Today I donned my best suit (‘only’ suit), a pressed shirt, and some newly polished shoes, and headed to the Wellington Chamber of Commerce.
My mission: to hear the mayoral candidates for Wellington espouse their vision for the city.
Here are the list of candidates in case you didn’t already know:
Kerry Prendergast (incumbent)
I’m not sure what I expected to see – perhaps some passion, some real vision, some intelligence, some wit, some humour, some semblance of compassion for constituents…
What I saw and heard was a lot of tired, predictable sloganeering. No-one inspired me to vote for them.
John McGrath looked good but his main point it seemed to me was a desire to ban smoking in public parks, and to put Wellington tourism on the map – last time I looked we were the #4 capital in the world…we’re doing pretty damn good…do we need to be any better? It might help his bar and restaurant businesses, but probably not me.
Kerry Prendergast surprised me with her defensiveness – almost to the point of being aggressive. It wasn’t particularly endearing.
There are a few triers running again: Helene Ritchie, Bryan Pepperell, Ray Ahipene-Mercer, Rob Goulden and Jack Ruben are all old dogs with no new tricks.
Paul Bailey was by far the second best speaker – clear, concise, well structured answers, seemed like he knew what he believed, and what he wanted to say, without looking at and reading his notes. The downside is he didn’t introduce himself, and I’m still none the wiser as to who he is or where he has come from. (If anyone knows please post a comment)
Nick Kelly from the Workers Party won hands down on the passion and vision stakes – it’s unfortunate that I don’t subscribe to his beliefs (totally) – he was entertaining but a little patronised by his colleagues on the floor. He supports Transmission Gully – that has to win him 100 votes at least.
The other Nick, Nick Wang was by his own admission “Made in China” but the assured the audience he was good quality. He is best known as the journalist who was prevented from attending a photo opportunity for visiting Chinese Vice-Premier Zeng Peiyan back in April of this year.
Carl Gifford, the man who started the sculpture park down by the Happy Valley Landfill, amused the punters with his vision of a luge and themepark centred around the dump. He’s right that the South Coast is untapped – so much more could be made of that area – but it’s a small soapbox on which to vote him in as mayor.
What we need is a machine that can grab the little bit that’s good out of each of these candidates and join them together as one uber candidate – at the moment though none of them inspire me…
I have to vote, I want to vote, but I’m having trouble deciding.