Hard News by Russell Brown


Meanwhile in Epsom ...

There's been surprisingly little said about the special history between two of the challengers for the National Party candidacy in the Epsom electorate, but it might be worth watching.

Aaron Bhatnagar is one of five seeking the nod -- but so is Richard Simpson, whose Action Hobson group on the old Auckland City Council was the subject of a series of bizarre and unethical attacks in Wikipedia articles by user Barzini. Barzini was, as you first read in this blog, Aaron Bhatnagar.

The "Barzini story" apparently became an issue at "meet the candidates" meeting in the electorate last Thursday evening, when it arose as a character question. Bhatnagar himself mumbled something about having been poorly advised at the time and his supporters demanded that the matter never be spoken of again.

Well, tough. It is a character issue. And karma's a bitch.

Apart from Bhatnagar, the lineup is an interesting mix of party establishment (Brash biographer Paul Goldsmith and deputy regional chairman Denise Krum), thundering moral conservative (former Christian Heritage leader Ewen McQueen) and socially liberal IT entrepreneur (Simpson).

Simpson would seem to offer the clearest alternative to Act's Epsom candidate, John Banks, not just because the two men have quite different worldviews, but because they've faced off previously, and quite bitterly, in council politics. Bhatnagar, by contrast, has been closely associated with Banks for years. But whether or not National eventually offers an accommodation to Act in Epsom, its prospective candidates do all seem to genuinely want to win.

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