LeviathanOctober 13, 2019
New political landscape
So, provisionally, we have a new Mayor in Wellington – also a new Mayor in Lower Hutt (but sadly not in Upper Hutt) and in Porirua – and nobody knows yet about Kapiti. Things are exciting in Porirua with Anita Baker’s win there, and even more so in the Hutt with the very young Barry Campbell winning there, casting out the harrumphing old dinosaur Ray Wallace there, but the main thing is what it will mean for Wellington if Andy Foster does retain the leadership (not at all 100% certain at this stage apparently).
First things first though: the dysfunctional Wellington Regional Council. Do we have a better Council now with this lot being elected in?
Adrienne Staples (Wairarapa constituency)
Thomas Nash (Wellington constituency)
Glenda Hughes (Wellington constituency)
Roger Blakeley (Wellington constituency)
Daran Ponter (Wellington constituency)
David Lee (Wellington constituency)
Ken Laban (Lower Hutt constituency)
Prue Lamason (Lower Hutt constituency)
Josh van Lier (Lower Hutt constituency)
Ros Connelly (Upper Hutt constituency)
(two more seats still to be confirmed apparently – Kapiti and Porirua)
Post-Script: Jenny Brash and Chris Kirk-Burnnand elected from Porirua-Tawa, while Penny Gaylor was elected from Kapiti Coast.
Thomas Nash is in there, which is great – young, intelligent, and keen on a good Public Transport solution to Wellington. Glenda Hughes also in there, but as she drives a huge yank tank, despite living in the heart of the city, I’m picking she will be more keen on roads rather than rails. Lee, Ponter, Blakeley: we’re relying on you guys to actually get the GWRC working coherently this time. Are there enough people with good heads on their shoulders in there this time? We’ve got rid of the walking disaster area that was Laidlaw, but I think the new Council has firmly got the message of what their number one action must be: FIX THE BUSES…!
Wellington City Council votes are interesting too:
Mayor: undecided, but a choice between Lester and Foster.
Jill Day (Northern Ward)
Malcolm Sparrow (Northern Ward)
Jennie Condie (Northern Ward)
Diane Calvert (Onslow-Western Ward)
Simon Woolf (Onslow-Western Ward)
Rebecca Matthews (Onslow-Western Ward)
Iona Pannett (Lambton Ward)
Nicola Young (Lambton Ward)
Tamatha Paul (Lambton Ward)
Sarah Free (Eastern Ward)
Teri O’Neill (Eastern Ward)
Sean Rush (Eastern Ward)
Fleur Fitzsimons (Southern Ward)
Laurie Foon (Southern Ward)
Intriguing to me is that Chris Calvi-Freeman has been cast out of the nest, which is a shame. Given that he was the only candidate with any actual real live experience on Transport, I think it was crucial that he was re-elected – but evidently, his electorate thought otherwise. Is it really just as simple as that he said a plan to put a pedestrian crossing on Cobham Drive was a sensible thing to do – and his voters disagreed with him? Is their need to drive fast along there the greatest factor? That, to me, means there is only one answer: build a bridge over the highway. We now have (nearly there) a safe cycling and walking path along the edge of Evans Bay at Cobham Drive, but Wellington urgently needs a safer means of crossing that damn road, and clearly a pedestrian crossing proposal does not go down well with Miramarmians.
Nicola Young has been retained in Lambton Ward which is irritating, as she is bit of a self-entitled old bore, but maybe she appeals to the plentiful retirees in central city apartments. Of more interest is Tamatha Paul, young, fresh, and up till now experienced only in student politics. Will she find WCC politics more mature than VUW? Or less? Most notable of all in Wellington: heaps more women than men, which is a pleasant change. Enough of males and their stupid posturing. We just have to hope that the women can get together and get along and get things done, under the guiding hands of our yet to be decided leader: Foster or Lester?
Let’s have a look at Andy Foster’s stated priority policies:
• Complete the City bus priority network. I’ve led delivery of almost every existing bus priority lane and traffic light in the city so far and battled to get the bus priority network completed. It is worth looking at who voted against my earlier proposals for bus priority investment.
