There are seven candidates seeking three positions. All seven have kindly completed the Kiwiblog candidates’ survey. The candidates are:
What is the maximum average annual rates increase, if any, you would vote for over the next three years?
- Diane Calvert – A modest increase of 2-3% if there is added value. We are just not seeing this added value and we are seeing core services and projects underway slipping in the meantime. The Council will be more effective long term if it addresses the causes of the rate increases rather than just focus on the level of rate increases (which is always a populist eye-catching election topic) I am more concerned with a likely 5-10% already being lost to start with through poor governance & leadership; and projects that don’t have the support of the community. If we dealt with this, rate increases would be minimised without the loss of services or planned projects
- Ray Chung – Zero
- Paul Douglas – 5%
- Andy Foster – 3% and will work to reduce that if elected Mayor
- Thomas Morgan – 7% Its either progress or further decline…
- Matthew Plummer – Frozen at inflation, but ideally cut by 10%
- Simon Woolf – 4.5%. There are cost efficiencies which could be made, and especially how council and officers manage time. We also need to be more savvy in the way Council uses technology, and being more agile in capturing great opportunities for Wellington. If we can increase our rating base, grow our economy, and take care with how we spend, we should be able to keep rates increases at a reasonable level.
DPF comment – Plummer and Chung are the candidates promising the lowest rates increases followed by Foster and Calvert. Woolf, Douglas and Morgan could all vote for large increases.
Do you support the proposed runway extension for Wellington Airport?
- Diane Calvert – No
- Ray Chung – No
- Paul Douglas – Yes
- Andy Foster – no answer (see answer on funding)
- Thomas Morgan – Yes
- Matthew Plummer – No
- Simon Woolf – no answer (see answer on funding)
DPF comment – Calvert, Chung and Plummer are all against the runway extension while Douglas and Morgan are in favour. Foster and Woolf say it depends on the business case.
What is the maximum contribution ($ or %) from WCC toward the runway extension you would vote for?
- Diane Calvert – Question is irrelevant as there is no viable business case
- Ray Chung – 34%
- Paul Douglas – Need more info + public consultation, before could decide
- Andy Foster – $90 million – key though is it has to stack up – a lot of major hurdles to cross before I can say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ (Econ benefit, airline commitment, funding, consideration of alternatives, investment vehicle)
- Thomas Morgan – 25%- would actually have to be on balance after full advice.
- Matthew Plummer – 34% – in line with our ownership of the airport.
- Simon Woolf – The above is not as yet a yes no answer. We do not have a solid business case. There has not been a successful Resource Consent/ Environment Court decision, and there is not interest from an airline to fly long haul. We need the appropriate, and robust information, before any decisions are made as to if we invest, and what we would invest,in respect of a runway extension.
DPF comment – Morgan, Chung and Plummer all pledge no contribution beyond the current shareholding. Calvert is against any contribution. Douglas, Foster and Woolf are non committal.
Can you give an example of current WCC spending that you would vote against in future?
- Diane Calvert – Airport runway extension and Frank Kitts park redevelopment
- Ray Chung – I’d look at all major prjects as well as items like the traffic lights for Able Smith/Cuba Streets where Give Way signs are a better solution
- Paul Douglas – Unnecessary concreting/asphalting of kerb&channel&adjacent associated works
- Andy Foster – Reduce cost of Basin Reserve lights from $9m to $2m, Defer $65m concert venue until we can afford it
- Thomas Morgan – The poor state of the roading network.
- Matthew Plummer – The Frank Kitts Park / Chinese Garden – I’ve found zero support for it after knocking on thousands of doors for my election campaign. WCC’s media operations also need to be trimmed substantially (a bigger comms team than the Greater London Authority!). I’m doubtful about why WCC is backing the film museum – surely Peter Jackson could organise private investment to make it happen? Also Stop funding the Wellington Phoenix’
- Simon Woolf – The Frank Kitts Park Redevelopment, however not The Chinese Garden, which should be on the waterfront, but should be located further south on Frank Kitts Park. The Chinese Garden needs to remain on the waterfront due to pledges made by successive Mayors and Councils, over a 20 year period!
