The right’s candidate for mayor isn’t remotely ready to be mayor of a super city.

If you’re going to stand for political office the minimum requirements must surely include some rationale for your candidacy. You want to do the job because you see a job needing doing. You need to have something sensible to say about topical issues and some guide to what you expect to do in office. 

If you don’t have these minimum contributions to debate, then your candidacy is pointless. 

An onerous duty of political commentary is the requirement to read the sources, and so I visited Victoria Crone’s website  to see what she plans for Auckland, only to find my low expectations wildly overestimated. There’s about as much substance here as Kanye West’s run for president. She wants to ‘Create Win-Win Situations’, ‘Empower People’ and ‘Lead From A Place of strength’; as if she’s running against a candidate who wants to lose, take power away from you, and be a weak leader.

Beneath the blandly moronic motivational platitudes  - “I believe anything is possible! (insert emoji) - she lists ‘Issues’: B is for ‘Housing', C is for ‘Transport’. Maybe they’ve changed Sesame Street since I was young.

These summaries reveal a candidate unprepared for office, lacking vision, and free from any meaningful communication of useful ideas. I know from experience it’s tough to run for office and you expose yourself to criticism. But given Victoria has the National party machine behind her, she should have been more prepared, and they should have thought this through.

Take ‘A' for 'Fiscal Management’. Correctly observing that many billions of dollars are needed to meet Auckland’s infrastructure needs, while funding sources like rates and debt are constrained, she offers: "few alternative sources of funding have been secured. This is a major problem for our city to solve, amidst perceptions of wastage in council spending.” Yes it’s a problem, so, what would you do, candidate? Reject new spending plans? Borrow more? Are you ruling out rate increases? Will you raise rates just a teeny bit? New taxes? Tolls? Privatising infrastructure?

Not even a hint of an idea, let alone a fresh one. That’s what makes the platitudes a problem. If you can't answer these most basic of questions about your political principles, you have no place pretending you could lead a major city. 

Then you come to ‘D’ Stands For Jobs.

Go here, and click on the Jobs tag to the left.

It comes up with a summary of her ideas: Jobs. Not Found. 

For most candidates I would concede ‘a missing website link is a  simple error’, but it’s hard when the sole justification advanced for her candidacy is that she had some involvement in an Internet company.

And yet she blames technology for unemployment. How else to interpret this Luddite miasma:

"In half a century from 1961, the workforce employed in manufacturing fell from 36% to 8% while employment in services grew from 49% to 81%. We need to make sure Auckland has the jobs, skills and conversations needed to transition to future jobs as automation and machines continue to automate our current jobs."

The suggestion that technology is taking jobs is the kind of simplistic analysis you used to hear your parents say. But if you think technology is taking jobs in Auckland, you don’t have the skills to be mayor of a super city. 

In the 50 years since 1961, many thousands of new manufacturing jobs have been created in Auckland, and many thousands more in other sectors. One of the main reasons for this, and for an associated increase in real incomes, has been increasing productivity as a result of technology.  Creating jobs is complex, and vital. Simplistic scapegoating of simple villains, like machines or immigrants, means you don’t have real ideas about what to do. 

Victoria Crone looks to me like someone who is running a profile-raising campaign for mayor as a way of gaining a council seat, who has been put up to a job she is not up to, by people who are desperate to find someone, anyone, to stand against Phil Goff. Genuinely qualified candidates won’t stand because they know they’ll lose. Victoria possibly believes that ‘anything is possible’, and anyone who dreams of being mayor can be. But it doesn’t mean she is equipped for the job. She isn’t. She is an ill-prepared candidate out of her depth, who thinks machines are taking our jobs.

Comments (13)

by Ross on December 15, 2015

Correctly observing that many billions of dollars are needed to meet Auckland’s infrastructure needs, while funding sources like rates and debt are constrained

Why are rates constrained? This year, rates increased by almost 10% in Auckland, notwithstanding that inflation is under 1%. In some parts, rates increases were 15% or more. Oh and it doesn't take much skill to hike rates, just a little chutzpah when you've promised a modest increase to rates.

by Alan Johnstone on December 15, 2015
Alan Johnstone

As I read the website yesterday I was wondering if it was an early draft that had been released early due to a technical snafu.

It was totally lacking in content, the issues and policies link doesn't go anywhere. There is no policy at all. No position on transport, no council assets, infrastructure, intensification. It's a blank canvas. It's worse than John Palino.


by Alan Johnstone on December 15, 2015
Alan Johnstone

She whines about staff numbers increasing by 2.3% last year, she says "I don't think it's okay". 

