I follow local body politics quite closely, and also am fortunate to know many Mayors and Councillors personally. For those who may find my views useful, here’s my picks for Wellington City Council.
This is an easy one. Incumbent Kerry Prendergast deserves to be re-elected. Kerry has managed to significantly reduce much of the awful acrimony which surrounded the previous Council, by being able to work across ideological divides with most Crs. She leads well, has articulated a good strategy and is a very pleasant positive person so I will vote Kerry No 1.
Wellington is actually very fortunate to have had a string of very good Mayors during my lifetime. From Sir Michael Fowler to Kerry, the only bad one was Belich in the 1980s.
The only major issue I have disagreed with Kerry on is spending $500,000 on a stock exchange sign. She will, I predict, win more first preferences than her five rivals combined.
Another easy choice. The reduction in council size from 19 to 14 (which is a good thing) means this wards goes from four to three and one can be finally rid of Helene Ritchie who is so destructive and unable to work with others she got sacked as Deputy Mayor in the 1980s by her own (then) Labour team. Has also tried to stand for NZ First, and for Mayor around seven times.
So I would rank Ritchie 9th of nine, and give the top three ranks to the 1-2-3 for North team of Ngaire Best, Robert Armstrong and Ian Hutchings who have worked hard and well for the ward and the city. And again, knowing them personally, a damn nice group of people.
Another easy call. Incumbent Councilors Andy Foster, John Morrison and Judy Siers should be ranked in the top three, and Jack Ruben should be ranked 6th of six. Foster is very experienced and hard working. Morrison grandstanded a bit in the previous term but has settled down well this term.
This is my actual ward. My 1st preference will go to new candidate, Ian McKinnon. McKinnon is a very impressive figure who will I am sure be an excellent Councilor and may even be Mayor one day.
My 2nd preference is Alick Shaw. Alick has been a good Deputy Mayor, and takes a sensible stance on most issues. As a former Labour candidate pur polices are far from similar, but I find Alick a likeable competent guy.
My 3rd preference is Stephanie Cook from the Alliance. Again her politics are far from mine, but she takes her duties very seriously, works hard with community groups and doesn’t overly grandstand.
4th will probably go to Rosamund Averton. I know little about her, but I like what she says in her profile.
Number one should be my good friend David Major. David (and his family) is a lovely caring guy who is an ideal Councilor, as he combines a sensible attitude with real compassion, reflecting his years of community work for the Salvation Army and other groups.
Ray Ahipene-Mercer is pretty well regarded for the work he does, and worth supporting also.
I would rank bottom (6th) Mr Phil Sprey, who also stood for Council in 2001.
This ward has only two councilors (the rest get three). Celia Wade-Brown and Sue Piper are both good Crs who can work as part of a team, and put a lot of energy into their roles.
Celia is a Green and Sue a former PSA official, so again politics differ, but I try to support the best people, regardless of party, at a local level. Celia is a former Councilor of InternetNZ, and is well informed on Internet issues (we have WCC to thank for Citylink).
I would rank Langi Sipeli highly also. Langi is active in community activities, and would contribute a lot.
That magical last and eighth spot should be reserved for Bryan Pepperell.
Do make sure you vote. It only takes a few minutes to fill out the ballot paper.