The Wellington City Council candidates

September 24th, 2013 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

While I don’t agree with all their views, I think Wellington City is well served by having a dedicated blog covering Wellington local government issues, WCC Watch. I do wish they were transparent on who runs the site (even if they with-hold names, they should disclose some information about who they are, their affiliations and motivations), but I find them reasonably balanced and less left-leaning than they were in 2010 (maybe different people in charge now).

Anyway they make it easier for me to review the Council candidates, as they have done it for me. So I can point to their reviews, and add in my own comments.

Let’s start with my ward – Lambton Ward.

I had previously said I would be voting for Nicola Young and Rex Nicholls and was undecided between John Dow and Iona Pannett for my third preference. Since then I’ve met John Dow and have to say am hugely impressed with what he has already achieved for Wellngton. He’s been involved in over a dozen major events and activities for Wellington ranging from the Wellington Gold Awards for business, the NZ International Arts Festival, the Wellington Phoenix, to events such as the a Vietnam Commemoration. He’s also worked on attracting businesses and visitors to Wellington.

While Iona has been a hard working Councillor, I reflected after meeting John that Iona’s list of achievements will probably include a fair number of things she has tried to stop such as better roads. I think there is a real contrast there.

So I’ll be ranking Nicola Young 1, and my top three preferences will go to Nicola Young, Rex Nicholls and John Dow. If you want a team of Councillors who can make things happen, rather than stop things happening, I’d urge people to give them your top three preferences.

I will still give Iona my fourth preference, which may still help her if one of the others does not make it.

Ian Apperley at Strathmore Park has also endorsed Young, Dow and Nicholls.

Next, we have Onslow-Western Ward.

Incumbents Jo Coughlan and Andy Foster should get returned. I think Jo is excellent, and she has done a huge amount around the Council’s economic strategy. Andy’s politics seem rather flexible at times, but one can’t deny he is hard working and effective.

WCC Watch suggests the third place is between Labour’s Malcolm Aitken, Simon Woolf and Hayley Robinson.

I prefer to keep party politics out of the Council. Those who stand on the Labour ticket are constitutionally bound to vote in accordance with directions of the Labour Party – either their policy manifesto, or their local body caucus/committee decisions. I don’t want Councillors who place the interests of their party ahead of the community they serve. Party politics is a necessary part of central Government, but is best kept away from local Government in my view.

I don’t really know Woolf or Robinson, but Woolf business background (the iconic Photography by Woolf) appeals to me, along with his very significant service to charities and sports.  I know little about what Robinson has done or even her current job if she had one. However Ian Apperley has endorsed her as “Sweet and a little nutty” but genuinely caring.

He has also endorsed Phil Howison, and I share that endorsement. I know Phil, and think he would be very fiscally responsible Councillor. A very smart guy who would be able to deal with pretty much any portfolio area.

Third is Northern Ward.

WCC Watch thinks the likely winners are Lester, Ritchie and Sparrow with Toner and Gilberd being contenders.

Justin Lester has generally been a good Councillor, and deserve re-election.

Helene Ritchie first got elected to in 1977, the same year I believe Apple Computers was formed. I think it is well and truly time for some fresh blood there.

Malcolm Sparrow has a strong background with the Tawa Local Board and I agree is likely to win a place.

My pick for a new Councillor, and the one I would rank No 1, is Jacob Toner. Jacob has the benefits of youth and enthusiasm and as well as being sound on the core stuff such as keeping rates affordable, being job-friendly, has some nice lateral ideas such as the proposed hitching posts which I have previously covered.

Ian Apperley endorses Jacob Toner as No 1 and Malcolm Sparrow as No 2.

Fourth is Eastern Ward.

All three incumbents are standing again. I know Simon (Swampy) Marsh and Ray Ahipene-Mercer and endorse both of them as 1 and 2. Ray is a left-winger but a great example of someone who can work with people of different political persuasions. WCC Watch labels Simon as active and accessible and I think that are spot on.

The third incumbent is Leonie Gill. A very nice person who has been active in many campaigns in the past. She is standing for Labour though which as I say above, I don’t see as useful in . I think with her health challenges, retirement could be a blessing in disguise for her, but if she wins again am sure she will work as hard as she can.

Karuna Muthu is standing for Mayor also, and may get a boost from the profile associated with that, as is Rob Goulden. Muthu is very engaged with ethnic community groups, but also has a good business background.

Sarah Free is running an active campaign, and is standing for the Greens. I don’t object to their being Green voices in Council but if Labour and Greens get anywhere near a majority I think we’d become a backwater. However Ian Apperley endorses Free as well-balanced and pragmatic.

