2013 Hamilton Local Government Series – East Ward Candidates

Below I have a review of the candidates in the East Ward of Hamilton, it isn’t as thoroughly researched as I would have liked but there are 26 candidates so you’ll have to take it easy on me. Apparently almost all the candidates have facebook pages but I wasn’t able to find them all so I chose to pretend that they don’t exist. I also might have missed a website/blog or two but I hope not

I have ranked the candidates as if this were an STV election, but because we are still using FPP it actually gets more complicated. The first three candidates I will definitely be voting for, the next five I might vote for. This is because under FPP(bloc) voting every time you vote for more than one candidates your votes count against your favourite candidate. For example if I vote for only Anjum Rahman and Ross Macleod and Ross wins by a single vote I have effectively voted my favourite candidate out. That situation almost never happens but it is still fairly good practice to only vote for candidates you are sure are good.

You may also have noticed that the five maybes are chasing after a maximum of three votes. I think I might actually e-mail or facebook those five with a few issues I care about to help me make up my mind.

But now for my opinions of the candidates starting with the exceptional Anjum

1.Anjum Rahman

Anjum is an accountant who does a lot of work for a wide variety of community organisations and she sees running for council as an extension of the work she has been doing in the community. She has both a website and facebook page which contains an extensive policy document. There is nothing in this policy document that I disagree with, which isn’t surprising since I read it and offered a bit of feedback before it was finalised. A few points that will help you get a feel for the position she occupies

‘We support the right of tangata whenua to have elected representation at Council level. We will promote initiatives that will build Maori participation and engagement.’

‘We will uphold the principles of public service in our Council and Council businesses through responsible and sustainable social, financial and environmental approaches to the management of the city.’

‘Quality provision for walking and cycling and public places is an important component of an enjoyable, liveable city.’

There is a lot more but for the purposes of brevity I will finish by saying she has been endorsed by Sustainable Waikato, has a you tube video and go over to her website and read one of her campaign updates if you would like to see how effective a candidate she is.

2.Ross MacLeod

This is Ross’s second time running, his tag line is ‘silly campaign; serious candidate.’ I asked him at the last candidate meeting why a silly campaign, I feel that calling it silly helps to undermine his electability. However he is right to point out that if he weren’t silly he would get no attention. Which is a real shame because after a quick look at his website it is apparent that he has a lot of really good policies including but not limited to rates rebates for energy efficient homes, a living wage for workers and worker led efficiency improvements. He also has a facebook page and a youtube channel with a number of videos, I’ve embedded my favourite.

3. Jamie Strange

Jamie has a campaign website, facebook page and blog if you are interested in reading more about him. Jamie’s slogan is families – finance -future, he is strongly supportive of HCC as an amenity provider to ensure that all the residents of Hamilton have access to quality facilities and events. As for formal policy he has signed on to the same policy platform as Anjum above, however despite sharing the same broad values I feel that Jamie take them in a different direction to Anjum. Jamie seems to focus mostly on family engagement and involvement with the HCC and its services, which isn’t quite where I’m at politically. There are also a few instances where I feel he hasn’t quite thought through some of his public statements most notably when he proposes a $5 charge for non residents at the Gardens with a library card as proof of residency. However I note that not all residents have a library card and that those less likely to have one are probably also those who are most in need of free and easy leisure activities for themselves and their families. I would much rather prefer a theft proof donation box outside the gardens as a cheaper and (arguably) fairer alternative to a $5 fee on non residents, or simply leaving it up to ratepayers. So Jamie comes in third in my rankings, he also has a video.

4.Philip Yeung

Philip has spent the past 12 years working in community development for the HCC and so has an extensive knowledge of one of the core areas of the council and its processes. I was initially excited about Philip running as although I was not aware he existed a lot of people were very excited about him on council, however after reading his Sustainable Waikato response I have gone off him a bit because he doesn’t put forward a very strong environmental ethic and seems to favour user pays systems as a solution to a number of problems. However he clearly sees and understands the needs of Hamilton as a multi cultural society which is something the HCC really needs so he is still near the top of my list. He has a facebook page if you would like to read a bit more about him.

