Monday, October 11, 2010

Swings to the Left? (1)

An interesting round of local body results at the weekend in New Zealand: Len Brown has become the first mayor of Auckland Super City, while in Wellington it's possible that Green party member Celia Wade-Brown could pip has beaten Kerry Prendergast on special votes.

This hardly constitutes a massive swing to the left: Brown seems like a pragmatic centrist, while Wade-Brown has acknowledged that the knife-edge result doesn't give her a huge mandate and she will need to work with others on the council. However, it does a) make the New Zealand political situation a little more complicated and interesting and b) it provides some impetus for important public transport projects in both cities.

The push back has started already, with John Key and Steven Joyce doing their best to deflate expectations about expansion of inner-city rail in Auckland or new public transport. Gordon Campbell has the usual good coverage of the new central government-local government dynamic.

Meanwhile, the Dominion Post on the day after Wade-Brown's count back victory was confirmed ran with the rather extraordinary headline: "Wellington goes green and fluffy". Isn't there some kind of journalistic tradition of at least outward respect to a newly elected political leader? There's already been two stories about how she prefers to walk or cycle to work and may not want to use the mayoral Audi very much. Human interest pieces, or working up to the "she's a wierdo who wants to take away you cars" angle. Time will tell.

Of course, as Obama will tell you, these days it's pretty hard to undertake even the most timid reforms without provoking the corporate media to scream that you're a radical socialist who will enslave poor hard-working rich people. For comparison, here's an interesting story in the Globe and Mail arguing that big business and media systematically undermined a social democratic government in Ontario in the 1990s.


soph said...

Totally agree. I love the fact that she rides her bike and all, but by day 3 after the results I was dying to hear something ELSE about Celia Wade-Brown.

nicol said...

Disculpa que te escriba como un comentario...
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Muchas Gracias por tu tiempo...
Un saludo.