Christine Fletcher - Never Mind the Sex - Feel the Cloth!
Tuesday, October 22, 2013 at 11:19AM
Bill Barclay

Today's 'NZ Herald' has an excellent opinion piece by Christine Fletcher that brings a little perspective to the current imbroglio in Auckland - and don't for a moment imagine that it is all over - far from it if reports this morning are to be believed.

Ms Fletcher points to the actual failure of Len Brown to provide leadership during the last term, and the failure of governance generally. It appears that Len's favoured option when faced with an intractable problem was to form another committee or 'advisory' group where problems were able to be buried in bureaucracy and interminable 'closed-door' workshops.

Never mind the instant reaction of 'Len supporter' comments - they miss the point.

Our Council needs to be very careful during the next term for the same reason - especially if I am correct in assuming that Glenn is in the process of appointing Ms Goudie as Chair of his new 'policy' committee. Her ability to manipulate what comes before Council in this case will be substantial. The Draft District Plan will come under her purview, and I anticipate some major changes in that area reflecting her particular prejudices before the final recommendations come before the full Council. The intention was to appoint 'commissioners' to hear the submissions on the District Plan, but that may change with the formation of this Policy Committee.

Here is what Ms Fletcher had to say"

"The Long Term Funding Plan was not considered at the governing body but shunted off to the Strategy and Finance Committee, where there was an endless series of closed workshops and meetings. The mayor and chief executive were absent during most of this process.

When the plan finally appeared at the governing body it was to "rubber stamp" decisions. The council was denied the chance to "re-litigate" matters that had been resolved at Strategy and Finance."

I predict that all the 'sweetness and light' presaged in post election statements by both the Mayor and Ms (soon to be Councillor) Goudie will be short lived as the rubber hits the road. This position as Chair of Policy is set to be become the second most powerful on Council, and Ms Goudie is destined to take full advantage to enhance her status prior to the 2016 Election, and position herself for a run at the likely Eastern Waikato Unitary Authority Chair - just a prediction, but based on some close observation of events. Mayor Leach may have finely honed political skills in his armoury, but he is a mere tyro when placed in the same ring as Ms Goudie.

Returning almost the entire raft of previous councillors does not necessarily ensure that the apparent 'harmony' amongst its members will assuredly continue into the next term.  As they say - watch this space!



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