The list of candidates for Wellington Regional Council are here.
If you think the Regional Council has been doing a great job, then voting for incumbents is sensible.
However personally I can’t think of a Council that has failed more badly in the last three years, than the Wellington Regional Council. The busastrophe was an unforced error which has caused huge problems for tens of thousands of commuters.
Also it has been revealed that regional rates may need to increase by 15% next year. Who can afford that, if this is what the status quo means.
Some problems are not of a Council’s own making. For example you can’t blame WCC for the closure of the Central Library due to earthquake damage. You can blame them for not having plan to rebuild or replace it, but not for the initial problem.
The busastrophe was entirely caused by the Regional Council. The bus system was actually working very well, and they introduced changes which were a disaster. And since then it has got worse with services cancelled. They seemed to have agreed to a contract where the bus operator can’t be sacked for non performance. They haven’t sacked any senior staff responsible. Basically there has been no accountability.
Sacking the incumbent Councillors is the only way the public can show that their performance has been unsatisfactory and send out a message to other Councils that if you do this badly, you’ll lose your jobs also.
So even though some of the individual Councillors are people I like and respect, I still think they all have to go. You can’t pick and choose when it comes to such a monumental failure. Only a clean sweep will send the right message.
Three of the five Councillors for the Wellington Ward have seen the writing on the wall and bailed. Roger Blakeley and Daran Ponter are standing again. A vote for them, will mean a vote for the status quo.
The five candidates I will vote for are as follows.
- Glenda Hughes. Glenda is just what the Regional Council needs. She is skilled in crisis management (and the buses are in crisis) and can drive change, and make sure staff are accountable. If she is elected, I hope she is appointed Chair (she is an experienced Chair). I would be confident about a turnaround under her leadership.
- Phil Quin. Phil is a former Labour staffer who quit Labour over the racist Chinese surnames fiasco. Why I’m endorsing him is because he is a skilled political operator, and that means like Glenda he knows how to work governmental bureaucracies to get things done.
- Gavin Bruce. The Regional Council does a lot of work in the environmental area, especially impacting our rural land. Gavin, as a farmer, has first hand experience of what is and is not practical, and that experience would be invaluable to the Council.
- Lesleigh Salinger. Lesleigh has been Chair of Karori Residents Association, the area most affected by the bus disaster. I think she will be an effective Councillor focused on fixing our broken transport system,
- Anand Kochunny. Anand has spoken well at MTC meetings and the values he expresses of transparency and accountability are much needed.
Also worth considering are Troy Mihaka and Philip O’Brien who both seem credible candidates.
For those in wards outside Wellington City, my advice is to not vote for the incumbents unless the alternatives are truly dire.
Next post will be on the Capital and Coast DHB.