Nick Rockel: When the public’s important at election time, but not in an emergency

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Flooding on the corner of Seabrooke and Margan avenues in New Lynn
Flooding on the corner of Seabrooke and Margan avenues in New Lynn last night. Image: Josie Campbell/RNZ/Nick's Kōrero

COMMENTARY: By Nick Rockel in Tāmaki Makaurau

The weather is all over the show, the storm water system clearly hopelessly inadequate, the house prices are insane, the public transport is crap — and I bloody love the place.

It’s Auckland Anniversary weekend. Tomorrow is the actual day of the anniversary and it is recognised with a public holiday on the closest Monday.

A Google search finds it described thus: “Residents don’t just celebrate the origins of Auckland but the diverse culture of the region by celebrating with warm days, clear skies, carnivals, concerts, and more.”

Seems like a bad joke really, right at the moment, doesn’t it? Still at least Auckland mayor Wayne Brown is on the job.

“My role isn’t to rush out with buckets.” – Wayne Brown

Oh.

Well, that is an interesting response from the mayor, still let’s give him the benefit of the doubt.

To be fair I’d rather he was ensuring people got the information, and the support they needed, than have him rocking up to where people are being rescued using things like jet skis with a mop and bucket.

At 9.30pm last night, councillor Josephine Bartley tweeted: “You just have to look online to see the chaos out there. No need to wait. Declare state of emergency.”

'I couldn't act sooner'. Mayor Brown
“I couldn’t act sooner” . . . Auckland mayor Wayne Brown. Image: Screenshot NR

Let’s leave the timing of the state of emergency declaration, you can find an excellent summary of events and communications at the Spinoff here: Where’s mayor Wayne Brown?

Floodwaters sweep away a building on Candia Road in Henderson Valley
Floodwaters sweep away a building on Candia Road in Henderson Valley. Image: Felicity Reid/RNZ/Nick’s Kōrero

Let’s also park that the primary concern from Wayne Brown seemed to be defending himself. I’m quite interested in the last line, no doubt clearly crafted by Mayor Hooton. Sorry, I mean Mayor Brown.

“This is not something that you just respond to because of a clamour from the public.”

That is an interesting point of view to take in an emergency. Apparently Mayor Brown does not see it as his role, even in an emergency, to respond to the clamour from the public.

The public, aka voters, are important — at election time. But let’s be honest once Hooton and Brown have flogged off the assets for short term gain, and cut services creating long term pain, I imagine Mayor Brown will disappear never to be heard from again.

For now the public clamour is no doubt an irritation.

Nick Rockel is a “Westie Leftie with five children, two dogs, and a wonderful wife”. He is the publisher of Nick’s Korero where this article was first published under the title “We need the rain to stop”. Read on here to subscribe for the full paywalled article.

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