Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Who I'm voting for: Wellington City Council

I liked last year's local body elections better. A friend of mine was running for mayor and someone pied Kerry Prendergast. Although I'm stillenjoying STV, because I like complicated voting systems. But even STV doesn't make godawful candidates any more worth voting for.

The two most important issues for me are public transport and council housing. I want public transport to be frequent and free.* I want council housing to be upgraded, accessible (I don't think they could have made council housing less accessible if lack of access had been a design specification), income-related rents, and plentiful. Unfortunately most of the candidates don't appear to care about any issues, let alone the ones that are important to me. Luckily I don't have faith in the electoral system - or this might be depressing.


I'm not voting for Mayor this time round. As a friend of mine said - there are a couple of people there I could rank 10th or 11th, but putting anyone higher up the list is very problematic. It's all irrelevant because Kerry Prendergast is going to win anyway, and the only reason to vote would be to boost the ego of one of the candidates, which really isn't a priority for me. If I was going to rank the candidates it might look something like this:

15. Nick Kelly
25. Bryan Pepperall
35. Helene Ritchie
45. Ray Ahipene-Mercer
60. Nick Wang
80. Carl Gifford
100. Jack Ruben
120. Paul Bailey
3,000. Rob Goulden
300,000. John McGrath
300,001. Kerry Prendergast

Lambton Ward

People I will rank:

1. Stephanie Cook - easily the least awful of the current councillors in any ward. Although looking at her blurb I probably wouldn't have voted for her if I didn't know who she was. She seems to have fallen foul of the general local body blurb writing problem - a complete lack of content or policies in favour of stupid buzz words.

2. Callum Strong - His blurb is better than almost everyone else's in that he mentioned policies, and one of them was public transport, which I agree with. But I'm mainly voting for him because a friend of mine took his photo.

People I'm not ranking and why:

Iona Pannet - The main problem is that she hates poor people. The second problem is that I hate the Greens, mostly because they hate poor people (although the fact that Russel Norman believes Clint Rickards over Louise Nicholas certainly doesn't help).

Ian McKinnon: In a race full of business candidates he is the businessiest.

Alick Shaw - When the fundies had their pro-smacking march I went to the counter demonstration, so did Alick Shaw. I almost left. I can't believe he's running on a Labour city-vision ticket - I would have thought they had more principles than to associate with him. Given the level principles that I think the Labour party has, that's an insult indeed.

Michael Durrant - He thinks his qualifications include his background in: marketing, advertising, real estate and recruitment - if only he'd been a cop as well I'd have had five reasons not to vote for him.

Frank Lawton - The only thing he stands for is spending the council's money better. Would anyone run on spending the council's money worse? Spending money better is almost certainly code for subsidising businesses and hating poor people.

Ed Van Son - Even if I didn't know he was a sleazy asshole - the hippy shit in his blurb would rule him out straight away, One World indeed.

Still to come - Wellington Regional Council and Health Board.

* Although it has occurred to me that free public transport would mean two of my friends would lose their jobs - sorry.


  1. I'm surprised that you wouldn't vote for the Nick Kelly for mayor, and I'd be interested as to why not. I would have thought his platform was fairly close to your own politics, no? If so, isn't it rather unprincipled not to vote for him? Or am I missing something here?


  2. Do you know that Iona hates poor people, or is it axiomatic that Green Party activists hate poor people?

  3. Anonymous10:21 pm

    Nick Kelly's Marxism is all good, but does he have to be so... unreconstructed? He sounds like he's reading *directly* from the Communist Manifesto.

  4. Anonymous10:36 pm

    As for Alick Shaw, I'm not sure how his selection happened, but I can tell you every Labour Party member I've talked to is absolutely spewing about it. I mean, Labour's a pretty broad tent and that's one of its strenghts, but Alick Shaw belongs well outside.

  5. George - Not all Green Party activists hate poor people, I'd even go as far as to say that not all Green party MPs hate poor people. But I'm fairly certain Iona considers increasing costs to poor people an acceptable side-effect of so-called Green policies - such as increases to rubbish collection, privatising parking buildings and so on.

    Bryce - Whether or not it's unprincipled not to vote for the person whose platform most matches your own probably depends on what your principles are around voting.

    To be blunt I don't really have principles around voting - generally I think many leftists, particularly radicals give too much importance to voting. I see voting, when I do it, as a pragmatic act. I organise, I protest, I write - that's how I do my politics. I don't see voting as a way of making a statement about where I stand, there are much better ways of doing that. So I feel no principled obligation to vote for someone to show where I stand.

    Anonymous - Given what Labour party members are prepared to put up with that's a sign of just how awful Alec Shaw is.

  6. If you haven't found it already, a useful resource for picking district health board candidates is a questionaire done by the Nurses union asking candidates their views of issues like contracting out and staffing levels, its available here.

    (hat tip No Right Turn)

    Voting seemed less exciting for me this year as well, though it was kinda cool to be able to vote for myself :-)

  7. Byron - I think one of the reason things are less exciting this time round in Wellington is that last year was our first STV election, so that made it quite unpredictable.

    Although you do have Kyle Chapman running. Possibly I'd rather not have any excitement and live in blissful ignorance of how many of my neighbours would vote for Kyle Chapman if given the opportunity.

