Friday, August 16, 2019

A real mayoral race

Last local body elections, the race for Palmerston North mayor was pretty boring - basicly being the incumbent rugby meathead vs the convicted child-beater. As a result, 1500 people (including myself) simply left that part of the ballot paper blank (vs less than 300 for the council elections). The good news is that this time, we have some actual competition. And the race has had a surprising last-minute entry from the Green Party:

The Greens have put action on climate change centre stage for Palmerston North's mayoral election, endorsing activist Teanau Tuiono as their candidate.

The party two months ago chose incumbent councillor Brent Barrett and newcomer Renee Dingwall as council candidates, pitching Tuiono for mayor on Friday, the day nominations close.


[Tuiono] said he would stand up to tackle climate change, putting in place a local plan to prepare for the changes expected, and do what was possible to reduce effects on the environment.

This is good, both for electoral competition, and because its good to see a candidate focusing on what is really the only policy issue in town. Yes, Palmerston North is 10m above sea-level, so things have to get pretty bad before we're going to be drowned. But climate change is also going to mean floods and severe weather, which local authorities need to prepare for. More importantly, there's the need to reduce emissions to stop all that from happening, and that's something which requires leadership at all levels.

(Its also good to see the Greens running strong local body campaigns, and hopefully it'll pay off both in elected councillors and in a higher general election vote. Though, there's no-one running for Horizons carrying the Green banner, which is odd given that they decide both water quality and air pollution - which will mean CO2 if the government keeps its promises and puts climate change back in the RMA.

But its not all good news: because this time, we have not one, but two convicted child abusers running for mayor (child-beater Ross Barber is back, and he's joined by convicted child sex abuser Maruna "donut man" Engu). I guess Palmerston North is really living up to its reputation for quality mayoral candidates...