WCC Candidates’ Eastern Ward

There are six candidates seeking three positions. Four 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?

  • Sarah Free – 3%
  • Chris Calvi-Freeman – Inflation rate only. Any extra would require specific project by project justification.
  • Robert Murray – CoL or the LG cost increase whichever is less
  • Rob Goulden – In line with current inflation rate

DPF comment – Three candidates saying no more than inflation and one saying no more than 3%.

Do you support the proposed runway extension for Wellington Airport?

  • Sarah Free – No
  • Chris Calvi-Freeman – Not answered but see question below
  • Robert Murray – No
  • Rob Goulden – Yes

DPF comment – Free and Murray are against the runway extension while Goulden is in favour. Calvi-Freeman is depends.

What is the maximum contribution ($ or %) from toward the runway extension you would vote for?

  • Sarah Free – should only contribute in proportion to its shareholding in WIAL ( 34%)
  • Chris Calvi-Freeman – WCC’s percentage share, but only after a satisfactory business case showing a good return.
  • Robert Murray – $0, the idea of a company is that it takes the risk not the shareholders.
  • Rob Goulden – Subject to Resource Consent approval. Prefer funding by Infratel rather than WCC

DPF comment – Free and Calvi-Freeman say any WCC funding should be in proportion to shareholding. Murray against any contribution and Goulden prefers Infratil funding.

Can you give an example of current WCC spending that you would vote against in future?

  • Sarah Free – I didnt vote for spending on the runway resource consent, Frank Kitts park changes, changes at McAllister Park to accomodate professional sport, and the first Convention Centre proposal. I will prioritise the basics first and demand robust business cases for economic investments.
  • Chris Calvi-Freeman – Chinese Garden on Frank Kitts Park.
  • Robert Murray – 10 yr plan, LGWM, UDA, Convention Centre, Stadium upgrade, suburban cycleways. 30km limit, traffic calming and dissuasion features, traffic lights.
  • Rob Goulden – Money given to Call Active $300,000 which was lost with no results and company going into liquidation

Do you support four laning (through additional tunnels) the Mt Vic and Terrace tunnels at an estimated cost of $250 million?

  • Sarah Free – yes to the tunnels, as long as they also provide high quality walking and cycling infrastructure and facilitate public transport. Id also support some roading upgrades, but i would want to see how improvements fit into the big picture solution.
  • Chris Calvi-Freeman – In principle, but only on condition of full NZTA budget, access to traffic modelling, environmental analysis etc.
  • Robert Murray – Yes, asap noting its NZTA funded
  • Rob Goulden – I think Wellington needs a Central road and this could be done depending on options to trench and what happens with the Basin Reserve

DPF comment: All seem to be supportive.

Do you support a change to the structure of local government in the Wellington Region, and if so to what?

  • Sarah Free – No,apart from perhaps some amalgamation of the wairarapa Councils. I think we have had that discussion and amalgamation was rejected by the people. However, we should look at more joined-up delivery of services and investment across the region
  • Chris Calvi-Freeman – No, except I think the 3 Wairarapa district councils should probably amalgamate. I want GWRC and WCC to work more closely together for the common good.
  • Robert Murray – Not for Wellington City. Don’t mind if Hutt or Wairarapa merge
  • Rob Goulden – Favour collaboration between Councils and shared services and cost savings

Do you support the current closing times for CBD bars of 4am. If not, what time would you prefer?

  • Sarah Free – Yers. I have been very forthright in my view that Council should not waste time and resources trying to come up with an alternative alcohol policy, unless we have very convincing local evidence that the 4am time is not working.
  • Chris Calvi-Freeman – I have insufficient information to make a judgement on whether the bars should close earlier but I wouldn’t want them to stay open later than 4am.
  • Robert Murray – No. If 2am is fine for LA it should be fine for Wellington
  • Rob Goulden – Happy with the status quo. Would like to see more enforcement of unruly behaviour and licensing. Not enough personal responsibility for behaviour at present.

DPF comment: Free and Goulden support 4 am. Calvi-Freeman possibly does and Murray wants 2 am.

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?

  • Sarah Free – No. The Living Wage is currently $19.80. I support Council paying this to its directly employed staff and some contractors.
  • Chris Calvi-Freeman – Yes
  • Robert Murray – Not until they can be assured ratepayers have similar income levels
  • Rob Goulden – No

DPF comment: Calvi-Freeman in favour of forcing contractors to pay the living wage. Free in favour for some contractors. Murray and Goulden against.

Should fluoridation of the Wellington city water supply continue?

  • Sarah Free – Yes, however, recent international eveidence has suggested the amounts we use may be too high, leading to problems like fluorosis (mottling) of teeth, thyroid and bone disorders.
  • Chris Calvi-Freeman – Yes
  • Robert Murray – Yes
  • Rob Goulden – Yes we should do everything to keep people healthy and fit.

DPF comment: All candidates in favour of fluoridation but Free concerned about the level.

If Council had an additional 10% revenue, or $40 million, what would be your priority spending areas?

  • Sarah Free – I’d put in really decent bus shelters city wide and have more affordable off-peak fares and student discounts. id also build more Council housing and use some of it to accomodate potential first home buyers at reduced rents for a specified time to help them save a deposit towards buying their first home.
  • Chris Calvi-Freeman – Improvement to roads, junctions, cycleways; resilience measures.
  • Robert Murray – Ensuring infrastructure services are robust and earthquake and sea level rise ready
  • Rob Goulden – Local infrastructure or retire Council debt

Vegemite or Marmite?

  • Sarah Free – Marmite
  • Chris Calvi-Freeman – Vegemite
  • Robert Murray – Peanut butter – crunchy
  • Rob Goulden – I like honey because its such a great health food


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 Goulden scores the highest. Then Free and Murray.

I didn’t get a reponse to this survey from Simon (Swampy) Marsh but I know him and his views well and if I was in Eastern Ward I would vote for him also.

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