You are not permitted to download, save or email this image. Visit image gallery to purchase the image.
Consistent opposition from the Right in the form of Cr Lee Vandervis is a given.
Centrist or centre-right opposition has been emerging as a threat, led by Cr Jules Radich.
Mr Hawkins hardly needs to add unnecessary conflict with left-leaning Cr Jim O’Malley to his list of challenges.
This week’s showdown between Mr Hawkins and Cr O’Malley — ostensibly about how the council should respond to the Government’s Three Waters reforms — adds to evidence not all is rosy or cosy for the council’s ascendant left bloc.
Discord on the Centre-Left was prominent during deliberations on the council’s 10-year plan.
This week’s shambles about Three Waters followed a farce on the same subject in September, when the mayor shut down a meeting as things got a bit complicated.
The dispute boils down to how stridently the council should challenge the Government’s drive to set up regional water services entities.
Mr Hawkins is perceived as being too yielding to the Government’s agenda.
Cr O’Malley may be too intransigent in formulating opposition and much of his criticism of the mayor can be countered with reasoned argument.
It is damaging, however.
With the broader public, a question mark hovers over the likeability of Mr Hawkins.
Inside the chamber, he can usually rely on deputy mayor Christine Garey and Crs David Benson-Pope, Marie Laufiso, Steve Walker and Chris Staynes for support.
Several more councillors have similar sympathies.
Pursuing a progressive agenda appears relatively straightforward.
It has, perhaps, been too easy.
Issues have festered.
Basics of relationship-building may well have been neglected.
A change in dynamics is evident.
Councillors have already presented Cr Vandervis with a mayoralty campaign gift via their enthusiasm for pushing up rates and debt.
Crs Radich and Carmen Houlahan have enough material to work with for their mayoralty campaigns.
Mr Hawkins articulates viewpoints well and he is usually a sound chairman.
A solid grasp of detail, fondness for public transport and concern about implications of climate change are attributes he shares with Cr O’Malley.
Giving Cr O’Malley lots of work to do as infrastructure services chairman was a wise move from the mayor.
Trouble is, the senior councillor feels the mayor has hindered his ability to carry out his role.
Irrespective of where blame lies, the mayor has a situation to manage.
Mr Hawkins and the Centre-Left have work to do to shore up the administration.