THE MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS.
Observer, Rōrahi XXIII, Putanga 34, 9 Haratua 1903, Page 2
THE MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS.
A Bid for Reform
THE result of the election for the Mayoralty was the greatest surprise the people of Auckland have had for many a long day. Though there were four candidates, it was reckoned that the contest would lie between Messrs Mitchelson and Stichbury, and the general opinion was that whichever won, there would be very few votes between these two at the finish. Even when the poll closed, it was believed that the contest was a neck-and-neck one. When the result was declared, however, Mr Mitchelson was found to have won by 1558 votes, an overwhelming victory that not even his most sanguine supporter had dared to anticipate, more especially in view of the influences that were believed to be arrayed against him.
The verdict of the people may fairly be accepted as an imperative demand for reform in municipal administration. It was on this issue that the election was fought. The defeat of Mr Stichbury does not necessarily imply any lack of confidence in him, or ingratitude for the services he has rendered to the people. On the contrary, he stands as high in popular estimation as ever he did, and there is general regret that he has vacated his seat as a councillor. But Mr Stiehbury's position was an unfortunate one. He took on his shoulders; the whole burden of responsibility for past administration, an administration that was not his own, and practically he was crucified for the sins of others.
Without entering into comparisons, Auckland has in the Hon. Edwin Mitchelson a Mayor of whom she may well be proud. His commercial record
is a clean and honourable one, while his political record reflects lustre alike on himself and on his native city, which has chosen him as her chief magistrate. For Mr Mitchelson is a native of Auckland. The fact that he was for years a Minister of the Crown, to say nothing of having been Acting- Premier, is in itself a guarantee of his administrative capabilities. But he is also a broad minded and liberal man, of progressive ideas, and free from narrow prejudices, and will fill the Mayoral chair with firmness, dignity, and conspicuous ability.
The Council chosen to support Mr/ Mitchebon is one of the best we have had in the history of Auckland. What changes have been made are chiefly for the better ; there is a strong leaven of men experienced in municipal administration, and, taking them all together, the councillors are equal to the work required of them. Certainly, there is much to be done, independent of the task of putting the house in order. For example, the Greater Auckland movement must be pushed on. Electric lighting must be provided for, as an alternative to the present gas monopoly. And the list of pressing wants does not end even there. However, we believe the Mayor and Councillors are eqial to the task before them, and if the ward abolition does not snuff them out, we believe their election will mark the commencement of an era of reform and progress.