Mayor Leach may well consider that Sandra “will add strength to Council”, but he makes no mention of the run-ins he had with the same new member when they were both members of the Council back in the late nineties.

And that strength may not necessarily fit with his previous dominance - Ms Goudie will not be patronised, or lectured in the manner that has become so much a feature of his rule for the last three years. Both are A type personalities who will not give an inch, and there are plenty of potential flash points coming up.     

Of even greater interest is the likely outcome of election of Chair of the local Board.

Sandra will be part of that process, and although to my knowledge has not attended any Board meeting in order to observe Strat’s idiosyncratic style of chairmanship. She may have no idea of just how time-consuming and confusing his style can be, but she will surely be sounding out the views of others.  Connors vote will be critical, and she has shown signs of exasperation in the past which does not auger well for Strat.

Rex Simpson may challenge – he seems to have a good reputation as chair, and may well get support from Goudie, Connors and Cassidy – enough to secure it with French and Yates supporting Strat. He has indeed sharpened his act a little over recent meetings, but I doubt if it is enough to get back up, though I bet he is working the phones. I don’t think it will concern Glenn if Strat falls at this hurdle – he above all understands the need for a little realism in regard to the TUD Strategy about which Strat has invested so much of his political capital.  

Not that I am advocating for Rex Simpson for a moment – he has little understanding of the inner workings at this stage, and would be easily manipulated by the increasingly active  bureaucrats.




Article originally appeared on BillBarcBlog (http://billbarclay.co.nz/).
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