WCC Candidates’ Survey – Lambton ward

There are eight candidates seeking three positions. All eight candidates 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?

  • Troy Mihaka – I would like to see Rates increases capped at inflation.
  • Mazz Scannell – CPI.
  • Tony Jansen – Peg any increase to the rate oif inflation
  • Brian Dawson – I don’t have a figure in mind, as it will depend on what the needs are. I am comfortable with similar amounts to this year IF there are good reasons for needing the money
  • Dave Gee – I will not vote for any increase.
  • Nicola Young – Freeze at inflation
  • Milton Holland – Up to three per cent. Since 2000  NZ CPI  inflation has averaged 2.7% (according to Reserve Bank information).
  • Iona Pannett – I won’t commit to any increase or decrease until we have undertaken consultation with the community and discussed what the priorities will be for the next three years. If the community wants cuts in Council spending, I will support those but want clear feedback from them about what should be cut.

DPF comment: Only two candidates have said they would have a cap – Brian Dawson and Iona Pannett. Holland has a 3% cap. Four candidates (Mihaka, Scannell, Jansen and Young) want it no more than inflation and Gee would not vote for any increase in rates at all.

Do you support the proposed runway extension for Wellington Airport?

  • Troy Mihaka – No
  • Mazz Scannell – Yes
  • Tony Jansen – No
  • Brian Dawson – No
  • Dave Gee – No
  • Nicola Young – No
  • Milton Holland – No
  • Iona Pannett – No

DPF comment – Seven candidates are against and only Scannell in favour

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

  • Troy Mihaka – Zero Dollars. As it stands, I am opposed to the funding of the runway extension. Until a solid business case has been brought forward, showing a clear return of investment for Wellington, at which point I will review my opinion.
  • Mazz Scannell – 33% of Infratil’s contribution
  • Tony Jansen – Nil. It is Think Big 1980’s lunacy!
  • Brian Dawson – My ‘no’ vote above reflects my concern over the lack of a robust business case thus far. In the event such a case is presented I would be willing to consider funding to the same percentage as the council’s stake in the airport company
  • Dave Gee – Zero. There is no demand from airlines, Infratil aren’t interested in putting in their share (66%), and frankly I don’t trust the numbers that are being promoted by the current council.
  • Nicola Young – 34%; in line with ownership
  • Milton Holland – Nil, not as matters stand because a business case has not been made. Airlines haven’t committed as long haul passenger demand is said to be  insufficient (and air freight, mostly cut flowers, is  too costly), while the majority shareholder in Wellington Airport, Infratil, doesn’t want to pay its proportionate share of the cost  (which would mean ratepayers subsidising them).  (I’d like a Golden Gate Bridge spanning the harbour from the Miramar Narrows  across to the other coast and access to south Wairarapa, with the airport to be located there, but that will remain a fantasy.)
  • Iona Pannett – Given I do not support it at this current time, I do not believe that the Council should make a contribution.

DPF comment – Mihaka, Jansen, Gee, Holland and Pannett against any contribution, Scannell, Dawson and Young favour in line with shareholding.

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

  • Troy Mihaka – I would have voted against the budget increase for the construction of the Movie Museum. If the building designers already are having trouble creating something iconic, but within budget, I am concerned this may lead to additional costs during construction.
  • Mazz Scannell – Island Bay cycleway
  • Tony Jansen – Runway & Harbour Channel Dredging.
  • Brian Dawson – Not as such, although I have concerns about the commitments to the Chinese Garden for example. I would also like to see a suitable remuneration policy adopted which sets clear connections between top and bottom wage earners.
  • Dave Gee – Runway Extension. Movie Museum and Convention Centre. Doing up the Town Hall. Corporate Welfare (e.g. Paying Singapore Airlines to fly here). Poorly Designed Cycleways. And for the record, Light Rail and Pedestrianising Lambton Quay.
  • Nicola Young – Revamp of Frank Kitts Park ($5.5m = 90% of this year’s general rates increase)
  • Milton Holland – Frank Kitts Park redevelopment (a waste of $5 million ); a proposed Oceanographic Centre (aquarium), unless a significant contribution is forthcoming from some  body like NIWA or Victoria University; the secret development funding for corporate welfarism.
  • Iona Pannett – Under the Local Government Act, we are required to keep an open mind before voting so I won’t answer a question about what I would vote for and against but I do have concerns about the runway extension, Frank Kitts Park upgrade and money being used to support liquor bans.

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

  • Troy Mihaka – I do. I believe that adding capacity to these tunnels will be the best way to alleviate traffic congestion at these points
  • Mazz Scannell – Yes
  • Tony Jansen – Partially. Not wedded to the government’s ideological fixation with roads
  • Brian Dawson – Not at this stage. I would need to see the outcomes of the Get Wellington Moving work currently underway, and would prefer to have some real-world trials of cheaper and more regular public transport so we can get a better idea of how that might impact on vehicle numbers.
  • Dave Gee – Yes. Although as a State Highway I would expect the government to cover much of the cost. But the council needs to be counted on as a reliable partner.
  • Nicola Young – Yes
  • Milton Holland – No.  Rapid rail would be a better choice.
  • Iona Pannett – No, the projects are both environmentally and economically unsustainable. The amount you have given is incorrect. The cost will be much more (according to NZTA’s own estimates, the Mt Victoria tunnel is already priced at over $400m, both projects also have BCRs of less than 1). Fiscal discipline needs to be exercised in the transport area, something the government has failed to do over the Roads of National Significance programme.

