A poll commissioned by The Press shows Jim Anderton leads the Christchurch mayoralty with 50% support over sitting mayor Bob Parker on 31%.
Two thirds of those polled have yet to make up their minds but when the undecideds were prompted 74% named Anderton, ahead of 61 per cent who picked Parker.
In spite of the odds favouring Anderton winning the race, he’s still adamant he’ll continue to collect his MP’s salary, allowances and the extras he gets as party leaderon top of the Mayoral pay and allowances until the next election.
The ODT added its editorial voice to the calls for his resignation:
. . . by choosing to contest the mayoralty he has surely concluded his career as a politician and “party leader” is without influence and is effectively over.
Why then should the voters of Wigram be deprived of making a new choice, rather than being stuck with a lame duck? Mr Anderton may have miraculous qualities, even at 72, but he cannot properly do both full-time jobs to the level ratepayers and constituents are entitled to expect.
Anderton took umbrage at that and penned a letter to the editor which was published in Friday’s paper:
Your editorial “By-election fever” (ODT 17.8.10) in arguing that I should step down as MP for Wigram because I am a mayoral candidate in Christchurch, serves only to demonstrate that its writer does not really understand what an electorate MP does.
If I took the advice and resigned the almost immediate result would be the closure of my offices in Wigram and Parliament because the funding to run them would terminate. That would leave the many hundreds of people who bring their problems and concerns to those offices, week in and week out, with nowhere to turn for many months. Is that what you editorial writer intends – or have they simply not thought it through?
When I was re-elected for Wigram in 2008, I undertook a commitment to the electors that I would serve them for the next three years and I intend to honour that.
You’d think a man who’d be involved in politics for so long would understand the system but his response shows a disturbing level of either ignorance or arrogance.
It’s not the ODT which hasn’t thought it through, it’s Anderton.
If he resigned the people of Wigram would be without an MP for only the few weeks between his resignation taking effect and the by-election. Then they’d have the services of a brand new fulltime MP not a tired old double-dipping has-been trying to do two fulltime jobs.
If he doesn’t understand the demands of the jobs mean he can’t properly serve both Wigram electorate as an MP and Christchurch as mayor, he’s not suitable for either position let alone both.