Anderton leads in mayoral race

05:40, Aug 31 2010

Christchurch mayoral contender Jim Anderton has a handy lead in the two-man race with sitting mayor Bob Parker, but nearly two-thirds of voters are undecided, a poll commissioned by The Press shows.

In a survey conducted by Opinions Market Research last weekend, 78 per cent said they planned to vote, but 57 per cent of those had not picked their preferred mayor.

Of those who had made a choice, Anderton got 50 per cent support compared with 31 per cent for sitting mayor Bob Parker. Another 18 per cent did not disclose their choice. None of the other 12 mayoral candidates figured among those who had made up their mind.

A spokeswoman for Opinions Market Research said the results showed the mayoralty was still up for grabs.

"It still is anyone's race," she said.

The poll questioned 600 Christchurch residents and had an overall margin of error of 4 per cent.


When undecided voters were prompted to choose a mayoral candidate they would consider, Anderton again led the pack with 74 per cent naming him, ahead of 61 per cent who picked Parker.

Three other candidates – Nathan Ryan, Blair Anderson and Rik Tindall – received a positive response from 19 per cent of undecideds, while Peter Wakeman got 17 per cent.

The other seven candidates attracted 14 to 16 per cent each.

Support for Anderton and Parker was evenly split across all voting age groups.

Anderton had slightly more support from families with dependent children, but Parker had a small edge with older voters with no dependents.

More men said Parker had their vote compared with Anderton, but the Wigram MP attracted more female support.

Parker tended to have more support from the city's ethnic communities while Anderton attracted more support from the unemployed and non-ratepayers.

In a breakdown of support by council wards, Anderton had strong backing in Spreydon-Heathcote and Shirley-Papanui areas and, predictably, in the Riccarton-Wigram area which is a big chunk of his parliamentary electorate.

Parker was stronger in Burwood-Pegasus, Fendalton-Waimairi and had a slight edge in the Hagley-Ferrymead ward.

The approval rating of both Parker as mayor and the performance of city councillors closely mirrored each other.

Respondents gave Parker a 58 per cent overall approval rating although just 6 per cent thought he had done a "very good job". The bulk of his positive support came from 52 per cent who marked him as having done a "quite good" job.

But 25 per cent said Parker's performance was "not very good" and another 11 per cent said it was "not at all good".

Just 4 per cent said councillors had done a very good job, but 55 per cent rated their performance as "quite good".

A further 28 per cent gave them an unfavourable rating.

The council, as a whole, attracted a 64 per cent approval rating while 33 per cent said its performance was poor.


The row between Christchurch's two leading mayoral candidates over city council finances has deepened.

Wigram MP Jim Anderton had questioned the financial management of the council under Mayor Bob Parker and the pair agreed to a meeting to "open the books".

At the August 13 meeting, Anderton raised 10 issues of concern and he and his advisers presented Parker and the council with another 120 questions.

Parker this week sent Anderton's staff copies of long-term plans and annual reports he said answered Anderton's major questions.

The other questions posed by Anderton's team required more time and cost and he invited them to apply under the Official Information Act.

But, in a statement yesterday, Anderton said the documents did not address crucial areas, and the Official Information Act process would delay any answers until after the October 9 election.

He wanted a draft copy of the latest annual report and an update of spreadsheets published in its long-term plan which he said were "essential information" for staff and councillors involved in preparing next year's annual plan. "This is another example of a lack of transparency which has become almost the norm for the way this council works," Anderton said.Parker said Anderton's claims were `outrageous. "All he has done is turn a genuine offer into another low-level, cheap, political attack."

Yesterday, Anderton said that offer was a sham and Parker was stalling his responses until after the October local body elections.

Claims of bad book-keeping were "lightweight" because the council had the strongest credit rating of any NZ council, Parker said.

Which issues are deciding this election and is Anderton's insistence to remain as Wigram MP his Achilles heel?

See Monday's edition of The Press.



The Press