$ 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.

Orakei Local Board

As of writing on Tuesday October 1, 2019 turnout is 30% lower than 2016. Orakei Local Board is 23.7% above turnout across Auckland.

There are currently three incumbents from C&R – Communities and Residents: Troy Churton, Colin Davis, David Wong and a fourth now affiliated with Better Auckland: Carmel Claridge.

You may cast up to 7 votes for 7 positions in this FPP election.

Troy Churton – C&R – Communities and Residents $$$

Troy Churton is a current member of the local board and also manages strategic relations and statutory responsibilities for an autonomous Crown agency in the retirement village industry.

On the Local Board, Troy holds the portfolio lead for planning and regulatory. He also is pushing for the completion of master plans for recreational areas such as Madill’s Farm, Okahu Landing, Ngahue, Liston and Colin Maiden park.

Prior to the Super City amalgamation, Churton was the chair of the Hobson Community Board. New developments in this ward often create controversy for multiple reasons including visual appeal, height, density and fitting with community character. Currently an 81 unit development on College Rd and Donnelly Street, tentatively titled St. John’s Heights is one such development.

The Meadowbank St. Johns Residents Association objects that the development will result in solid blocks of similar height buildings all with the same grey roofs i.e. a visual objection. Troy’s investigation has found that many of the building heights in relation to boundary exceed the limits by more than one metre.

My view on new developments is that the first point to consider is whether one person’s enjoyment of property rights are infringed upon by the activities of the developer. I’d hope that Troy feels this way after the difficulties he experienced trying to subdivide his own Hobson property in 2003, which received 18 submissions in opposition. Churton has identified in this example that dealing with a stream and stormwater in the site is going to directly affect 29 Donnelly Street. Managing that appropriately is far more important than subjective opinions of paint colour.

Churton was also in the news in 2018 for making 169 noise complaints to the police regarding the Eagle helicopter flying over his home. Think what you may, the helicopter base was moved to Onehunga this year.

Carmel Claridge – Better Auckland $$$$$

I covered Carmel’s candidacy for Maungakiekie-Tamaki ward in a previous article. That means some people living in the Orakei Local Board area may also be in Maungakiekie-Tamaki Ward and can vote for Carmel twice; I strongly recommend they do.

However, most of us will only be eligible to vote for Carmel for Orakei Local Board. In my personal opinion the Current Deputy Chair of the Local Board absolutely deserves to be returned.

Her priorities for the next term are:

  • Ensuring elimination of wasteful spending so that projects that deliver tangible benefits to residents can be paid for instead.
  • Preserving and enhancing green spaces, waterways, parks & reserves.
  • Tackling traffic congestion – real solutions that are community driven.
  • Provision of the Gowing Drive link to the Glen Innes – Tamaki Shared Pathway.
  • Redevelopment of Liston Park.
  • Delivery of the new purpose built Meadowbank Community Centre at ZERO cost to ratepayers

Carmel was a founding member of the Auckland Ratepayers Alliance, a watchdog exposing financial stupidity in Council. Most candidates talk about cutting waste. Even Phil Goff talks about cutting waste. In her first week on the local board, Carmel ensured the ratepayer funded lunch for local board workshops was scrapped in Orakei, saving tens of thousands of dollars annually. She isn’t a talker, she is a doer. Whatever you do, vote for her re-election.

Colin Davis – C&R – Communities and Residents $$$$$

Davis has a formidable track record in local body politics stretching back to his time as Chair of the former Eastern Bays Community Board and sitting on the former Auckland City Council. He is a previous Chair of Orakei Local Board.

In addition to his Local Board role, Davis is active in many community organisations, a Justice of the Peace, Chairman of Auckland Library Heritage Trust, a Life Member of Auckland RSA and many many more.

Committed to open government, prudent expenditure and a strong work ethic.

Troy Elliott – C&R – Communities and Residents $$$$

Troy Elliot has enormous experience as a business leader, covering sectors including telecommunications and fitness. His advocacy for patients living with cancer has led to Pharmac funding an increasing number of cancer treatments, followed by National announcing a National Cancer Agency policy, which the Labour Government launched days later.

Elliot is currently Chair of the Ellerslie Residents Association and has worked with AT on transport and parking issues, consulting on behalf of residents to get a noise barrier installed along the motorway as well as ensuring pedestrian crossing and changes to parking are appropriate.

Isaac Mercer $$

Mercer is the youngest candidate in Auckland this election; aged 19. With his first experience in politics being the expression of a contrary view at the St. Heliers public meeting against AT, enduring the subsequent vitriol, Mercer has balls of steel. He deserves respect standing for Local Board.

Mercer is right when he says it is difficult to be taken seriously as a youth candidate, being the same age I was running for Parliament as an Independent in 2002. His signs are already better than mine were, so he’s off to a good start.

