It’s almost over. I can hear the fat lady clearing her throat, but still we know so little about our local candidates.
We live in a world of sound bites and married at first, and only, sight. How can we get any sort of comprehensive idea about policy or personal aims in such a short time?
At time of writing this, only four candidates have knocked on my door or fronted on my street. I know, and have spoken to, several others, and I know their views and their policies. But I’m completely in the dark about others.
Last election, Bill Ralston knocked on my door. So did Nikki Kaye when she was starting out in 2008. A couple of signs with a pretty photo is not enough to give citizens a reason to vote for you.
At the GLRSC meeting it was obvious that a number of candidates had no idea what work a local board does, although, to be fair, the moderators did as much talking as candidates and with 17 vying for the floor, it didn’t allow anyone much time to tell us how they would save the world.
Still, good on those who did attend and thanks to David Batten and Brandon Wilcox of GLRA for their moderation.
At the last meeting of this term’s Waitemata Local Board on Tues 16 September, a minor controversy erupted. An Erebus Memorial is planned for Parnell, and a site and plans have been selected. According to some local Parnell residents and other interested people, there has been undue haste and a lack of consultation about the memorial.
At this last board meeting, the one independent, Rob Thomas, proposed that a decision by the board on the site of the memorial be held over until the incoming board was in place. This motion was defeated 6-1, with the six City Vision members voting to give Pippa Coom and Shale Chambers the delegated authority to make the decision after consultation with stakeholders. Both Coom and Chambers are retiring from the board, and won’t be part of the new one elected on 12 October. Independent candidates Allan Matson and Keith McConnell called this a political decision and a good example of the need for independent candidates to be part of a local board’s conformation. Allan Matson is the Godson of High Court judge Peter Mahon, who conducted the Erebus Trial. Both Matson and McConnell told me they had written to the Ponsonby News to explain their concerns.
Readers will know that I have been outspoken about the need for some independence on the board, with robust debate, which is at the core of the democratic process, more likely if not all members are party bound.
We, at Ponsonby News, sincerely hope people will exercise their democratic right to vote, and come out in much larger numbers than in recent years.
Among the important issues up for discussion are privatisation of council assets like water, the port and the airport, infrastructure decisions around roading, cycling and walking, speed limits in the central city, storm water and sewage separation, and tree planting and protection.
If any of these issues concern you, and they all should, get to meet candidates and ask them about their position on these issues.
Keep these dates firmly in mind:
8 October - last day to post voting papers.
12 October - voting closes at 12 noon.
We hope there will be a better turnout of voters this year. Good luck to all candidates. (JOHN ELLIOTT)
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