I’ve heard from a number of sources that the Green Party is going to stand (or endorse) a candidate for the Dunedin mayoralty in this year’s local body elections. The 25th of May has been mentioned.
And at a public event this week a name was openly mentioned – Aaron Hawkins. This isn’t a big surprise, Hawkins stood for mayor and council in 2010 – see Mayoral Profile: Aaron Hawkins.
On Tuesday Hawkins posted an openly political attack on current mayor Dave Cull at The Daily Blog - Dunedin’s Mayor Our Very Own Karma Chameleon.
It’s interesting that Greens are becoming more openly active in local body politics. In the past political parties have not been a popular feature in local body elections so this is a risk for Greens.
In Dunedin financial management, council debt and escalating rates are are big issues. Greens are making a major play on financial policies in national politics, and are struggling to be seen as credible. Voters were happy to tolerate some controversial Green environmental policies, but there is more wariness about what has been seen as a fringe party suggesting extreme economic policies.
If Hawkins stands as a Green candidate that obviously positions him politically. Normanomics may be something any Green candidate may have trouble defending beyond the Green faithful.
His last election profile says:
How would you describe your politics?
Environmentally responsible and, if anything on a spectrum, probably centre-left.
Who have you voted for nationally?
I voted for [Dunedin North MP] Pete Hodgson, I think, in the last three elections and for the Green Party.
Probably not centre-left. Maybe he has become more Green in the last two and a half years.
Hawkins doesn’t seem to be very active on Facebook.
He is more active on Twitter, where he has obvious Green connections and is noticeably anti National. His twitter profile:
Music & Opinions for
@RadioOne91FM, Words for @RipItUpNZ, @TheDailyBlogNZ, @InsidersDunedin, D Scene, [Your Publication Here]
If he does stand for mayor as a Green candidate we’ll hear a lot more about him and from him. It will certainly guarantee a hard fought and interesting mayoral campaign. It’s good for democracy to have a range of candidates.
His Daily Blog profile:
About Aaron Hawkins
Aaron Hawkins has been the producer and presenter of the breakfast radio programme on Radio One 91FM Dunedin since 2006, and for the past three years also served as its Music Director.
His student media credentials extend to print, where he spent five years writing for /Critic Te Arohi/, winning Best Review Writer on non-consecutive occasions (for Theatre & Music respectively) and Best Features Writer at the Aotearoa Student Press Awards.
His music writing has appeared in Rip It Up, Real Groove and No magazines, he has written performance reviews for the Otago Daily Times, he currently blogs on local cultural fare for Insiders Dunedin, and writes a regular column on local government issues for D Scene.
In recent years he has been invited into the shadowy world of punditry, appearing as a panellist on the University of Otago Centre for Theology & Public Issues series Public Square, and at the Dunedin leg of the Save TVNZ7 Roadshow. He is also a staunch advocate and lobbyist for the creative community, and sits on the board of both the Blue Oyster Arts Trust and the Dunedin Fringe Arts Trust.
At just 28, he already has about 20 years of political wonkishness behind him, since he started bringing Tom Scott cartoons to show-and-tell in primary school. In 2010 he stood for Mayor of Dunedin. He did not win.
Hawkins will have to improve substantially on his 2010 result (he’s likely to do that).
He was closer in the councillor vote – see Dunedin local elections, 2010
Greens are well supported in Dunedin in National elections, and there is a significant Green activist base in the city. If co-leader Metiria Turei helps in the campaign that will ensure more attention.
It’s risky for Greens to delve into political territory that other parties have kept a distance from.
But it will certainly add interest to the local body elections in Dunedin.