My advice to him is to wear a suit in photos and avoid the trap of representing the ‘youth voice.’ Present policies to voters on their own merits and don’t assume demographic representation, especially demographics that don’t vote. The individuals who play the identity politics game are vicious, nasty collectivists. They view politics as a battle for power between the oppressed and the oppressor. Being a white, middle-class male, Mercer is the oppressor regardless of his personal character.

With a different angle, I think he can do very well.

Scott Milne – C&R – Communities and Residents $$$$

Milne is a self-made success story, owning a Remuera pharmacy for 25 years before starting the Life Pharmacy Chain. His political background includes 12 years representing ratepayers prior to the 2010 amalgamation. Currently executive director of a healthcare products organisation, Milne still finds the time to pursue his passions of fishing, sailing and rugby.

Scott’s achievements in his previous political career includes conserving the Parnell Baths and eastern beach sand restoration projects.

Mike Padfield – Better Auckland $$

Padfield is also standing for the Orakei ward Council seat against Desley Simpson. His planning philosophy looks very rigid and anti-change, preferring to push back against inevitable growth in population and developments rather than adapt to reality.

He opposes the sale of any public land and multilevel developments will get the red light. The problem with opposing the inevitable is that when you eventually lose it makes the change all the more catastrophic.

Sarah Powrie – C&R – Communities and Residents $$$$

A life-long resident in the Orakei Local Board area, Sarah Powrie’s experience includes owning and managing small businesses, strategic planning and stakeholder support. Her community involvement on the Orakei Community Association has led to supporting schools, sports clubs, young athletes and also brought the world sailing championships to New Zealand.

Her focus is elected is to build thriving community centres and clubs while being careful with ratepayer funds.

Margaret Voyce – C&R – Communities and Residents

Voyce has always been in the background of politics, stretching back to an attempt to challenge Clem Simich’s position as MP for Tamaki in 2004. At the time Simich referred to her as someone who “potters around with the party at regional level’ and was “unelectable.”

Indeed Voyce has been contesting various local body positions for many years, always the candidate, never the winner. She stood for the Waitemata local board in 2016, finishing 19th.

Margaret is currently a member of the Motutapu Restoration Trust and the Remuera Residents Association. During consultation on the Unitary Plan she submitted against AT’s plans on local parking issues.

Pete Williams – Independent $$

Williams owns a small business and has also been a Paralympic skier competing in the 2010 Paralympics. He says he will advocate rates raised in Orakei be spent in Orakei while opposing excessive spending and rates. Local Boards have little influence on spending other than that which is allocated to them by Council.

He is also passionate about maintaining open-spaces, pest-free and enhanced to ensure they’re accessible to all. Nothing particularly controversial.

However, he also wants to advocate for “green buildings with universal design concepts ensuring access to all buildings.”

Currently business premises are legally required to be accessible to disabled persons but private residences are not. I can appreciate the many difficulties Williams may experience as a result of being in a wheelchair but it’s important to be wary of the unintended consequences of implementing another layer of regulations on the construction industry; they will further disadvantage those who are yet to own their own home and be an own-goal for people with mobility difficulties who are more likely to experience economic deprivation than most.

David Wong – C&R – Communities and Residents $

Wong is an incumbent, having been elected to the Local Board in 2016, portfolio lead on Community Facilities and Services while also having involvement in Economic Development.

Wong includes amongst his achievements as leading several cultural diversity and youth initiatives.

When one wonders about the value of some local board activities, perhaps they should ask, “Would this exist if the local board didn’t do it?” In the case of culture, an organic and self-populating concept, the answer is an overwhelming yes. The local board teamed up with youth community group Action Education, to form a Youth Leadership Forum in July. A quick look at Action Education’s website suggests that was bloody stupid.

Outside of the local board, Wong has a regulatory affairs background and has worked in the banking and insurance sector for 25 years. That probably makes him the least popular person in every office.

Living in Remuera for 18 years, he is Vice-Chair of the NZ Chinese Association Auckland and the Auckland Chinese Community Centre. Those aren’t a result of the local board. I presume he isn’t channelling board funds into those organisations, so I’m still scratching my head asking what genuine value he adds to the board.

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

  • Troy Churton – C&R – Communities and Residents
  • Carmel Claridge – Better Auckland
  • Colin Davis – C&R – Communities and Residents
  • Troy Elliot – C&R – Communities and Residents
  • Isaac Mercer
  • Scott Milne – C&R – Communities and Residents
  • Sarah Powrie – C&R – Communities and Residents


There are plenty more of these guides on The BFD (not just the ones listed below). To find them use the search function that you will find at the top right of the home page and then enter the keyword Guide then scroll down through them all.




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Orakei Local Board: An Absolutely Biased Guide to Auckland Local Elections
Stephen Berry

Stephen Berry

Stephen Berry is compiling this guide on the Auckland Local Body elections as an independent commentator. His recommendations are based on his own research and are not on behalf of any organisation. Previously,...