Christchurch citizens might be rocked by the time it took Jim Anderton to come to a sensible decision, but Alf is by no means surprised.
Let’s face it – Jim has been a national superannuitant for a few years now and for age reasons can be excused if he’s slowing down, although this expression of understanding by no means should be interpreted as a sign that Alf would vote for the bugger.
The important thing for the purposes of this post is that Jim has finally done it and announced he will resign his Wigram seat in Parliament if he wins next month’s mayoral election.
Anderton has just announced his new position at a press conference in Christchurch this afternoon.
Anderton has previously insisted he would stay on as an MP if elected Mayor. But he has come under pressure to change his position since the 7.1 magnitude earthquake that devastated the region last Saturday.
“The events of the last nine days have changed circumstances dramatically,” Anderton said.
As Alf understands it, the different circumstances politically are that the city faces a massive clean-up and rebuilding.
That’s a big job, calling for a full-time mayor who is willing to roll up his sleeves and pitch in, not a part-time Mayor who spends a great deal of time in Wellington.
This need for a full-timer over-rides Anderton’s pre-quake concerns that he did not want to trigger a by-election in Wigram and, bugger it, could do two jobs.
So how come Anderton took so bloody long to see the light and commit himself to being a full-time mayor?
He was asked that question on Morning Report today.
In reply he pulled the typical politician’s trick of saying a helluva lot without exactly answering the question.
But some people will support him now matter what he says or doesn’t say, and he can be comforted that he has already mustered a few votes despite his prevarication.
A bloke called Darel Hall is chairman of an outfit called The People’s Choice 2021.
Alf suspects this means that Hall foresees becoming Mayor in 2021 and is beginning his campaign real early.
Whatever the explanation, he is saying the people of Christchurch will welcome Jim Anderton’s decision to resign from parliament should the people decide they want him as mayor.
“We needed an open, transparent, inclusive Council 9 days ago, we need it now, and we need it for our future. We need to move on from the secrecy around the Hendersons, Ellerslies, sandcastle trips and the like” said Darel Hall Chairman of The People’s Choice 2021.
“This election is about the people we need to lead us in the rebuild of our city. We need the people that can shake off the secrecy and exclusion of the last three years”, he said.
“In the last nine days Jim has just got on with helping people all around Christchurch. Jim’s values, experience and wisdom will provide the leadership we need for our future”, said Darel Hall.
“Jim’s decision today shows he is ready to become the mayor we need”, said Darel Hall.
Oh, and there’s support elsewhere in Christchurch for Anderton.
It comes from a member of the 30-strong family who are bleating about feeling humiliated after being tossed out of a Christchurch welfare shelter.
The Martin family, of Shirley, were served with a trespass notice at the Addington welfare centre on Friday.
Police said family members were intimidating others and falsely claimed their houses were uninhabitable.
Mayor Bob Parker said he was “repulsed by that sort of behaviour”.
One of the family is “grandfather Noel Martin”, who told The Press he left his Mongrel Mob patch in the car when they arrived at the centre.
“Yes I’m in the gang. What’s that got to do with the state of emergency?”
Martin said Parker had “done the damage” to their family and he would be voting for Jim Anderton.
Alf is sure Grandfather Noel Martin will be able to gather more votes from the mob for Anderton.
Dunno who the boy racers will be supporting.