Below is my review of the west ward candidates, this might be the last one I will do in the series as I have a few things coming up that I need to do. I don’t live on the West side of the river but I have followed the same format as I did in the east ward candidates. They are ranked from best to worst with bold and italics representing those I would vote for bold being the maybes and the rest are the definitely nots.
I wrote this post in alphabetical order and it was so depressing, something this length would usually take me three hours to research/write but I spent near enough to eight today working on this because I kept having to go off and watch a tv show or something to keep me vaugely focused. This was because the impression I got was that the candidates were almost all aweful and at least six of them would end up on council. However when it came time to rank the candidates I realised that besides Holly Snape, who is Awesome and Martin Gallagher who is very good there were also a few decent ones hidden amongst the terrible. However there is still a considerable drop off in quality between Jaime Toko and Andrew Warren, essentially from 12 down I was really looking for redeeming qualities to make me think the candidate wouldn’t be completely destructive of where I want my city to go.
Also fewer candidates on this side of the river have significant online presences so my estimations of their policy are heavily based on environmental/sustainability/climate change groups surveys of candidates. Which means that this post has an environmental focus with very little discussion of social or economic issues, which is unfortunate but the best I can manage given the information too hand.
I hope you all find what’s below informative, comment with anything I have gotten wrong or completely missed so I can correct it.
At the first meet the candidates event I went to Holly got up and talked about people she had worked with in Melville and how despite the wonderful things they were doing they had no input into the decision making of their city. She gets how difficult it can be for people to engage with council and wants to use her experience from running a community house in helping to get council focused on people(instead of jut rates). FYI she was endorsed by Sustainable Waikato, top marks from Generation Zero and second best in the West from the environment centre. If you are interested she has a facebook page and a website with a policy page,which is a bit bland unfortunately. Holly really shines in her survey responses in the Gen Zero response she agues that the council shouldn’t just be carbon neutral they should be encouraging other businesses to be carbon neutral, promoting insulated housing isn’t enough the council should also promote waste reduction, water conservation and home grown food. City Planning and development needs to take promote alternate energy sources, sustainable urban design and better transport choices. Her Sustainable Waikato is long but she manages to put forward her support for environmental restoration, cycleways, libraries, the arts, community groups and centres, sustainable business certification, waste reduction and pest control amongst others, it is definitely worth a read.
Martin was my fourth form social studies teacher and maybe third form economics, but I wont hold that against him. When he wasn’t teaching Martin has been a successful politician at both the national and local level. He has a website which mostly focuses on how great (in its opinion) Martin is as opposed to specific policies however his desire for a conservative fiscal policy comes through. However his responses to Generation Zero and Sustainable Waikato gives an insight into his knowledge of sustainability issues. In the Gen Zero response he supports a Wof for all rental properties, safe cycleways and the city council taking a lead in ethical investment. In the sustainable Waikato response he talks about council being a role model of sustainability for citizens, subsidies for grey water systems and a heritage protection plan. The only hint of disagreement I have with him is on his efforts to raise the drinking age to 20, but hopefully this will be reflected in his support for a strong local alcohol plan.
I’m feeling lazy so here is his mayoral review again.
Dave Macpherson has put out more policy on his website than any other mayoral candidate. I don’t agree with all of it, but I do with most of his policy. I’m disappointed that there isn’t a specifically environmental policy amongst the sixteen documents he has posted to date, for some reason conservation efforts comes under the water metering policy. I’ll briefly go over his policies which I care the most about, I’m not even going to try to be complete in this case.
More community consultation, I support this but I think that consultation alone doesn’t really give enough power to the local community. Also his proposal for the Mayor to actively engage with community groups is an improvement but is still going to miss feedback from the significant numbers of unengaged citizens.
Jobs, Wages and Fair Treatment of Council Staff. Dave sees the council working towards improving the labour market in collaboration with business groups, WINZ and unions. He also supports a living wage for all council staff and a flatter pay structure. However in his policy on parks and recreation he proposes the council organising networks of volunteers to maintain green spaces, which seems to be undermining the job of council staff.
He is opposed to the sale of community assets and wants to increase the stock of social housing in Hamilton. However he is in favour of selling some commercial assets such as the councils share in Novotel and Ibis hotels. He is also opposed to water metering for non commercial users and supports water conservation measures.
His transport policy is long but very good with an focus on active(walking and cycling) and public(buses and trains) modes of transportation. The one point I will disagree with him on though is whether HCC should take over the buses from the WRC, there are significant benefits to this in terms of planning within the city but the buses are expensive to run and the city council doesn’t have a lot of money to spare. I fear that the HCC taking over the bus services would lead to a fare increase to cover the cost of running the buses.
This is more likely when we consider his rates policy which is to maintain the current land value system and keep rate increases below the local government rate of inflation. Both of which I disagree with. Land value rating less accurately rates wealth than the alternative capital value system and I believe that to pay down our debt while maintaining services let alone taking on the bus network as a new service requires more money, not a lesser or equal amount. This is his only policy that I substantially disagree with but it is fairly important to me.
