Mayoral election apathy gives Celia early lead
CELIA WADE-BROWN’S grip on the Wellington mayoral chains looks tight enough for now if an informal survey this week is anything to go by.
In the run-up to this year’s local body elections, a street poll of 56 Wellingtonians indicated that Ms Wade-Brown had more than twice the number of supporters than her rivals, though most of those polled either did not know who they wanted as mayor, or did not care.
Many mentioned their opposition to a right-leaning mayor, indicative perhaps of the left-leaning tendencies of inner-Wellington citizens.
Ms Wade-Brown’s seeming popularity came despite disappointment among some about the recent failure of light rail, a proposal she campaigned on at the last election. She is now pushing for bus priority lanes to ease congestion and strengthen public transport.
It appears from responses to this quick inner-city survey that public transport will be a key issue in the election.
However, with local body electorate campaigns yet to get into gear there is still plenty of time for the other mayoral candidates to raise their profiles.
Who should be the next mayor?
Rebecca Day, 18, of Aro Valley, has no opinion. “I don’t really care.”
Kahomovai Lahi, 68 (pictured right) has no idea who to vote for.
Jim, 72 (left): “Celia Wade-Brown. John Morrison is pretty right-wing and past it now, done his dash.
Kirk Jackson, 35 (right): “Jack Yan, because he is not as bad as the others.”
Emma: “I’m not impressed with the current candidates. Hoping someone else better comes forward.”
Chris Patton, 60 (left): “I wouldn’t have a clue and it’s a waste of money as far as I’m concerned.”
Robyn Wadsworth, 50, of Island Bay: “I think she’s (Celia) all right.”
Anonymous couple: “Can I be honest? I really don’t care.” “Same.”
Fly Smith, 30s, of the Hutt Valley, has no opinion. “I’m not really keeping in touch with what’s happening in Wellington.”
“There has been no action,” says Roz. “She tries to do too many big things,” says Aileen.
Lindsay Perigo, 61, of central Wellington, has no idea of the candidates as he “can’t stand to watch the news”.
Nicholas Blackburn, of Island Bay (left) hasn’t given the election a lot of thought. “I don’t know much about politics.”
Faye Schaef, of Kingston, would vote for Mr Morrison. “I have heard him on the radio and I like what he’s been saying.”
Jordan, of central Wellington, would vote for no one specifically, as it is still too early to decide. “Celia made promises she couldn’t keep, like light rail.”
Grace Naylor, 20, of Kelburn, wouldn’t keep the status quo. “I’ve been here for three years and nothing’s really changed.”
“Politics is boring,” she says. “I don’t feel represented, so I don’t mind who wins the mayoral race this year.”
Caitlyn Hapeta: “Jack Yan sounds cool.”
Braedon McPhee, 34 (right) of central Wellington, was impressed with Ms Wade-Brown when he met her. “She seemed quite personable and intelligent.”
Barrie Davis, 58, of Island Bay, doesn’t know much about it but gets the impression the current mayor’s not doing a lot. He thinks the basics need to be given more priority. He knows the public transport system is under review but is not sure what’s happening.
“If she’s a green mayor, she should be doing more about it because reducing services won’t encourage people.”
Anonymous: “I don’t get into it. I don’t even vote.”
Rebecca James, 35, of Lyall Bay: “I think she’s done a good job.”
Hilary McLeavey, 60s, of Thorndon, doesn’t know who should be the next mayor. “I have no time for Celia or John. Jack Yan isn’t mayor material, and I have no idea who Keith Johnson is.”
Breeze O’Connor, 21, of Newtown: “Can’t say I know anything about local council.”
Matthew Earle, 26, of Brooklyn: “No idea of what’s going on.”
Derek Champion, 35, of central Wellington, has no idea who is running for mayor but says he wants “a mayor who works for the people and not out of the pockets of businesses”.
She will consult her parents for more information about other candidates.
