Sunday, May 09, 2010

Jim Anderton: Wrong and stupid

Today, Jim Anderton formally announced his bid for the Christchurch mayoralty. That's good for Christchurch - their current mayor, Sideshow Bob, is in bed with developers and backed the overthrow of ECan. But Anderton spoiled his announcement with this:

Anderton said he wasn't going to resign his seat if he was elected mayor because he didn't want to cause a by-election that would cost about $600,000 and wouldn't be held until early next year anyway.

"A few months of parliamentary representation is not worth $600,000 of public money," he said.

"I would not accept two salaries and would donate the higher mayoral salary to local voluntary organisations."

This is simply wrong, and Anderton's offer to donate his salary doesn't make it any less so. The people of Christchurch deserve their mayor's full attention. Likewise, the people of Wigram and those who voted Progressive last election deserve their MP's full attention. While Anderton says he can cope with both jobs, no-one will believe that, and if he is elected, someone will feel shortchanged. As for his misplaced sense of frugality, screw the money. It's democracy, and you pay whatever it costs to deliver it.

But in addition to being wrong, its also stupid. Who wants half a mayor, or one with an eye on Wellington as well as Christchurch? Anderton has just given people a solid reason not to vote for him. And in an election where its so vital to unseat the incumbent, that is a mistake the left cannot afford to make.