DPF comment: Mihaka, Scannell, Gee and Young in favour. Jansen partiallu supportive. Dawson, Holland and Pannett opposed.

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

  • Troy Mihaka – I am not in favour of the “Super City” style of government for Wellington. I would, however, consider the amalgamation of some of the smaller city/district units within the region, such as the Wairarapa Councils.
  • Mazz Scannell – Yes, collaboration on on service provision eg water mamagement
  • Tony Jansen – No. And thats no to a Super City too.
  • Brian Dawson – Not at this stage. The public have clearly spoken against it and I would want a democratic process before any changes were considered
  • Dave Gee – No
  • Nicola Young – Abolish the Regional Council, which I have described as ‘the Malvina Major home for retired politicians’. Establish an integrated transport authority.
  • Milton Holland – No.  I don’t support the Government’s Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2) which would enable the Local Government Commission   to impose council-controlled organisations on local authorities, a kind of back door way of amalgamating local authority services. We already have some shared services in the Wellington area that have been  voluntarily entered into, such as through Wellington Water.
  • Iona Pannett – I do not support a super city but will support smaller scale amalgamations if they are community driven. Otherwise, working together across the region has proven benefits and with time, I expect to see more benefits eventuate in the transport, water, economic and waste areas particularly.

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

  • Troy Mihaka – For now, yes.
  • Mazz Scannell – No. Closing should be at the discretion of the proprietor
  • Tony Jansen – Yes. And cut back on the number of liquor shops in the city
  • Brian Dawson – I am interested in looking at options and definitely need to see some actual (rather than anecdotal) data before committing to a position. As an inner city resident I am comfortable with the current arrangements
  • Dave Gee – Yes
  • Nicola Young – Yes – the police must not dictate licensing policy
  • Milton Holland – 4am for the “entertainment precinct”, 3am in the rest of the inner city.
  • Iona Pannett – Yes, at 4am as it is the default closing time set by Parliament and it is a compromise between differing views on what is an appropriate time. Over time, I hope that we can develop a more sophisticated drinking culture so this question becomes irrelevant.

DPF comment: No candidate is saying there should be an earlier closing time. Scannell thinks that there should be no mandated closing time (yay). Jansen, Gree, Young and Pannett support 4 am. Holland wants 3 am for some outlets. Mihaka and Dawson are somewhat equivocal.

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?

  • Troy Mihaka – I think it depends on the business. I believe that all larger businesses should pay their staff a Living Wage, and that we should be working towards all businesses being able to provide that wage. But for smaller tender offers (for example, grass cutting, weed spraying) I would not want to eliminate local Wellington small businesses from being able to apply.
  • Mazz Scannell – No
  • Tony Jansen – Yes absolutely. I support the Living Wage.
  • Brian Dawson – Broadly yes, in terms of what they pay their staff for work done in relation to the WCC contract. I am a strong supporter of the Living Wage.
  • Dave Gee – No
  • Nicola Young – No. It’s not for WCC to dictate how businesses should operate.
  • Milton Holland – The living wage, currently $19.80, should apply.
  • Iona Pannett – Ideally I believe we should be paying all contractors the Living Wage (not currently at $20 an hour), but want further legal advice and debate at Council before making that commitment.

DPF comment: Jansen, Dawson, Holland and Pannett support the living wage for contractors. Mihaka supports it for larger contractors. Scannell, Gee and Young opposed

Should fluoridation of the Wellington city water supply continue?

  • Troy Mihaka – Yes
  • Mazz Scannell – Yes
  • Tony Jansen – Yes
  • Brian Dawson – Yes
  • Dave Gee – Sure
  • Nicola Young – Yes – but this is now a central government matter
  • Milton Holland – Not essential— fluoride is an inorganic industrial chemical of dubious merit, and brushing and flossing  one’s teeth and avoiding sugar is more important. Chlorination, however, is essential as it prevents cholera and other health issues (but is sometimes overdone and taints the water, especially in New Plymouth).
  • Iona Pannett – Yes

DPF comment: All candidates in favour of fluoridation except Holland.

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

  • Troy Mihaka – The construction of new homes in our city
  • Mazz Scannell – Infrastructure – sewer pipes, storm water and the repacement water tank for the hospital
  • Tony Jansen – Get the old Town Hall renovated and open.
  • Brian Dawson – Social housing and the Te Mahana Project focused on ending homelessness.
  • Dave Gee – I don’t have any pet projects I want to make you pay for. I’d cut rates.
  • Nicola Young – I’m committed to freezing the rates; next would be paying off city’s $500 million debt.
  • Milton Holland – Investing in light rail,  more expenditure  on water supply and drainage infrastructure (including faultline crossovers), support for helicopter services for civil defence purposes, but  otherwise reducing debt.
  • Iona Pannett – Affordable housing, it is unacceptable that part of a generation of New Zealanders are being priced out of the market and belive that the government has failed to show leadership in this area.

Vegemite or Marmite?

  • Troy Mihaka – Vegemite
  • Mazz Scannell – Marmite
  • Tony Jansen – Vegemite of course…Marmite. Yuk!
  • Brian Dawson – Marmite
  • Dave Gee – Marmite
  • Nicola Young – Vegemite
  • Milton Holland – Neither. Prefer hummus.
  • Iona Pannett – Vegemite

DPF comment: Four for vegemite, three for marmite and one for hummus


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.

Young, Gee and Scannell are the candidates I most agree with. Mihaka and Jansen a bit behind them. Then Pannett, Dawson and Holland.

The scores on policy are not the only factor in deciding how I would vote. Ability to work with others, communicate, work hard etc all factor in also.

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