[Couldn't be bothered editing for sexism and racism, deleted entire comment.]
I have only observed one council meeting, the performance after the Eden Park crush.
However my view is that Len Brown or his replacement will not have much difficulty maintaining a solid left centre city vision leaning majority. What has been lost from the council is the high intellect of Northey, the professionalism of Hartley and the intellect and undesirable fundentalist feminism and enviromentalism of Coney. Therefore I suspect the core of the Unitary Plan will be not be pursued vigorously.
In my own right centre view the Unitary Plan was undesirable because I don't regard it as helpful to maintain the white working class in large numbers in Auckland as they contribute little in modern economic potential and attraction and putting them in suburban high rises seems the worst option of all, unless the aim is to supervise and control them. I dislike the loop as lower cost light rail, reopening the Mt Eden, Three Kings and Dominion Road Mt Roskill tram routes and possibly to Herne Bay and Great Lynn would be more useful possibly with a much more limited tram cut and cover underground connected to Britomart and possibly Strand.
My own view in Auckland is the real problem is the difficulty in moving within the CBD itself with more the need for tram type shuttles to K Road, Upper Symonds and University. Its a real trial walking up Q street with books, groceries or liquor.
Also the CBD is unpleasant with no real street control of the working class, 16-26 year drunks and aggressive panhandling. Efforts at social control are generally confined to the hopeless alcoholics and social clients, who often aren't much trouble while the agreesive and boozy characters who wreck anything aren't policed, deliberately its seems to me because many in authority don't want 24/7 cosmopoitian life.
The other point about the local body elections is both the English ,Joyce and Collins ,Whaleoil factions did not want victory in the Mayoralty races, as they wanted councils in the three main centres that functioned and they could work with, rather than ones that were divided and doing little. National are now more a left centre country party without any real representation for the middle class, professionals, sane libertarians or serious business.
The Country Party and socially conservative right probably prefer the progressive weakening of the Auckland council with either a discredited Brown or Aussie type left leader like Hulse who is too pretty and liberal to be powerfully attracted to the old Brown consitituency. In the not too distant future both factions of National will probably be keen to get rid of any pretence of serious local goverment and follow the example of the closing down of the CRC or the total centralisation used by Thatcher to break the power of the left.
I don't seen any credibility in the current council. Most of the supposed right would achieve their limits playing snap at the RSA and can't reallys scrutinise the council or left planners. Quax is a sub Banks, strictly 5R2 TBHS material, 'Please Sirs' as my father called the Richard Taylor and John Lister hayseeds. Christine Fletcher is too old and was always too much of alturistic sentamentalist. Brewer is obviouly ambivalent and I can't believe he is any sort of credible right centre. I mean if you think the bars and cafes in Nuffield St are sophisticated ,god help you. Even in my visits to Melbourne in the 1980s all the good hotels were far more sophisticated particularly in the wealth and style of their clientle than anything I have seen in NZ.
In Auckland you get good looking, do gooders as barmaids and barmen. Even in Herne Bay the female hairdressers all seem to be fat and butch. I assume they give them a job becasue their percieved as too ugly to sell in Sydney. In Christchurch getting your hair cut could be almost as much as a mutual flirt as a brothel as in Korea.In Auckland your a predator or a cretin if you want enter a bar alone that is full of females under 25. In Christchurch all the good places seemed to be run by organised crime which meant good looking barmaids, cheap black booze and reliable service until 5 minutes before you were unconcious