Here's the Island Bay Healthy Streets voting recommendations for the 2022 Wellington City Council elections
Got your voting papers? This is going to be a tight election so make sure you vote and encourage everyone you know to vote. In addition to posting your vote here's a list of drop-off locations around the the city, including supermarkets and libraries. Easy! Drop off locations
Here's the recommendations. First, a caveat - these are progressive recommendations for progressive voters. This is an important election for Wellington. There has been significant progress in areas such as housing and transport over the last three years which needs protecting. Wellington is a pretty progressive town but it requires people to vote and to encourage other friends and family to vote, especially the younger voters, students and renters who stand to benefit most from more housing, better transport options and finally tackling an infrastructure deficit that previous generations and councils have allowed to build up while they enjoy artificially low rates.
Party tickets are also really important this year. The standard of the independent candidates is generally pretty poor. Many of them seem to be running solely on a sense of grievance with nothing more to offer than cliches about 'listening to the community' (which means listening to the people they agree with), 'sensible spending' (which means spending on the things they agree with) and magically reducing rates while also fixing infrastructure (spoiler alert - that won't happen).
A significant number of the independents don't seem to have engaged in local politics before and most don't appear to have ever made a submission on a council consultation. For example, it really doesn't look good to be complaining about rates, or a lack of planning, or a lack of consultation when you never made a submission during the council's Long Term Plan process i.e. the consultation on the plan that determines what our rates will be.
Many candidates don't seem to have any real appreciation of how local government works or how they can effect change with just one vote at the council table. Some of the promises being made by independents are ridiculous and sorry but any candidate claiming they will be able to lower rates , or even hold them at current levels, is lying to you. Rates have been too low for years and now we have no choice except to play catch up.
In contrast, both Labour and the Greens have put out very clear, comprehensive and progressive Wellington Local Government policies that their candidates are obliged to support:
Labour Wellington Local Government Policy 2022
Green Wellington Local Government Policy 2022
The fact that party candidates have already been vetted during selection processes and that you can expect to see a degree of co-ordination at the council table gives voters a level of reassurance that the independents just can't provide. There may be times in the future to be more sceptical of party candidates but this election definitely isn't it. As a general rule I am including the Labour and Green candidate in the top 3 ranking in every ward.
The Labour and Green party tickets have much more comprehensive and progressive policies than the independents
Remember: Wellington City uses the STV system where you rank all the candidates in order and you cannot hurt the chances of your favoured candidates as long as you rank them above your less favoured candidates. Read more about STV here.
Candidates have been assessed using the following criteria:
Finally, this election is too important to Wellington to be pulling any punches so no apologies from me for being as frank as possible. Here's the recommendations with a brief comment about each set:
Rank 1: Tory Whanau
Rank 2: Andy Foster
Rank 3 or 4: Paul Eagle/Ellen Blake
Rank 5-8 (in any order you like): Don McDonald, Ray Chung, Chris Dudfield, Kelvin Hastie
Rank 9 (last): Barbara McKenzie
Comment: Tory Whanau is the only progressive choice for Mayor. She has the freshest and most positive vision for Wellington, is strong in some key policy areas such as transport and has the advantage over Andy Foster and Paul Eagle of not having been on the council for multiple terms already and not having to accept some accountability for why we're in the position we're in now. I've already outlined why I think Paul Eagle is not the best choice for Mayor and I think Andy Foster gets the #2 ranking because although he and Paul are both relatively conservative candidates at least with Andy you still get a competent bureaucrat. Ellen Blake is probably the best of the rest although she has strong NIMBY leanings. I outlined in this Mayoral candidates meeting review why Ray Chung, Chris Dudfield and Kelvin Hastie are all problematic candidates and Barbara McKenzie needs to be avoided altogether as a Trump supporting anti-vaxer. Don McDonald is just Don.
Rank 1: Jenny Condie
Rank 2: Ben McNulty
Rank 3: Robyn Parkinson
Rank 4: James Sullivan
Rank 5-10 (in any order you like): Raveen Annamalai, Rachel Qi, John Peters, Tony Randle, James Sales, John Apanowicz
Comment: Jenny Condie is the outstanding candidate in Northern and a member of the Fab 5 current councillors that we need to bring back. Ben McNulty (Labour) and Robyn Parkinson (Green) then get the nod due to their progressive party platforms. Robyn Parkinson just edges out the very progressively minded James Sullivan based on her work with the Tawa Community Board. While there are some other candidates with strong community links they are mostly conservatives who have tied themselves to either the Paul Eagle or Andy Foster independent-but-not-really tickets and should be avoided.
Rank 1: Rebecca Matthews
Rank 2: Lachlan Patterson
Rank 3 or 4: Bob Mason/Alexander Garside
Rank 5-10 (in any order you like): Ray Chung, Diane Calvert, Kush Bhargava, Kelvin Hastie, Ryan Bothma, Heather Baldwin
Rank 11 (last): Barbara McKenzie
Comment: Rebecca Matthews (Labour) is the clear #1. She's probably the strongest current councillor on increasing housing supply and is a member of the Fab 5 we need to get back on council. Lachlan Patterson (Green) provides a much-needed younger voice in Wharangi. The only other obvious progressives are Bob Mason and Alexander Garside who I find hard to separate so take your pick for the 3rd spot. Diane Calvert is conservative as hell and has shamelessly pitched her tent in the Eagle camp for no better reason than she knows he won't do anything 'too hard' which suits her reactionary agenda. Ray Chung and Kelvin Hastie are both running for Mayor but are grievance candidates and not even fit to be councillors. The others seems pretty anonymous, have never made submissions before and didn't fill in the IBHS or Vote Climate surveys, although Heather Baldwin has good community connections. Barbara McKenzie needs to be ranked last again as a Trump supporting anti-vaxer.
