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Thursday, 21 February 2019 01:51 pm

Russell and Barbara marshall their mayoral candidacy

marshallMAINPORIRUA voters will get two Marshalls, not one, if they choose Russell Marshall as mayor of the city.

The former cabinet minister says his wife Barbara would build up a role for herself as mayoress.

“Barbara has been a considerable asset in my previous roles,” says Mr Marshall, whose campaign slogan is “A Mayor for the whole city”.

The former Labour government education minister, High Commissioner to the UK, chancellor of Victoria University and chair of the Tertiary Education Commission is one of nine candidates standing for the mayoralty in Porirua in the local government elections.

Mr Marshall was the minister responsible for establishing Whitireia Community Polytechnic in 1986.

He has maintained a long association with the polytech through the Whitireia Forum, and his wife Barbara has been a staff member.

Mrs Marshall joined the staff of Whitireia when it first opened, became involved in the Second Chance Education programme and later taught a publishing course.

The decision for Mr Marshall to stand for the mayoralty was made jointly by the couple because of the mayoress role she would fill.

He believes health and education are high priority issues for which Porirua’s mayor would need to advocate.

While it is not the council’s role to directly help schools improve their performance, he would like to see more support given to boards of trustees in lower decile schools who may not have the resources or personnel to run a school effectively.

Mr Marshall is also concerned about children’s health in certain areas of Porirua.

“A Capital and Coast health report said that some children’s heath was third world,” says Mr Marshall.

Another major issue for Mr Marshall is how the council relates to the wider community.

He says there is a lot of apathy to the elections and is looking at different ways of engaging with the community.

Mr Marshall would like to have Saturday meetings in the suburbs to find out how locals would like to improve their community. He is keen to further develop a village strategy approach in Porirua.

Revitalisation of the city centre is another theme in Mr Marshall’s campaign, as he views the area under the canopies as “flat”.

He admires Wellington’s urbanisation of the city centre and can see the desirability of people living close to city amenities.

Housing is another area he would like to address.  Mr Marshall is concerned about the lack of maintenance carried out on state houses and absentee landlords.

Mr Marshall thinks the council needs to pay attention to the three divisions of population in Porirua.

“One half is largely European, 22% Maori and 27% Polynesian.”

He would like to ensure all cultures have a voice and for it to be recognised that Pacific Islanders have diverse skills.

“Their skills are not to be relegated to just rugby and quartets,” he says.

Safety is also a concern. Mr Marshall intends to accompany the co-ordinator of Midnight Express, Kim Barnden, to check on young people’s safety at night in Porirua.

Mr Marshall has leased office space under the canopies to aid public relations and to provide a central area for committee meetings.

Helen Douglas is the office manager who is working on the campaign on a voluntary basis.

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is a Whitireia journalism student.
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