Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Wellington local election voting guide; Onslow-Western Ward

3 councillors are to be elected from this ward, there are 12 to choose from.  So surely someone must be decent?

Well that is true.

Phil Howison deserves your positive vote to be ranked number 1.  He is on the Affordable Wellington ticket and is both intelligent and a thoroughly approachable, thoughtful, hard working and polite young man who is focused on keeping spending down by focusing the Council on its core services.  He wants processes streamlined and is opposed to "unnecessary restrictions" on businesses and residents.  Yes he was an active member of Libertarianz and was a candidate, but he's watered down his views somewhat (in fact rather too much, I'd like to see Phil push much harder for cutting rates and cutting local government).  Notwithstanding that, I endorse him as someone who has a clear position on ensuring Council minimises costs upon ratepayers and residents, and concentrates on doing its core business well.  Rank 1

The rest? Hmmm well...


Malcolm Aitken: Is at least honest in declaring he is from the Labour Party, so he's solidly on the left. He claims to have new ideas, but he wants the Council to get bigger, to "bring council services back under democratic control", by which he means he wants cozy in-house Council provision of services, with no competitive delivery.  His ridiculous website has a font for Mr Magoo.  He wants a comprehensive spending review, but that's so he can spend more money, not cut rates. He wants "cheaper bus fares" but is standing for the wrong Council on that one. He is attached to the light rail fetish, then his dogs policy is also written in Mr Magoo font. Look if you can't even organise your website properly, why should anyone trust you to spend their money or to effectively own businesses? (and no, you can't have in house delivery of road maintenance, it's against the law).  Don't rank

Dan Coffey:  Well I like one thing about Coffey, he likes the Basin Reserve flyover which doesn't cost ratepayers a cent.  Does he have other policies?  Who knows.  At best he's harmless enough, he says on one forum (PDF) that he wants to reduce council debt.  That puts him in the "might shrink council" camp. The Green/left are disparaging about him because he doesn't support their agenda so... Rank 2

Jo Coughlan: is an incumbent councillor.  Her website is her campaign flyer. However, her profile doesn't inspire me, mainly because she goes on about things that isn't the role of Council. "Widespread broadband"? Has she not noticed Wellington has had a city-wide hybrid fibre-coax network for over a decade?  Direct flights to Asia?  Well nice to have, but it isn't up to you unless you want to bribe airlines to come here with taxpayers' money.  She is fine on transport, but "invest" in a convention centre and concert venue? She is a strong advocate of the Town Belt, but it would be nice if she at least challenged the intensification philosophy of the Council.  However, she's intelligent, isn't on the left and so may well be deserving of a ranking of 2nd, if only because there is a reasonable chance she'll veto stupid ideas. Rank 3

Sridhar Ekambaram: Seems like a nice enough chap, but he claims car dependence is on the rise, which of course is leftwing Green talk for "people are choosing to drive more and we disapprove".  I'll excuse his non-PC statement that he has been "engaging with local Maoris".  He seems to want the Council to do more, in R&D (!), green technology and innovation, and of course he is keen on walking and cycling, to make the city more resilient in natural disasters.  Um no.  Don't rank

Andy Foster: has been in Council for a long time, and has tended to be in the centre (though with a more leftwing past).  He is an amiable, open-minded chap (I've met him a couple of times) who is willing to listen. Unfortunately, his website is empty under "making a difference".  He is big on transport and thankfully supports the strategic road projects that wont cost ratepayers anything, and isn't a light rail nut.   Rank 4

Gill Holmes:  Um what? Sorry Gill I can't picture the vision, or figure out what the banner of stewardship, connectedness, interdependence and hope means.  No website, so not enough information to rank. To say you've "visited" the sites of (PDF) the Green Party and Conservative Party doesn't give me confidence. Don't rank

Arie Ketel:  A profile of a family man with a wide range of interests (he does photos for the Dom Post), but what will he do? On Vote.co.nz he talks of "building strong families" which isn't really the role of council.  He will be an advocate for the poor, which usually means he wants to direct ratepayers' money to them. However, his response to a question on rental properties was more promising, as he wanted to avoid regulatory measures.  He wants to restrict vehicle access to the CBD, and his Twitter account (with very few followers) shows little other than he is keen on expensive wacky ideas (although not much more than brainstorming).  He's hard to judge, so I'm not going to take a big risk. Rank 6

Emma Macrae:  Her background isn't unreasonable, but there is a paucity of information about her.  Not enough to rank.  Don't rank

Hayley Robinson: She wants libraries, suburbs, small and medium businesses and "affordable housing" to become higher priorities.  How?  She is a former teacher.  However, it is the vote.co.nz page that reveals all I need to know about why not to vote for her.  She supports Labour candidate Malcolm Aitken, she supports eco-loon Paul Bruce for the Regional Council (nice chap who practices what he preaches, but shouldn't have power over others).  She talks about effectively "renationalising" bus services, tired old ideas about time-shifting commuting by promoting shifting office hours, building more Council housing.  She is hard working, and trying hard, but I see little sign she will contain the growth of Council spending or cut rates. Her interest in small local business implies her wild dreams of spending more money mean everyone else has to pay.  Don't rank

Martin Wilson: Green in everything but name. He exaggerates climate change, and he is heavily into the fictional construct called biculturalism.  He is big on public transport and cycling, although again the former isn't primarily a City Council function.  He has shown no interest in anything other than climate change, so expect him to increase rates and push for bylaws and spending to push his green agenda.  Don't rank

Simon Woolf: of course famous in Wellington for photography.  He seems reasonable, wanting a "Wellington lottery" for fundraising.  He is the only candidate openly talking sensibly about the airport, by being cautious on a runway extension that goes beyond putting Cobham Drive in a tunnel.  He supports good quality roads, and disaster preparedness, although I'm not entirely happy about him wanting an international Photographic Festival, for obvious reasons.  The range of coverage about him suggests he would keep spending under control and is pro-enterprise, and suspicious of those wanting a share of council spending. However, his (minor) apparent rent-seeking makes me uncomfortable so  Rank 5

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