The only other real complaint I have with Dave is that he has been on council for 15 years now and a lot of the things that he wants to change started after he started his watch. So if he couldn’t do anything over the past fifteen years why will he be able to next year.
Lastly on his facebook page he thinks being the first NZ councillor to use an apple mac is something to brag about.
Tureiti sounds like an awesome person judging from her candidate statement and she doesn’t mention that she won a civic award in 2010. She is currently the managing director of Te Kohao health and judging from her Sustainable Waikato response is very aware of the need to have friendly and resilient communities to create a healthy and sustainable city. She also puts biodiversity as one of her environmental concerns and expresses great support for waste reduction, renewable energy and sustainable industry development. Not surprisingly she was endorsed by Sustainable Waikato. Her response to Gen Zero was also very good, but her environment centre score was poor. Unfortunately I can’t find any of her policies outside of the environmental/sustainability sphere.
Again I’m being lazy and just putting up the mayoral analysis again.
I feel that I should start the discussion on Ewan Wilson by pointing out that he has been convicted of fraud, although he calls it misuse of forms and says that it doesn’t define him. I also feel that his policy platform is based on popularity rather than being based in a set of values. He point I’m getting at is that I don’t entirely trust him to stick to his policies, although I hope he does stick to them because the platform he is running on I find acceptable.
On his website Ewan has policies split into ‘values’ and ‘why vote for me’ sections. The first mainly covers transparency in council spending and decisions while the second is a series of statements on policy issues. In terms of rates Ewan wants to restrict rate increases to inflation although he doesn’t say whether he means CPI or local government inflation, however he does want to change to a capital value based rating system which is a big plus in my book. His policy on alcohol and synthetic drugs is also positive imo by targeting the suburban sale and distribution of these products. He is also opposed to residential water metering favouring repairing water infrastructure and education. However, I am a bit uncomfortable with the emphasis he places on upgrading the airport, he describes it as his ‘biggest priority’. I don’t doubt that an upgraded airport would get more flights and therefore money and jobs, but I suspect that there would be more effective investments that would also be carbon neutral. Flicking through his website it is apparent however that the environment and social justice issues just aren’t something Ewan feels the need to comment on.
He also has a facebook page and is actually very good at replying and engaging with visitors.
Robin ran in 2010 finishing in the middle of the pack, the policies that she puts forward in both 2010 and 2013 as well as on her website are very good. She supports a sinking lid for pokies, a regional rail network, reducing debt and community development. She did well on the Environment centre survey, I was hoping that her response to Sustainable Waikato would be more in depth but unfortunately her responses were brief although she does demonstrate that she has a basic concept and desire for sustainability.
Jamie is interesting, she works for the Service and Food Workers Union and has been involved in trying to get a living wage for council staff. On her facebook page she also seems to have a grasp of the risks of cycling. However she did not do well on the environment centre survey and her answers to the Sustainable Waikato questionnaire were very brief. I don’t really see a lot policy around but I get the impression she would be strong on social and workers issues but a bit weak on the sustainability/environment side, I really couldn’t guess how Jamie would perform elsewhere. Here is a youtube video.
This isn’t the Peter Bos who has been on council forever but instead someone with the same name who is hoping to capitalise on the original Peter Bos’ retirement. Unfortuantely I can’t find a lot online about the new Peter Bos, mostly because the internet is getting the two Peters confused. But what I do know about Peter Bos is that he is the contact person for the Waikato Cycle Action Network and knows a fair bit about cycling in Hamilton and how to fix it. From talking to him at meetings though I feel that his knowledge of the rest of council business is poor – average, this also comes through in his Sustainable Waikato response. He did do very well in the environment centre survey.
Angela is a current councillor, she is the most active of the councillors and candidates on facebook, which means there is a lot of waffle to read through before you get to any interesting policy statements. She also has a website which is full of photos but short of policies, her main focus for the next three years is a citywide synthetic cannabis ban, which I feel isn’t counterproductive as it’ll probably just drive people back to natural cannabis which is safer. Other than that her policies are about supporting increased safety, more creativity, less red tape and the ‘right’ river development.
I can find out lots about Leo, but not his views on policies other than safety is good and excessive spending is bad. The only place I have seen him put forward policy positions is in the Gen Zero survey where he is in favour of home insulation, ethical investment and reducing our carbon footprint but opposed to throwing more money at buses and admits to not having a clear understanding of climate change. So to my mind, he is kind of average through lack of information.
The link above is all that I can find about Andrew Warren, unless he is also in the Hamilton Car Club, in which case I know two things about him.
Stephen is not related to the other two Kings running in this ward, however he is closely linked with the National Party being the chair of the local executive committee. To his credit his candidate statement is actually fairly informative in that it demonstrates that his main focus is on debt reduction and he will work towards this via limiting the council to core services. His result on the environment centre survey was average-poor and he also performed okay on the Gen Zero survey, although his written responses are unclear. When I got talking to him at a meet the candidates meeting he told me at length that water meters are inevitable and that we should just hurry up and install them, which at the least speaks to me of a lack of imagination. I also asked him about cycle safety and he told me that he considered cycling but just decided to do all his cycling at the gym because of his safety concerns. So Stephen recognises the problem but offered no solution to deal with it.
