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Monday, July 15, 2024
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CAT AND MOUSE COUNCIL GAMES

By Don Farmer
[email protected]
By noon tomorrow the final fields for October’s local body elections will be drawn up and it will be a matter of let the battle begin.
Despite a big turn-out in Masterton at a special meeting arranged recently for potential candidates, surprisingly few had officially signed up by the time this edition went to press, especially in Masterton.
This would tend to suggest one of two scenarios.
Either some of those who have been huffing and puffing the loudest over the supposedly poor performance of sitting councillors have got cold feet and have decided not to “put your money where your mouth is” or there is a game of cat and mouse being played.
With at least two places up for grabs — one in the urban ward and the other at large — it could have been expected more people would by now have put their hands up.
The slowness of the nominations tends to suggest cat and mouse is under way, a game in which aspiring candidates hang out to the last minute, sizing up the opposition before deciding which ward to try their luck in.
While that may be somewhat politically astute it has a down side.
In some ways it shows a nervousness and lack of confidence which can be picked up by voters and work against the candidate who is a late-comer.
And, of course, there is a more obvious downturn in that you wouldn’t want a flat tyre as you race to put in your nomination at one minute to twelve tomorrow, therefore risking disqualification.
From a media point of view once nominations close is when the fun starts.
Reporters often learn they have friends they didn’t know existed, people who wave and toot and smile broadly.
Another phenomenon is these people develop all sorts of interests and viewpoints we never realised they had and what’s more they are eager to tell us about them, but that’s politics.
So far the greatest contest on the cards appears to be in South Wairarapa where the retirement of incumbent mayor Adrienne Staples has started a lolly scramble for the top job with no less than four seeking it.

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