“Media personality Bill Ralston said he planned to stand as an independent in the Waitemata and Gulf ward. He did not think aligning himself with one group was positive.
"I wish them well. There are some really sensible people around that ticket," he said.”
The Waitemata and Gulf Ward has three local boards and one Councillor. The local boards are Waitemata (Central Auckland), Waiheke and Great Barrier Island.
For the last five years the ward has been represented by the economically illiterate Councillor Mike Lee. Mike Lee has been one of Brown’s biggest fans and has been well rewarded for his support. He receives $53,300pa for his directorship of Auckland Transport on top of his $101,900 Councillor’s pay package. It was the casting vote of Mike Lee that tipped the balance in favour of the 9.9% rates increase. This puts Lee at the top of the Terrible Ten hit list.
Lee is a Trade Union man through and through, which means he knows everything about how to ‘oppose’ and nothing about how to get things done. Take his areas of responsibility, central Auckland and transport. He was described as Captain Omni-Shambles by Whaleoil over his inability to deliver crowd control and safe transport for the Rugby World Cup in Auckland in 2011
Lee, who has been ultimately responsible for transport improvements, waterfront upgrades and the Ports Ownership for much of the last 6 years has much to answer for this massive omni-shambles.
It was he who prevaricated and dithered over Queens Wharf for most of 2009 and 2010.
It was he who was responsible for the performance of rail for the last 6 years (taking credit whenever he could, so suck it up now that it failed)
It was he who presided over the pillage of the Ports of Auckland for dividends that put them to the brink of financial ruin.
It was he who has been on the the supercity council and the Auckland Transport Board for the last 10 months, focusing on pie in the sky rail projects Auckland can’t afford instead of the greatest sporting event coming to Auckland.
If there was ever a single person most responsible for the omni-shambles in downtown Auckland on Friday night it is Mike Lee.
As far as Waiheke is concerned Lee has been worse than useless. He has done nothing to further infrastructure for Waiheke in the six years he has been our Councillor. His only input over the last six years has been to waste tens of thousands of our money on his failed personal vendettas against he Spencer family, one of the biggest employers on the island. His lawyer was Ron Walden, father of Local Board Chair Paul Walden.
Would Ralston be any better? I know for certain he couldn’t be any worse than Lee. Ralston holds a political science degree and had always been interested in politics, covering it as a journalist for years. He served on the Northcote Borough Council in the 1970s. He would be standing as an independent. His radio show is popular. His views could best be described as middle of the road.
However, this is all speculation. It is by no means certain that Lee will stand for re-election. The rumour is that Shale Chambers, Chair of the Waitemata Local Board, has ambitions to be the next Councillor and eventually Mayor. Chambers has solid Labour ancestry in Auckland. If he also has the backing of the Party then it is curtains for Lee.
Labour is looking to refresh its tarnished image under the disastrous Len Brown. Lee is tainted as Brown’s henchman so Labour might well be seeking to put him out to pasture with some well paid, do nothing, sinecure. At least he has the credentials for that.