John Coleman looks quite promising also and WCC Watch rates him as in with a chance. He has been involved in the Wellington Wine and Food Festivals and is a well known restaurateur.

Finally we have Southern Ward.

Paul Eagle is one of their two Councillors, and gets great reviews from almost anyone Despite the Labour affiliation he should be returned. He will no doubt in time turn as as the next MP for Rongotai.

My main priority is getting rid of Bryan Pepperell who seems unable to play a constructive role in anything, and is quite ineffectual as a Councillor (rated lowest by the Wellingtonian). He also describes fluoride as poison.

So it is a choice between Ginette McDonald and David Lee from the Greens.

I would vote for McDonald. No, not because she was Lyn of Tawa and has a high profile (ut that will help her). But she is a very active member of the Southern community has done more fundraisers etc than probably anyone else who lives there. Her heart is clearly in the right place. There are concerns over how good a fit she will be in a Council that can spend hours on complex regulatory hearings and the like and Ian Apperley thinks she’ll hate it if she gets in.

I’d rank them Eagle 1, (Ginette) McDonald 2, and Lee 3 and Pepperell last or not ranked at all.

I will do separate posts on the Mayoralty, the DHB and the Wellington Regional Council.

10 Responses to “The Wellington City Council candidates”

  1. 2boyz (411 comments) says:

    Great snapshot, although not in my ward I do worry about Andy Foster. Sure he’s done some good stuff but has been a councillor for over 20 years. I like the idea of introducing a term limit for councillors that way we get fresh ideas and no dead wood forever hanging on.

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  2. fruitshop (46 comments) says:

    Ian Apperly of Strathmore Park:
    First and foremost on the list has to be David Lee, yes yes, I know he’s Green, but he’s one of the neo-Green and fresh blood. I already here some mutterings about just how aligned he is with the Greens, which is always a good sign. We don’t want Councillors that are patsies for a party. We want Councillors that are going to work for their local community. Other senior candidates, and right leaning ones at that, have told me that they think he’d make a good Councillor and they’d work with him

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  3. King Kong (72 comments) says:

    Why would Labour give the Greens anything. They have proven time and time again that they are Labour’s bitches.

    Who else would the greens support in a coalition? Do you really think they would not give Labour confidence and supply if the alternative was another National led government.

    The only reason you would give them anything, is so you have someone to blame when it all goes pear shaped. Very much how National use the ACT party.

    In that case it would only be a couple of useless portfolios like womans affairs and the environment. Maybe Turei could have some role on an obesity taskforce. Her first hand experience of being a fat greedy pig would be invaluable.

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  4. King Kong (72 comments) says:

    Apologies. Commented on the wrong post

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  5. philo (1 comment) says:

    Excellent piece. While I’m not so sure about Nicola’s credentials (“My lack of experience is my strength…” Really?????) I agree whole-hardheartedly with your views on John Dow. One of the quiet achievers – works away in the background actually dong terrific things for Wellington but gets very little credit.

    I’m presuming that John doesn’t do these things for the glory – rather, for the good of Wellington.Therefore he’s EXACTLY the sort of person we’ve needed in Council for years.

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  6. Ian McK (237 comments) says:

    If what was reported elsewhere is correct, then Morrison is out the door by supporting the living wage theory. He led us to believe he was there to support ratepayers, not losers.

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  7. GLP (1 comment) says:

    I agree with your endorsement of John Dow. He has a long track record of making difficult projects happen by bring different groups together and cutting through obstacles to get things done. His knowledge of Wellington and business is vast. To me he is the stand out candidate in this group.

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  8. Nicola Young (5 comments) says:

    Beware the quotation taken out of context, Philo(1). “My lack of experience is my strength” was a reference to the number of long-term councillors (many 15 years +, including two of the mayoral contenders) who are stale and have been captured by the process; some are more like WCC officers. Council needs fresh ideas and energy to kick-start Wellington. I’ve had a lifetime of experience in business (Welllington and London’s financial markets), politics and communications; added to which, I’m energetic, hard-working, have lots of common sense, understand the value of money and the role of governance. I’m advocating term limits, which could be introduced through a by-law; serving on the council shouldn’t be a life-long career.

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  9. Liberty (622 comments) says:

    What you have failed to do in your round up of candidates. Is advise who supports
    moving Wellington into a first world capital with a highway to the airport.
    Which luddite candidates want to retain a goat track.

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  10. Cotillion (1 comment) says:

    A good round up. I see two comments supporting John Dow and I would have to jump on that wagon. He has had an enormous impact on Wellington over the last 30 years and has seen little praise or attention. He is the quiet background influence that brings together and deftly manages numerous entities to attain a positive result for Wellington. Whether it be Sports events or Cultural events. John Dow has the right forward thinking attitude.

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