• Support the newly elected GWRC to fix their bus system. We cannot do their job for them, but we can work with them, advocate and make suggestions. I am now working with GWRC on resurrecting the Airport Flyer and on trialing frequent shuttle services around hill suburbs to connect with local railway stations where Park and Ride is always full.
• Safer speeds in the Central City, Suburban Centres and around Schools – also allows e scooters more safely on the road.
• More walkable, bikeable city – for example raised platforms for improved safety and accessibility, safer speeds, dedicated space for walking and biking/scootering.
• Traffic reduced in the Central City and reduced emissions from idling traffic (far less efficient than moving traffic) by early completion of Mt Victoria tunnel and Basin Reserve solution. Mt Vic tunnel to provide for quality walking and cycling as well as vehicles
• Advocate for cordon pricing and long stay parking levies – Council needs legislation to allow this. Both encourage behavioural change and would take cost off rates. You can largely choose when and how to travel. You cannot choose to avoid direct or indirect rates.
• Support for electric vehicles and e bikes – I am exploring the potential of Council acting as a bulk buying agent for EVs and E Bikes to reduce their cost to pre-paid up purchasers.
• Continue to expand car share including into major apartment complexes as a way of reducing the need to own your own car. I continue to encourage more affordable car share vehicle choices. (Audis are expensive !)
And just as a reminder of what he said on the campaign train, here is Foster’s plan for the first 150 days:
Andy’s plan by the end of March 2020 is to:
- Establish the new Council including councillors’ portfolios.
- Review delegations with particular focus on resource consent processing.
- Appoint a new Chief Executive (current CEO leaves at the beginning of April).
- Agree a ‘New Deal for Transport’ with Government to advance Basin and Mt Victoria tunnel duplication.
- Undertake public consultation on new bus priority programme.
- Have Airport Flyer resurrected or plan to resurrect agreed (restore to real time information / snapper). This will be a small part of reducing traffic volumes to the Eastern suburbs.
- Central City Speed Limits and associated engineering consulted on and agreed.
- Consult on a new Spatial Plan. Identifying where growth should best occur in the city, considering infrastructure provision, resilience and character.
- Agree a way forward for Shelly Bay and the Miramar peninsula fully involving the community.
- Establish an urban development agency or urban development agency relationship with Government. A UDA is a tool for Council to be more actively involved in delivering housing and urban renewal. It was consulted on in 2016, and ready to go then.
- Address Council housing portfolio sustainability.
- Agree a solution for the Central Library and timeframe to reopen.
- Agree a draft proposal(s) for Civic Square for consultation with the Wellington public. Opportunities for substantial building changes, opening buildings onto the Square, rooftop gardens, wider city to sea bridge.
- Agree terms with VUW and NZSO for the School of Music.
- A central city park acquired.
- Decision on Karori’s St Johns site and funding for Community Events Centre.
Economy, Arts and Culture
- Restore free Sunday parking.
- Establish an economic sounding board.
- Establish an arts and culture sounding board.
- Commence review of City Economic Strategy.
- Commence review of City Arts and Culture Strategy.
- Receive the Venues Review – will identify issues with size, affordability and availability of venues.
- Agree a draft Climate Change response action plan for consultation.
- Agree to take Happy Valley proposal to further engagement – as well as providing some housing proposal has significant benefits for the natural environment and for sports including eliminating sports ground charges for football and cricket codes, 2 new artificial turfs and citywide improvements to cricket wickets and outfields.
- Miramar declared predator free.
- At least one acquisition for the Outer Green Belt.
- Miramar heritage park established.
- Waste reduction education programme implemented.
- Carbon offset deal arranged for landfill.
- E vehicle purchase scheme agreed.
- Agree a Draft Annual Plan setting out a lower rates trajectory than currently proposed
- Held forum on reducing or eliminating future building consent liabilities (weathertight buildings).
- Rates taskforce established.
“It is ambitious, but Wellingtonians want action, and so do I.”
Post-script: Just for reference, here are the results for Mayor of Wellington 2019:
Andy Foster 26,707
Justin Lester 26,204
Diane Calvert 11,138
Jenny Condie 6,890
Conor Hill 4,568
Norbert Hausberg 590
Ajay Rathod 414
Don Newt McDonald 324
Andrew Grantham Cox 149