5.Rex Bushell

Rex works on the Mangaiti gully restoration project in Rototuna, he has a website where he puts forward a number of policies. Most of them things I support like dedicated cycleways on arterial routes or ambivalent about such as a trade school. However there are a few points I disagree with, he states that our current growth in water supply is unsustainable and immediately leaps to the need for a business model to solve the issue. He also over estimates the power of the city council, dictating the structural design of businesses as well as what is on their menu and directing the application of police resources. I suspect that Rex will be shocked when/if he finds himself on council, but overall other than his profit based solution to problems he seems to be fairly interested in social and environmental sustainability.

6.Matiu Dickson

Again Matiu has almost no online presence, however he has spoken at public meetings I have been to and is the only person I have heard addressing the role that council can fill in relationship to Hamilton Māori, although other candidates do have policy in this area. He also has been a councillor over in Tauranga.

7.Vaughan Mikkelson

I cannot find out much about Vaughan which is a shame because I suspect he might be a fantastic councillor. He has a facebook page where he puts forward three policies, limiting rate increases, better accessibility for people with disabilities and improved CBD safety. While I don’t care for the first and ambivalent to the third the second policy is very important and is something that I doubt many candidates would put in their top three priorities.

8.Peter Humphreys

Peter Humphreys is the manager of the christian men’s night shelter and has clearly spent his life trying to make the world better for people less fortunate than himself. I say this because he doesn’t put up policies but instead chooses to share stories about who he is and what he does, he says ‘My reason for this is to show that it is not policies that are going to represent the voters, it is the people elected, their values, background and their reason for standing.’ Which honestly makes me a bit nervous as I feel exactly the opposite over elected officials, I like to know what I am voting for, who will do it is secondary. When he comments on issues like the pensioner housing he is clearly opposed to the sale but other than that I can’t tell where he stands other than that he cares for people, which in practice can take many forms. For instance I note he scored lowly in the environment survey questionaire.

9.Ian Hanley

Ian Hanley is a former Anglican minister and former Police senior sergeant. He is opposed to water metering instead favouring more direct methods of water conservation. He also supports pollution controls on the Waikato River and investing in human capital to advance Hamilton’s economy.Take a look at him in the mayoral debate.

10.Adrienne Hagan

Adrienne struck me as being a little bit arrogant in person, but I have read her submission to Sustainable Waikato and I was fairly impressed. Adrienne clearly has a grasp of some of the transport and environmental issues that Hamilton faces and of the solutions that HCC could implement to resolve them. However her facebook page doesn’t offer a lot of information on where she stands outside the environmental realm.

11.Gordon Chesterman

Gordon is the current Deputy Mayor, however he doesn’t seem to have bothered with anything online and I have not seen him at any public meetings I have been to. Based on what news articles I can find and his blurb he mainly seems to be defending his efforts over the past three years and so I would have to assume he is for a continuation of the status quo.

P.S. There seems to be a glitch on the vote page which thinks he is running for the Shirley-Papanui Community Board down in Christchurch.

12.Charlie Gower

Charlie Gower has both a website and a facebook page. He has some policies on his website and he clearly excels in stating his position in a few sentences. He supports security for those in social housing but places emphasis on working with community groups in providing care, he wants greater separation between cyclists and motorists and wants to see bus fare reductions for repeat users. Which all sounds fairly good, but he is also clear he will change his mind on all these policies should enough people disagree.

13.Margaret Forsyth

Margaret is a current city councillor, last time she ran on the rates control ticket but to her credit she abandoned them once she realised what they stood for. She seems to work hard but perhaps not well, a number of councillors claim that they have not been able to discuss the bus services with the WRC, however Margaret Forsyth is the co chair of the joint passenger transport committee and seems to have performed poorly in passing information between that committee and the HCC and vice versa. Also when I spoke to her last year about climate change she seemed to have a poor understanding of the issue and solutions.

14.Javed Chaudhry

Javed is a candidate that has no online presence. However he was nominated for volunteer of the year in 2010 which makes him better than all the other candidates I know next to nothing about.

15.David Natzke

I can find nothing about David Natzke other than that he made a joke in January about Hawkes Bay people, speed dating and sheep. I was at a public meeting he was at but can’t remember a thing he said, so sorry about that.

16.James Casson

James has a facebook page, with a single like and no policy or comments at all. He is a former police officer and other than that I know nothing about him or what he stands for.

17.Possum Allen

I can’t find a facebook page nor website for Possum, nor have I heard him talk at any public meetings. So I don’t have much to go on when ranking him, he is a minor celebrity being the guy with the chainsaw at rugby games so he will get votes from name recognition however his statement in the voting papers is the usual bland fare.