    Thanks for the link from NZNO - unfortunately they don't have anything from Capital and coast. I was almost geeky enough to go to the Public Health Associations forum for the DHB candidates, but didn't make it. They were supposed to be putting out recommendations (They're not entirely reliable because Helen Clark is a life member. But this particular forum was going to be chaired by Aliastair Duncan of the SFWU, which I think would ensure it answered the first question most of us have for the candidates).

    I'm going to hold off on writing about health boards until I find out if I can get more information than the blurbs.

  8. Anonymous1:43 pm

    Nick Kelly was pretty poor as VUWSA President; he's not a great leader, aside from genuinely reading word-for-word from the Communist Manifesto. I wouldn't vote for him either.

  9. Anonymous2:42 pm

    Do you have any evidence that Iona 'hates poor people'? Sounds to me like the usual unsubstantiated slander ultra-leftists spin about the Greens. Isn't affordable, available efficient public transport something which, at a time of rising oil prices, those with less disposable income need much more than those rich folk with their shiny SUVs?

  10. "Possibly I'd rather not have any excitement and live in blissful ignorance of how many of my neighbours would vote for Kyle Chapman if given the opportunity."

    On that note, congrats to Byron for beating Kyle in The Press' poll the other day (Kyle got 0%, Byron got 1%). That made me smile, much more so than the last general election where Kyle beat whoever the WP candidate was (Phil? can't remember).

  11. Anonymous6:40 am

    Hi Maia

    In response to your concerns about me, let me respond as there are some factual inaccuracies contained in your post:

    I have now released 4 campaign leaflets, one devoted entirely to public transport, walking and cycling, another looks at making housing more affordable in Wellington. All of my leaflets contain policies about the issues that are important to you.

    On public transport:

    I support a free inner city bus service and have promoted it in 3 of my 4 campaign leaflets. I have also advocated for less spending on roading and more on public transport. I agree that public transport should be frequent and think that at least fares should be lowered. Entirely free services are not affordable at the moment, someone after all has to pay for them somewhere down the line, but there is considerable scope to reduce fares if we reduce the roading budget.

    I have long campaigned and advocated for a stop to more road building in Wellington and for more money to be put into public transport. Unlike Callum, I opposed the Inner City Bypass and was involved with Campaign for a Better City that led the protests against the project for a number of years.

    On housing and poverty:

    Your claim that I hate poor people is untrue and is not based on any evidence. I am deeply concerned about those on low incomes in our city and have spent many years trying to eradicate poverty in this city through my work on the boards of Downtown Community Ministry and the Wellington Housing Trust. Both organisations seek to house either the city’s rough sleepers or those on low-middle incomes. I have actively advocated more funding from central and local government to support 3rd sector housing organisations to build more housing, incentives for developers to build more affordable housing and for the Council to build more social housing as there will be shortfall in the provision of such housing over the next twenty years.

    I am very supportive of any attempt to upgrade housing stock and believe that rents should be income related.

    Environmental costs:

    I generally believe in taxing or charging for ‘environmental bads’, but do not believe in any way that those on low incomes should be penalised financially and that alternatives should be made available so that everyone can reduce their impact on the environment. Subsidies are appropriate where financial hardship would be experienced with additional charges or taxes.

    I do support reasonable costs for rubbish delivery and don’t believe it should be free to dump waste. Being poor or on a low income (as I am myself) is not an excuse to waste. My concern for the environment is partly out of concern for the poor – those in the Third World suffering the most if we do not curb our consumption or reduce our greenhouse gas emissions in the First World.

    I support a free and expanded recycling scheme. As I’m sure you know there is not that much need to throw away much with good recycling facilities and reduced consumption.

    I am not a strong advocate for the retention of car-parking buildings. An excellent public transport system would mean that most people could reduce their car use dramatically. I also believe that there should be subsidies for those on low incomes to use public transport.

    I hope that you will consider voting on policy, rather than because you have a friend who took another candidate’s photo.

    Iona Pannett
    Lambton Ward candidate

  12. Anonymous10:05 am

    Great stuff Iona -You'll get my vote.

  13. Anonymous1:47 pm

    Nick was actually a very good president of VUWSA - I was a student at the time and thought he ran the place well.

    Sounds alot like Maria votes for people who are her friends, and doesn't really care a great deal about the politics they put forward. Also she enjoys protesting but its not much deeper than that.

  14. Anonymous2:51 pm

    Congratulations Iona Pannett on a well-reasoned response. I know at least half-a-dozen people who have been door-knocked by Iona, she turns up at the public meetings, publishes her phone number and email, and hands out detailed policy to anyone who'll take it. It seems extraordinary that she should be attacked here (or anywhere) for things she has not said, and does not support. In response I talked to a few people yesterday and got her 12 more votes!

  15. Anonymous3:03 pm

    Go Iona! Stay staunch - you're doing a great job.

  16. Maia: If there are people you DON'T want to win you really should use all your preferences. STV allows you to vote against people quite effectively.

    I'm putting Iona (who hasn't bothered setting up a myspace for her campaign) last as the 'fresh thinking' slogan is just farcical coming from a party that has the same unchanging policies ever election. It might have been fresh for the Values Party but not anymore.

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