Howick

RATINGS GUIDE:

$ to $$$$$ with $ being a leftist trougher and $$$$$ being small government dynamo

For some, however, a clown is more appropriate. More than one may be awarded.

In 2016, Sharon Stewart and Dick Quax were re-elected to represent this two councillor ward. Following Quax’s death in May 2018, Paul Young won the resulting by-election.

David Collings – Collings for Council $$$

The electoral officers are getting pretty loose in terms of what they accept to be an affiliation these days. In the information booklet supplied to all candidates it states:

The nomination paper provides for a candidate to have an affiliation. An affiliation is described in section 57(3) of the Local Electoral Act 2001 as ‘an endorsement by any organisation or group (whether incorporated or unincorporated).’

A candidate claiming a specific affiliation should supply with their nomination paper an authority to adopt the affiliation for the organisation or group concerned (i.e. letter of consent to use the affiliation from the organisation or group). This is a safety measure to avoid any illegal adoption of affiliations.

Affiliations that will not be accepted are ones: 

that might cause offence or 

are likely to confuse or mislead electors or 

are election slogans rather than the name of an organisation or group.

Is there truly an organisation called ‘Collings for Council’ that has given a written authorisation to David Collings to use that affiliation and has he supplied that with his nomination form? If that is the case, why is the website advertised in his candidate profile empty? How is it that he is affiliated to C&R for his Local Board and DHB candidacies? There will be plenty more of these suspect affiliations as we get through all the candidates.

That put aside, Collings has been in local body politics a loooooong time, having spent 3 years on Pakuranga Community Board, 9 years on Manukau City Council and a further 9 years on Howick Local Board. He has been the Chair since 2013, surviving a challenge, temper tantrum and resignation from Lucy Schwaner, wife of infamous Botany MP Jamie Lee Ross in 2016.

While clearly on the centre-right side of the political spectrum, he also holds typically NIMBY views when it comes to development in Howick, saying the ward “needs to protect its’ heritage.”

Stockade Hill, with a ‘viewshaft’ to the Hauraki Gulf continues to be an issue that ignites great passions amongst the locals, even inspiring a protest song. While the ‘viewshaft’ is now protected, a battle continues in the Environment Court to secure the protection of 360-degree views from the top, mandating maximum building heights around the hill. Collings pledges to continue fighting to secure that 360-degree planning restriction.

Collings is on the saner side of transport planning, sceptical of AT plans to implement T2/Bus lanes on major arterial roads, and says he will see the Reeves Road Flyover completed.

Collings also inadvertently elbowed his way into the 2018 controversy over whether a woman could be hired to play Santa in the annual Farmer’s Christmas parade:

Howick Local Board chairman David Collings waded into the debate on Saturday morning, saying in a public Facebook post that Farmers was “getting a bit too PC for my liking”.

“I don’t think [Baker’s] comments meant any harm. Cripes I would have loved as a kid a Santa with boobies, just like mummy,” he wrote.

“Boobies are very important when you’re a young child, they provide comfort. I to this day still remember that comfort.”

He later admitted he was being “a bit silly” over Baker’s “boob” comment.

Damien Light – Independent $$

I’ve had several interactions with the former United Future Leader. He’s a genuinely nice guy (probably too bloody nice), with an authentic desire to work for the community, somewhat naively viewing politics as a community service rather than the nasty, petty shit fight for table scraps it really is. Since United Future closed shop, Light has essentially been an unelected, unpaid and very active advocate for Howick, even live-tweeting at local board meetings (which is a bit bloody weird, I think).

Unfortunately for Light, and maybe mankind as a whole, he stands absolutely no chance of being elected to Council in Howick. The area votes solidly blue in local and parliamentary elections, while Light is anything but.

His website contains a respectably detailed outline of his policies; something many other half-arsed troughers standing for election could learn from. For starters, unlike David Collings’, it actually works. Damien wants to stop endless rates rises, challenge reckless spending and drive cost efficiencies. However, just about every candidate uses that sort of language including Phil Goff. Light’s mention of using bonds as an alternative form of funding hints at his liberal-left leanings, though I don’t dispute the current funding model for local government is broken.

On transport, Light is a public transport fanatic, advocating just about every form of communal vehicle and network known to man (plus bikes) and I would put money on him inventing some we haven’t thought of in the near future.

His green views, including the belief Council needs to achieve a plan to make Auckland carbon neutral before 2050 and support for Council declaring a ‘climate emergency,’ guarantee Damian will not be Howick’s next councillor.

Tofik Mamedov – East Vision $

Being a left-wing immigrant from Azerbaijan running on a ticket called East Vision is a little bit funny. Apparently East isn’t just a coincidental name for a ticket in East Auckland but is also an anagram for  Environment, Arts & Culture, Safer Community, Transport.

Tofik’s candidate profile is not particularly informative, but his candidacies for Labour in 2017 and 2014 hint at his politics. Another candidate on the ticket standing for Howick Local Board, Morgan Xiao, is a rabid supporter of the Chinese Communist Party and even nutty City Vision have spoken out to disassociate East Vision with their brand.

Sharon Stewart – Independent $$$$$

Stewart is a legend in East Auckland, having served on Manukau City Council since 1998 then topping the polls in the first Supercity election in 2010. As Citizens and Ratepayers (now known as Communities & Residents) collapsed around Albert-Eden councillor Christine Fletcher’s ears, Howick Councillors Stewart and Dick Quax ditched the mouldy brand to stand as Independents, being re-elected unopposed in 2013.  

Sharon Stewart is a woman of strong political principle, unyielding in her fight to oppose rates increases, stupid spending and the centre-left council majority. There has always been a small and stubborn bloc of councillors opposing first Brown, then Goff on Council and Stewart has always been on its vanguard.

Stewart absolutely deserves to stay on as the Councillor for Howick, but the voters in her ward know that already.

Paul Young – Independent $$$

I’m a bit ‘meh’ on the other incumbent councillor for Howick. He has only held the seat for about a year, since winning the by-election resulting from the death of the legendary Dick Quax, so maybe I just need to see a bit more.

His candidate profile has just two “priorities.” The first; a public transport system featuring trackless trams running on roads with rubber wheels looks loony but it is clear Young hasn’t sought the help of a marketing guru to sell this idea. His other priority, law and order is a predictable offering that will go down well with his constituency, but I’m not sure how many “ever more CCTV cameras” actually is and it creeps me out a bit.

Young was the wildcard in the 2011 Botany by-election, finishing third as the New Citizen Party candidate and then later stood for the Conservative Party. Before being elected, he has had a successful business career, running Paul Young International, something few around the Council table can claim.

MY RECOMMENDATIONS: You may cast up to 2 votes in this FPP contest

  • Sharon Stewart – Independent
  • Paul Young – Independent