Brian Rudman
Brian Rudman is a Herald columnist looking at Auckland and national issues

Brian Rudman: So what comes next, Il Duce

Rugby World Cup minister Murray McCully. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Rugby World Cup minister Murray McCully. Photo / Mark Mitchell

The name of the last guy who seized power promising to make the trains run on time started with an M too.

He ended up reviled and hanging from a lamp post - but Il Duce McCully just comes across as a banana republic buffoon.

Not content with declaring himself dictator over a swathe of waterfront public space on Queens Wharf, he has also bullied the port company into giving him emergency powers over part of the working port, including the Bledisloe Wharf container terminal.

And for what?

The Friday night debacle was the perfect storm, triggered in large part by Rugby World Cup Minister Murray McCully and Prime Minister John Key's endless invites for everyone to roll up to the biggest party in the world.

They failed to ensure the venue was adequate for the crowds they lured to the waterfront.

Mix that with a public transport system totally inadequate for the task, a perfect spring day and too much alcohol, and mayhem ensued.

Early yesterday Mr McCully's officials told the Auckland Council and Ports of Auckland chiefs that Bledisloe and Captain Cook wharves should be made available for emergency crowd overflow if there were problems later in the rugby tournament. They agreed. They were stunned to hear later in the day that Mr McCully had seized power anyway.

The Auckland Council is less than a year old. It was the Government's prize creation.

In one eccentric move, Mr McCully and Mr Key have not just demonstrated their contempt for the city's leadership, they have deliberately humiliated the mayor and shown how hollow their talk of partnership was.

No one would argue that Auckland Council has to share responsibility for Friday's failings.

But so does the micro-managing minister and his team of bureaucrats who have been overseeing every step in the preparations.

With an election looming, such contemptuous arrogance should have every Aucklander wondering, what is next?

- NZ Herald

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