Alas, the questions that need asking about Jim Anderton’s mayoralty prospects may not get an airing

Alf is more than a tad miffed.

It seems the buggers who decide these things have agreed we won’t have Question Time in Parliament tomorrow.

Alf picked up the news from Radio NZ, in an item about the PM cancelling his trip to Europe to stay at home and deal with the aftermath of the Canterbury earthquake.

Question Time in Parliament on Wednesday has also been cancelled.

MPs from across the House agree its usual combative style is inappropriate following Saturday’s earthquake.

This has left Alf puzzled as well as miffed.

He has been in Pahiatua, inspecting the flood damage there, but he raced back to Wellington in a style The Stig would admire for today’s sitting of the House.

Today is Tuesday. So do we have Question Time today?

Or has that become a victim of the bloody earthquake, too?

Alf is especially keen to quiz the Minister of Local Government about the quake, or rather, about an aspect of the quake that is relevant to the local Government portfolio.

He wants to know what the Minister thinks about the idea of delaying the Christchurch local body elections because of the earthquake.

He is aware that the mayoralty campaigns of incumbent Bob Parker and Wigram MP Jim Anderton are on hold, and –

Christchurch returning officer Clare Sullivan said the Tuam St building scheduled to process postal votes had been damaged. Delaying the October 9 elections was “a possibility”.

Alf then would ask about the online from the prediction market iPredict showing Parker’s chances of winning another term have leapt from between 8 and 16 per cent before the quake to 40 per cent immediately after.

Anderton’s hopes took a hit after the quake. The iPredict website had him polling in the 80s leading up to the weekend, but there was a dip to the low 60s throughout Saturday, lifting to 69 per cent yesterday.

Parker, who has been praised for his efforts in helping to co-ordinate the city’s response to the disaster, said yesterday: “Right now, the priority is doing the job I’m paid to do.”

Anderton said he would take “one day at a time”.

“Nobody would dare try to make political capital out of a situation like this.”

Alf is willing to say that if it were him, chasing the Christchurch mayoralty, he would certainly try to make political capital out of the situation.

He has observed that Anderton and his staff are running his electorate office from his home address in 286A Selwyn Street because of quake damage to the building where the office is housed.

Anyone requiring assistance should ring Jim at home or on his cellphone (03 366 9628 or 021 777 680) until business returns to normal, whenever that is.

Actually, it looks like it’s Anderton who needs assistance.

Blogger Tim Watkins is among those who don’t think much of his chances in the qftermath of the quake.

Alf is also aware of reports that Anderton told CTV on Friday it would take an earthquake for him to lose the election race against incumbent mayor Bob Parker.

Fair to say, there is more than a little doubt about him actually saying this.

But dammit, that’s what Question Time is all about – trying to get to the bottom of these things.

Alf is sure we would get the real oil on these matters from the Honourable Rodney Hide. Or is that a line for a Tui ad?

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