She ignores the fact that the population of Auckland increased by 3% in the previous year, so the actual ratio of council employees relative to population fell, during a time a large investment and capital works.

Amateur stuff really 

by Tim Watkin on December 15, 2015
Tim Watkin

I was going to post something rather similar Josie, so will limit myself to comments. How can you launch without any sense of policy, let alone vision. "Listening" is political code for 'nothing to say'. Whether because she hasn't done the work, fears her views are unpalatable or is going to be entirely poll-driven is unknown. But the whole metaphor of 'launching' involves a platform, and it's nuts she doesn't have one.

by Tim Watkin on December 15, 2015
Tim Watkin

To be fair Alan, Goff reckons staff numbers are too high as well.

by Alan Johnstone on December 15, 2015
Alan Johnstone

He might be right, but I'm pretty certain he'd have a reason for thinking that and be able to give meaningful stats / comparisons to back it up and not an empty "I don't think this is ok"

What's this obsession with people earning $100k anyway?

It's not remotely a large wage; have you seen the price of houses in Auckland? 


by Ross on December 15, 2015

How can you launch without any sense of policy, let alone vision?

Ah, yes, vote Phil Goff for a better Auckland. Now that's really inspiring!

by onsos on December 15, 2015

Who is Victoria Crone?


The most I've heard from her that gives any insight at all is that she is boosting driverless cars, and she is being boosted by National.


If someone this unknown is the Great Right Hope for Auckland, they have problems.

by Josie Pagani on December 15, 2015
Josie Pagani

Tim and Alan - I agree!

John McTernan pointed out that when people say they want politicians to 'listen more', what they really mean is they want them to DO more. Either they don't think they're doing enough, or they think they're doing the wrong things. The last thing anyone wants is to be listened to by a politician with a tilted head of compassion and a glazed look in their eyes. Tell us what you'll do, and we'll decide whether to vote for you - or not.


by Murray Grimwood on December 15, 2015
Murray Grimwood

So far, comments of a predictable yin/yang kind.

Josie is wrong re machines and 'productivity' (a much-trotted-out buzz-word which few challenge).

There are no cloth-cap blue-collar workers pedalling home after the 4.30 hooters. They're gone. Displaced. I've watched it happen in my lifetime. What wasn't automated, went to China. Anyone want to compete, wage-wise?

Productivity is often obfuscated by 'money' being introduced to the equation, and money is not a complete measure of anything. Real productivity is 'per energy unit' - a measure of efficiency. Beyond that, it's smoke, mirrors and inflation (kinetic or potential).

Goff is the last of the grey-suited Rogernomes; a blast from the past. Better than the Right by a smidge, but it's a pointless differentiation in light of the 'peak energy; peak wealth; peak debt; peak capex.........

Which is why we're seeing global interest-rates trending to zero, and below. Why we're seeing debt-funded everything reduce - including 'investment' in energy. Which underwrites everything.

So whichever candidate 'wins', they'll be between a rock and a hard place. Ratepayers braying for less cost, incomes plummeting in real terms, angst, aging infrastructure.....    Not a position to envy, between now and 2020 or so

by Nick Gibbs on December 15, 2015
Nick Gibbs

Victoria Crone's website is rubbish. I guess it's still under construction. Phil Goff's is just a digital billboard. No policy or content there, just the usual platitudes. Deciding on the best candidate will have to wait until both talk about how they'll improve Auckland. Of course those with a political axe to grind don't need to bother with policy. Their decision is already made.

by Tim Watkin on December 16, 2015
Tim Watkin

Nick, you're right that Goff doesn't have much more than platitudes... except it is clear he is anti port expansion, won't sell "strategic assets" and is committed to light rail and more busways. He's also said he's open to getting some housing on golf courses.

But of course the more important point is that he's got 30 years of public service so that voters "know" him. Of course he's changed direction a few times, to rogernome and away again. So maybe that's not such a good point! But what seems clear is that he plans to continue the Brown project, just with new, more acceptable packaging.

by Stewart Hawkins on December 16, 2015
Stewart Hawkins

The elected representatives of Auckland do not seem to represent the people paying for either Auckland or their own jobs. Rodney Hide cocked up the Super City big time and simply enabled socialist candidates to rule over a larger area than previously whilst shafting the productive workers and letting the beneficiaries ti the balance to decide who should be their leaders. Crone probably isn't qualified but Goff, really(?), is he even the best candidate the left can produce? He could probably run for National right now. Bland Bland Bland.

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