18.Tony Dixon

I cannot find out a lot about Tony Dixon, he doesn’t appear to have a website or facebook page so I have to base my opinion on him on the one time I have seen him speak and the blurb he provided to the council. Tony Dixon has a background in finance and insurance, however when questions move away from the strictly financial he seems a bit out of his depth, he struggled to effectively answer a question on how he would support a multi cultural Hamilton. I have also heard that he struggled to answer a question on how he would improve sustainability in Hamilton at the environment centre meeting. Outside of reducing the debt he doesn’t seem to have much policy. However he ends both the speech I heard and the mayoral debate with a statement about individual freedom and how minorities take away rights from individuals. Which I struggle to get my head around exactly what he means by that but it does strike me as being a very neo-liberal/free-market fundie/leave our privilege alone position.

19.Rob Pascoe

Another one who its hard to find information on, he has a facebook page although the only policy he seems to have put out is that he doesn’t like the cost of implementing a living wage for council staff. His Sustainable Waikato response is interesting, he applies a minimalist approach to sustainability such that when questioned about what the HCC should do regarding sustainable water management his response is ‘At least their minimum legal requirements’ likewise when discussing cycle and pedestrian safety his solution is ‘…education (for both motorists and cyclists/pedestrians).’ All in all I think Pascoe is not the councillor for me.

20.Roger Hennebry

Roger is a long time councillor who was aligned with rates control in the last election but not this time around. I cannot find out much about where he stands this time but I assume he is still focused on keeping rates down to the exclusion of pretty much anything else.

21.James Parlane

James is currently a Waipa District Councillor, he is running for Waipa mayor and a seat on the Ruapehu District Council. His main policy is limited spending and a reduction in debt, although I will note he cost the city council thousands of dollars in court over parking tickets that James had received on at least two occasions. He has since been disbarred from being a lawyer.

22.Jason Howarth

Jason Howarth is a self described conservative and his motto appears to be ‘if you look after business, you look after the community.’ So I’m guessing he is a bit of a neo-conservative rather than a traditional conservative. As far as I can tell he doesn’t have explicitly developed policy but instead he focuses on reducing debt, economic growth and social responsibility without explaining how these will come about. However he does have a youtube video.

23.Karina Green

Karina Green is on Gary Mallett’s ticket, I read a bit about why she is running it was all about how rate increases are unfair the debt is too high and regulations on builders (and probably others) are too restrictive. Of course the difficulties associated with paying off the council debt while lowering debts and presumably providing infrastructure to unregulated developers were unexplored.

24.Basil Wood

Basil is a member of new council -new direction and like the rest of the ticket seems entirely focused on the past, I summarise his three main focuses as … ‘Rate increases are too high, also the debt level is too high, past councils have been shit.’ Note that other than not being shit -my words not his- there is no real idea of how they are going to reduce rate increases and debt at the same times. Considering the current plan requires 3.6% rate increases per annum (iirc) to keep our debt stagnant this is kind of a significant point that must be addressed. In his why I’m running document he mentions that he reads Austrian school economists, for fun, which is unsettling for at least two reasons. The first being that he has the same sense of fun as myself and the second that he is most likely a raving neo-liberal.

25.Garry Mallett

Former president of the ACT party, blergh… He was also once criticised for making a vomiting motion while referring to homosexuality, I only do that when referring to ACT party folk. And yes he is on the new council new direction ticket, which is odd considering he was a councillor in the past. Perhaps a better name might be, old council, even older direction.

26.Jack Gielen

At the last candidates meeting I was a he did an Elvis impersonation and when asked about the local alcohol policy said that kids need to get high on Jesus. You can read more about him in my review of his Mayoral candidacy. For now I’ll just say that he thinks Jesus will return in 2017 and put Jack in charge.

2 Comments

  1. Daphne bell said,

    September 22, 2013 at 08:41

    Charlie Gower is not a current councillor. –that”s John Gower. Javed Chaudry was not Volunteer of the Year, but was nominated. Basil Wood was IT manager at HCC for a time.
    There’s a difference between having a FB page and having an informative FB page. Many thanks for your analysis.

    • September 22, 2013 at 14:38

      Cheers thanks for replying, I’ll go and fix the things you pointed out. I can’t believe I got John and Charlie Gower mixed up I was looking at his photo thinking he looked different to how I remembered.


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