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Sunday
Apr172016

To Stand, Or Not To Stand

Will she or won't she? - that is the question. The time is rapidly approaching when Sandra Goudie will have to gauge the depth of support for a mayoral challenge in more tangible ways than has happened to date.

There is a perception in the boondocks that with Leach's more than tacit support French has it all sewn up, and that it is all all over Red Rover.

That is not my perception. I think even the most sanguine of National Party supporters will be having conniptions at the thought of Leach-Lite Pete being in control, and so close to supervision from across the road.

There are plenty out there who have indicated to me that the thought horrifies them. Simply too much has been undertaken over the past six years that sets in place a pattern of spending that must eventually come home to roost, French has shown no sign of either understanding the implications, nor the limitations of the brief to which he may be entitled in the event he is elected.

Peter is certainly Mr Nice Guy at a great number of clubs around this town, and he has been very successful at cultivating those generations that devote the majority of their spare time to sporting activities. But the most important, and numerous cohort are the elderly whose resources are limited through circumstances, and whose concerns regarding our Council's activities are activated with every press release announcing a new move in whatever direction that may eventually alter their rates. The Zoom Zone Dry Court is a perfect example.

These releases simply do  not equate with premature claims of 2% rate increases in the coming year - deftly timed to avoid accusations of having been politically motivated, and before the pre-Election embargo on politically motivated releases comes into effect.

And the Long-Term Plan does not tell the full story - the elderly are not convinced about the ability to retain such an artificially contrived increase. These people have been burnt with the results of extravagant projects such as the Eastern Seaboard Wastewater Scheme in the past, and in the main are not impressed by Leach's claims of relentless rectitude when it is perfectly obvious that the opposite is the case.

The departure of Hammond, and other well hidden ructions within the organisation will not have gone unnoticed, and I for one detect a real concern regarding the future direction of elected officers given the likely attempt by the majority to return to control the levers of power for another three-plus years.

I have never spoken to Sandra about her possible challenge, and I have never voted for her in the past. It is only over the last 12 months that I have grown to respect her knowledge and input into Council affairs. She was the only one to stand up to Leach on countless occasions when he was attempting to drive through policy changes that many of us thought ill-judged, and potentially hazardous to the future finances of the Council.

These were mainly in the area of economic development on which he has vision, but in which he demonstrated extremely limited understanding of long-term consequences. The Coromandel Heritage Region was a prime example, and the Coromandel Habour Project is another which is about to come undone. French has supported him every inch of the way. and in addition was one of the prime movers behind the late and un-lamented Thames Town Centre Development Plan.

All these wonderful plans have of course come at a cost regardless of implementation - all have expensive consultant reports behind them that must be paid for, even if they fall flat on their face.

His support for fin-fish farming was a disaster about which we have heard very little over recent months. In fact, nearly all his economic development projects have come apart at the seams, and his unelected Economic Development Committee has proven to be an expensive exercise in undemocratic policy determination. Sandra has at all times demonstrated a distaste for this particular Leach creation.

On the other hand, Sandra has at all stages intelligently questioned the adopted wisdom in regard to the District Plan Committee, and has proven to have far greater insight and understanding of the needs and challenges facing the future of the District than any other sitting member.

Her recent questioning of the utterly 'Mickey Mouse' processes adopted to purchase and implement a the first stages of a completely new multi-million dollar IT system for the Council pointed very clearly to the experience that she had gained in Parliament. Every protest she made was right on the mark despite the protestations of Cr Fox (Chair of Audit) and Acting CEO Ben Day.

I am satisfied that whatever the misgivings of previous opponents of Sandra that she has demonstrated the skills necessary to get this District back on an even keel. She will need strong support around the table in order to achieve this, and therefore every manifesto of every candidate should be examined very closely to ensure that she will not be frustrated in that endeavour.

Should Sandra see fit to stand, I will support her to the hilt as I am entitled to do an an independent blogger. I will express my opinion on Council candidates in due course when their intentions have become clearer- some, but no means all of the existing contingent are worthy of a further term in my opinion.

I claim the right to exercise judgement in that regard in the light of the fact that I am the only representative from any media apart from one intermittent radio attendee, to attend every Council meeting over the past six years. Councils, and the behaviour of mayors in particular must be consistently observed in my opinion in order to be able to pass judgement of any kind.  It remains to be seen whether one recent attendee from the Waikato Times will see fit to repeat her experience. 

'One Swallow does not herald Spring!'

 

 

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Reader Comments (3)

Thought provoking blog there William. Sandra certainly has been a breath of fresh air around the Council table, bringing a little bit of restraint to the mumblings of the Mayor and his side kick of a Deputy.
Dare I mentioned the fact that the previous incumbant was what we may call a disaster, stemming mainly from fear of rejection and a lack of confidence in her own ability which in turn caused Phillippa to make some very foolish utterances and equally stupid decisions.
The current Mayor also seems to have some trouble in being accepted by his peers as did Phillippa.
Sandra, on the other hand, has the ability to cut to the quick and sort the wheat from the chaff. The District needs a Mayor that leads by example, not one that bullies elected members and staff. This Council has made one excellent decision this term with the appointment of the new CEO. We, the voting public now need to put in place a Mayor that will work hand in hand with the CEO , staff and elected members and work through the challenges ahead [and there will be plenty by the time these witless Councillors have finished their current tenure around the table].
Go Sandra I say and many of us here support you all the way.

April 18, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJoan of Arc

Hell's bells --if French [Frog] is the answer could some body please reframe the question.
This man is the Mayors pet poodle, woof, woof.

April 18, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterBeach Bum

Actually, I would say that if Goudie were elected not much would change. She always wants desperately to be in charge and would only be interested in poodle Councillors. Historically, the standard of TCDC Councillors has been very poor so finding enough poodles would be pretty easy. Anyone else will be left out on a limb and ostracised just like leach has done to her.

So it would be de jevue.

And in some respects things would be even worse - we should dread for example where Goudie would lead the District with regard to planning including the District Plan where she has shown herself to be the leader of an interest group that is a party to the proceedings where there is a lot of money at stake.

April 19, 2016 | Unregistered Commenterthe truth hurts

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