Grant O’Connell, 68, of Mt Victoria, supports Mr Morrison. “The council needs a complete clean-out with new blood, councillors with new ideas, vision for the city and more energy.” He never had high expectations of Ms Wade-Brown and so was not disappointed when some of her proposals fell through.
“I’m not much of a mayor person,” says Schquelle Tcwharau (right) . The 17-year-old is unemployed and has had to deal with councillors coming up to him when he is on the streets. “I don’t think the council is doing a good job at all man,” he says. “They are trying to get rid of the homeless, but where are they gonna go?”
Simata Murphy, 20, of Brooklyn, supports Ms Wade-Brown because of her involvement with the Pacific community and her attendance at all major Pacific Island forums. Simata is disappointed with the lack of development of public transport. “We need more buses coming more often, and the buses are too expensive.”
Steve Harris (left), a semi-retiree in his sixties, lives in council housing and is fed up with the current mayor and council. “I am not sure who I would vote for, but not the one we have right now,” he says. “They have overspent and the public is fed up with it. There are a lot of complaints out there and people will speak up about it if they have the guts to,” he says.
Darren Bane, 45, of Johnsonville, doesn’t know who should be the next mayor, but it shouldn’t be Ms Wade-Brown. “She’s doing Wellington no favours.”
Michelle Jones, 20s, of Hutt City, is not bothered because the Wellington mayoralty doesn’t affect her. “It may affect me if Wellington becomes a ‘super city’, but until then I have no opinion on the matter.”
Helen simply responded: “Celia.”
Greg Edwards, 19, of Island Bay, doesn’t mind Ms Wade-Brown staying on as mayor. “Celia’s doing alright, better than the last, Kerry Prendergast, anyway.”
Francine Kavanagh, 30s, of Karori, is undecided, but “Celia is doing okay”.
Andrew Mackie, 38, of Brooklyn, doesn’t mind who is mayor, but he thinks Ms Wade-Brown is doing a good job. “She’s made a few good changes around Wellington.”
Tom Du Chafenier, 23, of Wellington central doesn’t follow local politics. “If I knew who the candidates were I might care and have more of an opinion.”
Wellington’s mayoralty race
The next triennial election to choose local government representatives around New Zealand will be held on Saturday, October 12. Many councils offer postal voting before that date. In Wellington City, the following people have announced their candidacy for the mayoralty:
Sitting Mayor (one term) who unseated the previous encumbent, Kerry Prendergast, in the last election by 176 votes. She was a Wellington City Councillor for the Southern Ward in 1994–1998 and 2001–2010. Ms Wade-Brown is the third woman to hold the mayoralty and is the second from the Green party to hold such spot in a major New Zealand city. She is originally from the UK, moving to Wellington in 1983.
John Morrison is a councillor at the Wellington City Council, having been first elected in 1998. He is also a board member and trustee for the Wespac Stadium, Wellington, as well as a board member and trustee for Basin Reserve Trust. He is a sports broadcaster at The Radio Network, and a sports critic and commentator at TVNZ. In the past he has been the managing director at Morrison Sporting Agencies, and he was a Blackcap between 1973-1982.
Jack Yan (right) – who ran unsuccessfully for mayor of Wellington in 2010 – was born in 1972 in Kowloon, Hong Kong and emigrated to Wellington with his parents in 1976. He has two businesses and a law degree from Victoria University. He is a type designer, publisher and businessman, who founded a fashion magazine, Lucire. He is the head of a consulting firm and a director of the Medinge Group think-tank. From March 3, 2006, he began a weekly spot on TV One’s Good Morning programme discussing men’s issues. He was a judge for Miss Universe New Zealand in 2007.
Dr Keith Johnson (left), an Independent Candidate for the Southern Ward of Wellington City Council, is an economist who worked over 35 years across 25 or so different countries on development projects and policy design overseas, and now provides advice on energy, housing, and transport issues in Wellington. He holds an honours degree and a PhD.