Super City elections: Good luck - hope you lose

By Elizabeth Binning

Auckland Super City mayoral candidates John Banks (left) and Len Brown were all smiles at the Auckland Town Hall yesterday. Photo / Dean Purcell
Auckland Super City mayoral candidates John Banks (left) and Len Brown were all smiles at the Auckland Town Hall yesterday. Photo / Dean Purcell

As Super City mayoral candidates John Banks and Len Brown meet at a final mayoral lunch yesterday, they shook hands, joked for the cameras and acted like old friends.

The two men were playing nice, wishing each other the best of luck, saying all the right things and smiling and laughing at each other's jokes.

Asked what it was like to be standing next to each other at the end of a very long and hard campaign Mr Banks jumped right in.

"I think it's a wonderful privilege for both of us," he said.

"I think it's been a hard-fought campaign - Len's a good bloke and I've wished him well."

He said there had been "no real animosity", but it had been "a long, difficult, hard-fought campaign".

In a rare moment of unity Mr Brown said, "all I can say is I'm sick of making political speeches and I agree with everything he said."

Then both men started laughing like old friends sharing a joke.

But today, as the votes are counted and the Auckland Council's first mayor is elected, the laughter will be gone as one of the men has his hopes dashed. The other will claim victory and be left to consider whether their opponent should get a job within the new council.

A week ago, Mr Brown said that if he won the mayoralty, he would consider offering Mr Banks a corporate role in the Super City.

But Mr Banks said he would not offer Mr Brown a position because he was "not up to the job".

He added if he could find a role for Mr Brown, it would not be a leadership role because we "don't want South Auckland replicated across the rest of Auckland. His city is a social disaster."

Yesterday a tired looking Mr Banks appeared to have reconsidered this comment, which upset many voters in the South.

Asked if either would find a place for the other in the new council, Mr Brown said: "We've answered that question so many times".

Mr Banks said: "My answer to that is yes. In the heat of campaigns you can say things but, as I said, Len's a good bloke and if he wins he'll do a good job and if I'm successful I'll give it my very best shot. That's how it works."

The two candidates say they will be out "rounding up the last votes" this morning before returning to their bases - Mr Banks at the Town Hall and Mr Brown at One Tree Hill's Sorrento in the Park.

- NZ Herald

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