Do you support four laning (through additional tunnels) the Mt Vic and Terrace tunnels at an estimated cost of $250 million?
- Diane Calvert – I support an improved SH1 under or around the CBD whatever that quality solution turns out to be from the “Get Welly moving programme”
- Ray Chung – Yes
- Paul Douglas – Yes, I support an extra Road&Light rail tunnel if public consultation & a business plan supports that
- Andy Foster – Mt Vic likely yes, Terrace probably no (all that motorway congestion then transferred to city streets). These will be properly analysed and modelled through the Let’s Get Wellington moving process currently well underway. Decisions by the end of 2017 on a multi modal package including urban design projects.
- Thomas Morgan – Yes, As part of an integrated transport network. Advancing water based transport should be intensively investigated.
- Matthew Plummer – Yes (and it’ll be a lot more than $250m). We need to get the right solution for Te Aro – another Karo Drive would be a disaster.
- Simon Woolf – Yes, and in particular a second tunnel should have been constructed years ago!
DPF comment: Chung, Douglas, Morgan, Plummer and Woolf support both tunnels being four laned. Foster for Mt Vic only. Calvert non committal.
Do you support a change to the structure of local government in the Wellington Region, and if so to what?
- Diane Calvert – Yes. We have too many councils and not enough connectedness.I would like to see less councils (but not one super city) and more use of community boards
- Ray Chung – Depends on the proposals. I’m against amalgamation with Porirua and the Wairarapa
- Paul Douglas – Yes, I support a merger of Kapiti, Porirua, Upper Hutt, & Lower Hutt Councils, but exclude the Wairarapa area Councils. Subject to proper & adequate public consultation, I would also support a separate process & merger of the GWRC with any current or new WCC Local Authority
- Andy Foster – Support Wairarapa merger. Seek opportunities for more shared services esp in transport and waste management
- Thomas Morgan – Yes, merging any sister city councils such as those of Upper and Lower Hutt.
- Matthew Plummer – Single member wards for WCC – which will reduce the cost (in time and money) to stand for election, and hopefully see more community accountability and encourage a larger number of credible candidates to run.. Abolish the Regional Council.
- Simon Woolf – We do need to think more regionally. In that respect we need to share resources where we can to create cost efficiency. We also need to collaborate more with our regional neighbours, and not be competing with them if we can avoid it. Each of our regional cities have strengths and we should be working together to maximise those strengths for the benefit of the region
Do you support the current closing times for CBD bars of 4am. If not, what time would you prefer?
- Diane Calvert – Yes
- Ray Chung – Yes
- Paul Douglas – Yes, but 2-3am may be better for the health of everyone. The main problem I see is for Emergency Depts, and early shoppers/workers being harrassed by loitering drunks.
- Andy Foster – 4am is the national default time (in law). That works for me
- Thomas Morgan – 11pm – when everyone should be tucked up in bed loving the one they are with.
- Matthew Plummer – Yes. The Police need to focus on tackling the few ‘bad apple’ bar operators, not lobbying for a draconian licensing regime.
- Simon Woolf – This is a hugely complex set of issues. We wish to encourage vibrancy and vitality in our entertainment and hospitality sector, while reducing harm and keeping our community safe. I do not necessarily see most CBD Bars as being the biggest problem. We actually need to address the off license pre loading issues, and personal accountability problems first. We need to work with The Police, The Hospitality Industry, and Central Government to provide a suite of measures, which will reduce harm and criminal activity, while retaining a vibrant safe environment in our entertainment zone.
DPF comment: Calvert, Chung, Foster and Plummer clearly support retaining 4 am. Woolf is non committal. Douglas and Morgan want earlier.
Do you think WCC should make it a condition for any business tendering for a contract with WCC to pay their staff at least $20 an hour?
- Diane Calvert – I support the Council paying a living wage and to effectively negotiate with its suppliers to do the same. This means that the Council must be prepared to negotiate contracts at a rate that supports businesses to achieve a realistic profit.
- Ray Chung – No
- Paul Douglas – Yes, thats a good way to deal with it, for any future contracts.
- Andy Foster – No – that means ratepayers having to deliberately pay more than they have to. Logically if that was the case we shouldn’t buy anything made overseas where people aren’t paid even close to that amount.