Another one which I can’t find a lot about, Peter got the highest score on the environment centre survey but has also been endorsed by Ray Stark. Based on his candidate blurb he is mostly focusing on financial matters in his campaign which would explain the Stark endorsement and mean that he is probably not the candidate I would like.
Nick is the son of Paul Ravlich and reckons he will represent the working class and the young on council. Unfortunately his policies are all about cutting rates and limiting services so it seems like he actually has the interests of the old and wealthy at heart. He has a facebook page but other than a call for free parking in the CBD and calling for reduced crimes you’ll just see lots of photos of him water blasting his name into things.
Seems like an older version of Nick Ravlich but without any online presence other than his poor showing to Gen Zero. He will not support carbon neutral programmes and services over carbon releasing ones, he will not support policies encouraging home insulation (‘why should one rate payer subsidise another…’ kind of ignores the none subsidy solutions or the tenants who have no say in whether there house is insulated or not) does not support ethical investment and is only a maybe on reducing the HCC’s carbon footprint and improving our transport network.
Robert has a website which is spectacularly uninformative. That’s not entirely true, Robert seems to believe it is enough for him to demonstrate he knows things rather than having an opinion or demonstrating his ability. He lists the legislation that govern local government and an excerpt from the candidates handbook about the role of council and he has copied out the councils financial statement none of which convinces me he would be good as a councillor. His statement is bland and the only policy I actually get out of it is that he would favour local providers when contracting out services. He also ran in 2010 and came last on a ‘Labour Party (member)’ ticket and in the 2011 election as an independent.
Russelle is standing on behalf of the citizens and ratepayers association and her candidate statement only talks about rate increases and the city debt. Her SW response is enlightening, she doesn’t want to discuss environmental issues as this would be pre-empting the sustainability panel. Instead she talks about rates, the empty shops in the CBD and public art, she puts the burden for a muticultural society on ‘migrants and different ethnicities who should ‘share their festivals and traditions with the people of Hamilton.’ She decides that roads will never be safe an urges cyclists and pedestrians off them. She is opposed to water metering and supports education as the main method of water conservation which is a good but not great kind of answer. Not surprisingly she got a poor to average result on the environment centre survey.
Andrew is the elder half of the two generations ticket. He also tends to dominate conversations which counts against him in my opinion. No online presence that I can find other than the ticket website but his policies focus on keeping rates down and reducing debt, he describes himself as taking a conservative approach on social issues and Ray Stark has endorsed him. Andrew’s Sustainable Waikato response is average although he does support stormwater tanks and improving walkways and bus routes, it is clear though that he feels the most important thing he can do to enhance sustainability is keep rates down.
Josh is the son of Andrew King and is mostly trying to campaign to represent young people. He has an active facebook page but my impression of him both there and at meetings is that he is very reluctant to answer questions on policy, probably because his knowledge level is poor. He points to his ticket website for his policies and there we find that it is all about keeping rates down and lowering the debt and cutting costs in services provided, also of interest is that he wants to remove the 40 km/hr speed zones and states that ‘Roads are for vehicles traffic’ as justification.
Roger Stratford strikes me as being weird, in his candidate statement he supports cutting rates while paying a living wage to all workers and contractors and allowing easter trading, which is kind of a weird combonation. Over on is facebook page he can’t seem to make up his mind whether he is in the ACT party or if he will be Labour’s Hamilton East Candidate in 2014. What I do know however is that he did poorly in the Gen Zero survey and came last in the environment centre questionnaire.
Michael is on the New Council – New Direction team and his candidate statement is exactly what you would expect from a neo-liberal. I have discussed it at length in my previous post when talking about Karina Green and Basil Wood so I’ll avoid an actual analysis except that they are awe full and illogical. However I will point out that they are being either deliberately ignorant or stupid when it comes to financial matters. In an note on their facebook page they rubbish the councils claims that they will be ‘in the black’ by 2017, they go on and on and on about how much debt the council is and will be in and therefore the claim that it is in the black is rubbish. However they completely miss the point that the council was referring to a return of operating surplus by 2017 ie their debt levels will be decreasing (black) rather than increasing (red). So I have to conclude that not only are that lot illogical they are also either thick or liars.
Tim Wikiriwhi has a blog, he is a self described christian libertarian. So I’m opposed to fairly well everything he stands for. At the moment most of his blog space seems to be dedicated to demonstrating that it is impossible for someone to be good without God, by taking a fairly illogical view of morality as originating solely and absolutely from the christian god. Also a very poor response to Gen Zero.
Steve is on New Council – New Direction and is a Climate Change denier which is all I need to know. But for laughs here is his Gen Zero response. ‘Steve McLennan is concerned climate change may be another Chicken Little situation, as people have been announcing the end of the world for thousands of years, and he believes we sometimes don’t learn from history’