Mike Williams: Poor turnout a vote for Brown

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Len Brown handily won the first SuperCity mayoralty and hasn't put a foot wrong since. Photo / NZ Herald
Len Brown handily won the first SuperCity mayoralty and hasn't put a foot wrong since. Photo / NZ Herald

The low participation in the Auckland local elections can be seen as a tribute to two men; foundation Mayor Len Brown and SuperCity architect Mark Ford.

The punters do come out to vote in numbers if the issues are there.

Politics enthusiasts will recall the 1992 Auckland regional elections, when selling the port was a hot topic and turnout spiked, electing the far-left but cuddly Bruce Jesson as chair of the trust that inherited regional assets.

Len Brown handily won the first SuperCity mayoralty and hasn't put a foot wrong since.

The Government now accepts, and will contribute to, Len's centrepiece policy, the multi-billion dollar city rail loop, and despite his long-term Labour Party membership, he's become a respected voice in Wellington.

He's brought his Labour values to the top table, too, as many mums and dads will tell you on a stinking hot Auckland day when they take their kids to the free swimming centres pioneered by Len and Sir John Walker.

The very absence of divisive issues is also a tribute to Mark Ford, who led the Auckland Transition Agency, which set up the SuperCity.

His plan has rolled out flawlessly.

Mark faced flak recently for taking on too much as chair of troubled Solid Energy and leadership of the group overseeing the Christchurch infrastructure rebuild, on top of his day job as chief executive of Watercare Services.

This criticism underestimates the energy and intelligence of the man.

I met an old mate at Napier Airport a week or two ago.

She was assisting a delegation from Internal Affairs investigating local body amalgamation in Hawke's Bay.

It looks like Len and Mark have been so successful the Auckland experience is catching.

- Herald on Sunday

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