Rank 1: Tamatha Paul
Rank 2: Afnan AL-Rubayee
Rank 3: Jonathan Markwick
Rank 4: Iona Pannett
Rank 5: Ellen Blake
Rank 6-9 (in any order you like): Nicola Young, Zan Rai Gyaw, Jane O'Loughlin, Karl Tiefenbacher
Rank 10 (last): Nicholas Hancox
Comment: Tamatha Paul (Green) is the outstanding candidate in Pukehīnau and another member of the Fab 5. Afnan AL-Rubayee gets the nod at #2 as the Labour candidate and someone with good community connections. The #3 ranking here is probably the closest call in this whole exercise. Jonathan Markwick is young but holds very progressive views as seen in his previous submissions to council and responses to surveys. That means he pinches the #3 ranking from the very experienced Iona Pannett who can still be relied upon to vote progressively on just about everything but housing. Ellen Blake is probably the best of the rest although she has strong NIMBY leanings, as does Jane O'Loughlin. Nicola Young is deeply conservative and needs to go after a triennium spent moaning and voting against anything remotely worthwhile. Zan Rai Gyaw and Karl Tiefenbacher are just grievance candidates. Nicholas Hancox should be ranked last as an anti-vaxer and participant in the Feb protest at Parliament.
Rank 1: Teri O'Neill
Rank 2: Luana Scowcroft
Rank 3: Sarah Free
Rank 4-6 (in any order you like): Steph Edlin, Ken Ah Kuoi, Nathan Meyer
Rank 7: Tim Brown
Rank 8: Aaron Gilmore
Rank 9 (last): Rob Goulden
Comment: Teri O'Neill (Labour) is a member of the Fab 5 and has been a very effective councillor during her first term. Luana Scowcroft (Green) is ranked #2 as someone with a very progressive voice. Despite some conservative votes on housing during the last triennium Sarah Free is still clearly in the top 3 and can still be relied upon to vote progressively on most other things. Tim Brown will be well known from his time on the Wellington Airport board but holds some confusing positions on too many things, is opposed to the NPS-UD and did not do well on his Vote Climate survey [due to his high name recognition he's ranked low here to lessen the risk of him getting on*]. The rest mostly seem like grievance candidates and members of the 'fix infrastructure but with lower rates while opposing the density that might actually lower rates' magical thinking cult. Aaron Gilmore is well-known for all the wrong reasons and is in an arm-wrestle to be ranked last with Rob Goulden who is one of the worst councillors Wellington ever had.
Rank 1: Laurie Foon
Rank 2: Nureddin Abdurahman
Rank 3: Jonathan Coppard
Rank 4-7 (in any order you like): Inoke Afeaki, Dipak Bhana, Iain Alasdair MacLeod, Urmila Bhana
Rank 8: Paula Muollo
Rank 9: Chris Dudfield
Rank 10 (last): Ate Moala
Comment: Laurie Foon is one of the best current councillors, a member of the Fab 5 and the #1 candidate in Paekawakawa by a mile. Nureddin Abdurahman (Labour) has extensive community links and the Labour policy platform means he just edges out another very active community advocate Jonathan Coppard. Both would be great in that second spot though. As can be seen in this Paekawakawa candidates meeting review from there it's pretty much just 'I've got a grievance so I'm running for council as a form of therapy'. Inoke Afeaki seemed like he could be good until he started slagging off cycleways and it appears he's fallen in with Paula Muollo, a former associate of Terry Serepisos who has little more to offer than empty platitudes about listening to everybody, sensible spending and increasing density but only in "the right areas". We all know what that's code for - NIMBY [due to her high name recognition she's ranked low here to lessen the risk of her getting on*]. Iain MacLeod is another self-confessed NIMBY who doesn't think there should be densification in "high-decile suburbs with nice facilities". Nobody from the #4 ranking down appears to have submitted to the council on anything significant before, have much community involvement and they mostly haven't bothered to complete the surveys they've been asked to, such as Vote Climate. Chris Dudfield deserves special mention for being one of the most arrogant, entitled and genuinely unlikeable council candidates in years but still gets beaten out of last spot by Ate Moala, a Trump-supporting, anti-vax, homophobe and transphobe.
Rank 1 or 2: Matthew Reweti/Nīkau Wi Neera
Rank 3: Ali Hamlin-Paenga
Comment: I don't have too much to say about Te Whanganui-a-Tara except that Matthew Reweti (Labour) and Nīkau Wi Neera (Green) both seem like really good candidates and you could probably vote for either one. Ali Hamlin-Paenga seems well-qualified too and has a background in social housing but her comment at the Island Bay Residents Association candidates meeting that she would ask the people of Island Bay whether they wanted Light Rail was silly for a project of city-wide importance that has already been widely-consulted on.
Hope that helps. Whether you agree with these recommendations or not the most important thing is that you vote, and encourage everybody else you know to vote too.
*Updated 17/9 to reflect that Tim Brown & Paula Muollo's high name recognition may lead to them being ranked higher than they deserve. Progressives should probably rank them as low as possible to lessen the risk of them getting on.