How I Voted in Wellington’s Local Body Elections, and Why

Voting in Wellington’s local body elections closes on 12 October – and postal votes need to be posted before 8 October to make sure they arrive. I live in Pukehīnau /Lambton Ward and have recently voted in that ward, for Wellington Mayor and for the Wellington Ward of Greater Wellington Regional Council. Below are my thoughts on good people to vote for in those three races.

The main issue I voted on is support for stronger action on climate change – both reducing emissions and preparing Wellington for the effects of sea level rise, more flooding etc. 60% of Wellington’s emissions come from transport, which makes your Regional Council vote especially important, as they are responsible for land transport in the Wellington region.

If you want an explanation of how the STV voting system used in Wellington works, read this. You should keep ranking candidates until you get to the point that you can’t tell them apart any more.

Wellington Mayor: The 3 best candidates on climate action are Conor Hill, Jenny Condie and Norbert Hausberg. Of the 3 candidates most commentators regard as likely winners, I would rank Justin Lester ahead of Andy Foster, and Diane Calvert last. She is endorsed by the Wellington Party and wants “four lanes to the planes”. Don’t believe her answers on candidate scorecards – look at her actual policies. Also, the Wellington Party is a National Party front – as the Nats are blocking effective climate action nationwide, I ranked Wellington Party candidates last in all cases.

Justin and Andy have pros and cons on climate action. Justin has got it badly wrong in my view in supporting housing development at Shelly Bay and supporting a Wellington Airport runway extension – both major developments at or just above sea level, and both bad ideas in other ways too.

But as Justin is better on low-carbon transport overall – putting walking, cycling, better public transport and mass transit ahead of building more road capacity – and has generally delivered on other issues important to me, I gave Justin a higher ranking than Andy, who is promoting building more roads.

Pukehīnau /Lambton Ward [3 to be elected]: I gave my top 2 preferences to Green candidate Iona Pannett and Independent candidate Tamatha Paul (who are already working together well – check out their joint campaign video!).

Lee Orchard or Brian Dawson might be worth your 3rd ranking: Brian has been good in candidates’ meetings, but I have been less impressed with his performance as a Councillor. Nicola Young was the only Wellington councillor to vote against declaring a Climate & Ecological Emergency – sorry, Nicola, but for that I ranked you last!

Wellington Regional Council [5 to be elected from Wellington Ward]: This top 4 stood out for me: Roger Blakeley, Thomas Nash, Victoria Rhodes-Carlin, and Daran Ponter – the first 3 especially are strong on meaningful climate and environmental action, and Daran deserves credit for fronting on bus issues when other Regional Councillors wouldn’t.

Roger has a great deal of experience, is committed to getting light rail for Wellington, and has shown an ability to get good things done. Thomas and Victoria are outstanding new candidates who would bring energy, commitment, knowledge and diversity to a Council that has frequently lacked those qualities.

Jill Ford, David Lee, Yvonne Legarth and John Klaphake are all worth serious consideration for your fifth spot and the preferences that follow that. Jill is great on promoting active modes (cycling and walking), and David Lee, who’s stepping down from the City Council at this election, has done good work on strongly opposing the proposed airport runway extension, and other climate action.

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