Or if he did, it might read something like this.
Vexed, defensive, shouty, Wayne Brown wore the countenance of a man who had just discovered, to his irritation and mounting horror, that he is, well, the mayor of Auckland.
At Saturday’s press conference in response to the devastating, record-breaking floods in Auckland, Mayor Brown the Second angrily rejected suggestions he had been slow in declaring in a state of emergency as Auckland sank underwater on Friday night, furiously denied that he had been missing in action on the communications front and threw his gobby council colleagues under the waterlogged bus.
The prime minister and others stood around him gawping slack-jawed, as if to say, “what?”, “sorry, what?” and “what?”. By the end, his deputy, Desley Simpson, was physically dragging him away from the chaos.
In a string of statements since Friday night that vindicate his decision to appear in the media essentially never, Wayne Brown has said some remarkable things, including, “my role isn’t to rush out with buckets”. And, “it will be interesting to see just how well prepared Wellington is when the earthquake strikes.” And, “we need the rain to stop, that’s the main issue.”
What Brown’s critics seem unwilling or unable to grasp, however, is that he is a different kind of leader. While more orthodox types do speeches and interviews, take responsibility, rise visibly to the occasion, lead by example and all that, the mayor of Auckland writes letters. Lots and lots of letters. Look closely at the fist he is shaking at a very dark cloud and you will see wrapped within his fingers an inky quill. There is every reason to believe that he has been working deep into the night, writing a letter to the rain. Here’s how it might go.
Dear The Rain,
I was elected to the Auckland mayoralty with a clear statutory mandate for change. While I welcome your contribution to the city in the interests of horticulture, bathing, drinking, etcetera, this has its limits. The clear message put to me across several hundred debates, meetings and other events in last year’s campaign was that they are praying for Wayne, not so much for rain. Mister Fix-itty, not Mister Buckety. The advice from experts and professionals I have consulted across recent days is unequivocal: the principal cause of the flooding is rain. We need you to stop, that’s the main issue. Just stop.
I wish to put my expectations on record. There has been altogether too much rain in recent days. Ordinary Auckland ratepayers are wet. I expect a complete change in approach from the weather, most critically in regard to rainfall. I expect you to subside dramatically, especially at nighttime when it is more difficult to see. I expect you to respond to me directly, in the form of a double rainbow across the southern motorway, to confirm you understand my position and intend to accordingly stop falling from the sky so much. Should you fail to take steps immediately I will not shrink from adopting further measures to crack down on all forms of precipitation.
I look forward to working with the rain on these immediate priorities and on the change to your overall strategic direction over the coming years. Also, I’m playing tennis tomorrow.
Mayor of Auckland