- Thomas Morgan – No. There are other parties and methods for achieving this if it is the market rate for the work in question.
- Matthew Plummer – No
- Simon Woolf – It should not be council’s policy to dictate pay rates of other businesses.
DPF comment: Chung, Foster, Morgan, Plummer and Woolf are against forcing contractors to pay the “living wage”. Calvert and Douglas in favour.
Should fluoridation of the Wellington city water supply continue?
- Diane Calvert – Absolutely
- Ray Chung – Yes
- Paul Douglas – Definately not, because I’ve seen evidence it’s harmful, especially to developing babies&kids brains, & adolescents. I’ve done a lot of my own research into this. Fluoridation calcifies soft tissue&bone. see article on internet “The Dangers of Fluoride” by Michael Schachter. Fluoridation at~1ppm makes bones&soft tissue harder & changes their density. It contributes to weakening immune systems & osteosarcomas, especially in adolescent males. I’ve seen 3 of Paul Connett’s public talks. I believe there is evidence it’s harming the fragile mechanisms in our ears. Each drink adds 0.85ppm to our dosage total in Wellington.
- Andy Foster – Yes – one of the decisions I was very pleased to see Government listen to Local Government pleas to give the decision making to the Health Boards
- Thomas Morgan – Yes, for as long as Wellington as got one. Advised that supply is at risk and other sources than the Hutt River need to be discovered immediately.
- Matthew Plummer – Not a WCC competency. Personally I’m in favour.
- Simon Woolf – Yes, until proven otherwise. The issue is should be a central government public health issue.
DPF comment: All candidates except Douglas in favour of fluoridation.
If Council had an additional 10% revenue, or $40 million, what would be your priority spending areas?
- Diane Calvert – I would spread it across five key areas 1. Funding – negative rate increase for 2017/18 2. Social-more support for emergency housing 3.Core services- speed up intro of LED street lighting 4.Ecomomic- Get the Town Hall back into operation faster to start generating income 5. Community – Secure Karori Campus for the community
- Ray Chung – I’ve been canvassing in the Onslow-Western ward adn many residents complain that the council aren’t paying enough attention to their core business of keeping drains cleared and cutting gorse and broome from being overgrown so I’d ensure these are well-funded
- Paul Douglas – “Affordable Housing” for the vulnerable, & those who’ve experienced mental health problems, including help for our current shelter for the homeless. Better, proper & adequate water testing, treatment, & supply.
- Andy Foster – Half on urban design, resilience, transport, small amount on natural environment – and leave the other half in the ratepayer’s pockets
- Thomas Morgan – Emergency resourcing and or water sources research and investigation.
- Matthew Plummer – $40m would be the equivalent to a 25% rates cut – for a year! Given that I’m in favour of freezing rates I’d use the $40m to pay off our debt – it’s around 8% of our overall debt. Where is this magic money tree, by the way?
- Simon Woolf – $20 Million would go into transport improvements. Working with NZTA to provide a more resilient Petone to Queens Wharf State Highway 2. It would also incorporate a cycling and walking options, plus involve having our Hutt rail services not placed by the sea. A major proportion of the costs should be borne by Central Government, and would ensure entering and exiting Wellington will be more resilient in respect of earthquakes or storm related events. The remaining $20 million would be split between the five wards, and would fund a variety of projects including town centre refurbishments, and CBD/Suburban infrastructure needs.
Vegemite or Marmite?
- Diane Calvert – Fix & Fogg peanut butter
- Ray Chung – Marmite
- Paul Douglas – Raspberry Jam
- Andy Foster – Vegemite
- Thomas Morgan – Honey!
- Matthew Plummer – Marmite
- Simon Woolf – Marmite of course. Buy NZ, and it tastes better too!
The table above is a simple scoring system of responses against my own personal views of low rates, no subsidy for the runway, four lanes on SH1, 4 am closing, no living wage requirement and pro-fluoridation.
The scores on policy are not the only factor in deciding how I will vote. Ability to work with others, communicate, work hard etc all factor in also.
But on policy grounds Plummer and Chung score the highest. Next are Calvert, Foster, Morgan and Woolf. Douglas is well back.