Nats must thread carefully over akl transition board

by Jake Quinn

With the monthly political capital meter at an all time low for the Key-led government, it comes as no surprise that Cabinet has delayed yesterday’s announcement about the make of up of the Auckland Transition Agency’s board – what would have been expected not to cause waves just weeks ago, is now going to be the next big test for Key.

The Auckland Transition Agency was established by legislation under urgency last week, to oversee the move to the Super City structure by next year.

A few weeks back, many observers assumed that the make of the agency’s board would have been relatively uncontroversial as National, under Key, was developing a reputation as being rather centrist and politically risk averse – spotting and following public opinion in a way that was characteristic of Key’s consensus building style.

However, coupled with a disaster week in the Mt Albert by-election campaign, where Key’s hand picked candidate Melissa Lee made a series of silly mistakes effectively ruining her party’s chances of winning the unwinnable (and seriously challenging Phil Goff’s position as Labour leader), the Rankin affair has effectively ended the new government’s extended honeymoon – which had been starting to develop into something of a ‘honey-gap-year’.

So the now skeptical eyes of the press gallery will be closely focused on the Auckland Transition Agency and its board, expected to be announced in the next week. They will be looking to Key to ‘make right’ and offer up a leadership team that doesn’t stink of divisive (like Rankin) or inexperienced (like Lee). If the headlines read “Rodney Hide’s Mates to Run Auckland” it may well be curtains for Key’s dominated of the polls.