Dismayed at the low voter participation so far in local body elections, Mayor Barbara Arnott has decided to spark greater voter interest in Napier by running against herself in the balloting days remaining.

Today she launched a multi-faceted advertising campaign, reportedly spending in the six-figure range, taking shots at her own credentials as mayor.

Sources at Arnott’s ad agency gave BayBuzz a sneak peak at the ads, and we were shocked by their tone.

“I felt I had no choice but to go negative,” Arnott said, “otherwise voters just wouldn’t pay attention.”

One ad reveals secret correspondence in which Arnott says to a relative in Auckland, “Enough of this art deco schtick, already. If I get re-elected, we’re re-building the Napier CBD with mud and straw bricks.” She continues, “I’m tired of people complaining that we gave up our hospital … why should sick people get the best views in town?”

Another ad features a photo of the Mayor thumbing her nose at Hastings District CEO Murray Gilbertson, and quotes a statement from counterpart Mayor Lawrence Yule warning that “such rudeness could irreparably sour relations between our two cities.” His statement continues, “If such behavior persists, we Murray will build the regional sports complex without you.”

In a radio ad, Arnott’s executive assistant, a secret member of lobbying group Dolphins Crave Captivity, reveals that Arnott once confided: “I’d eat a dolphin before I’ll let it swim around the tank at Marineland!” Says the teary assistant (name suppression granted), “I just couldn’t hold in her terrible secret any longer.”

And that’s not all. Mayor Arnott has even recruited a perfect look-alike to campaign in person against her around town this week (see photo above … will you know the difference if you meet her?!). Expect rough stuff from the anti-Barbara Barbara! Napier — indeed all of Hawke’s Bay — has never before witnessed this kind of gutter politics.

Naturally, Arnott’s token opponent, Clifford Church, has filed a complaint with the Napier police against this novel tactic. “I can categorically say that at no time did Barbara Arnott invite me to participate in this negative advertising campaign, unless I forgot it,” he asserted. “I demand equal time with the anti-Barbara Barbara. She’s stealing my thunder. Every time I turn around, my opponents are trying to … well … influence voters. It’s appalling.”

Arnott responded, “I would have happily just given the money to the poor bloke to do his own advertising. I do feel sorry for him. But my goal is to increase voter interest, and my fake Barbara is simply far more compelling than the real Cliff.”

BayBuzz asked Mayor Arnott if she was worried that a late surge from anti-Barbara Barbara might just snatch away the victory. “All good things must end,” she replied. “If I must get axed, I’d rather deliver the blow myself. Anyway, anti-Barbara Barbara has promised me a senior role in her administration … even CEO Taylor won’t notice the difference.”

Tom

P.S. If you haven’t yet voted, please look over the endorsements of Making Waves, right here.

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