$ 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.

Rodney Ward

As of writing, turnout is 25% lower than 2016. Kumeu is 29% behind while Warkworth is 2.1% up on 2016.

Greg Sayers – Independent for Rodney

Greg was elected unopposed to his second term.

Rodney Local Board (Dairy Flat Subdivision)

I’ve researched a lot of local board battles this year. There is a lot of screaming about “dirty politics” in Rodney though I wonder if it can really be politics at all without a bit of dirt. Devonport-Takapuna tends to have all-year mudslinging, some blood was let in Franklin, Howick purged all their nastiness in 2016 when Lucy Schwaner had a boohoo over not winning the Chairmanship. Manurewa Action team pruned some dead branches for the election and there’s been some significant turnover in Orakei. Rodney’s board members have been fairly settled and cohesive – the noise is acorns hitting the barn walls.

Rodney Local Board is the only board I’m aware that publishes the attendance records of its members – the incumbents standing for re-election attended the following number of business meetings and workshops from October 2016 to 30 April 2019)

  • Beth Houlbrooke – 131
  • Phelan Pirrie – 130
  • Brent Bailey – 135
  • Colin Smith – 123

Louise Johnston – Rodney First

Louise was elected unopposed to her second term, She was an Independent in 2016.

Rodney Local Board (Kumeu Subdivision)

There are four positions on the Kumeu subdivision, Pirrie and Bailey from Rodney First are the incumbents.

Brent Bailey – Rodney First $$$$$

Brent has been on Rodney Local Board for one term and is Chair of the Parks & Recreation Committee. His pre-council career was in IT and telecommunications.

With an enormous google footprint, it is clear that Bailey has been very busy over this term.

In July the Rodney West Local Paths (Greenways) Plan was completed. This is the final part of the greenways puzzle, all of which can be seen here.

Kaukapakapa playground was pretty much signed off in May. Costing $278,000, most of the cost was raised by the community with $78,000 coming from the Local Board. This is what community is really about, pooling resources for a common goal not demanding someone else pay for it.

The 11-hectare Rautawhiri Park upgrade was completed in February. It cost $2.3m and resulted in new surfaces for netball and tennis courts, improved drainage, new nets, hoops, fences, lights and a practice wall. There is more to come, with a 2km perimeter path being laid in stages and joined with fitness stations donated by the Lions Club of Helensville.

Still to come are upgrades to the toilets, changing rooms, two sports fields and new furniture.

A skate park at Wellsford Memorial Park was also completed in 2018 after demands from locals stretching back many years. It also came with a bird nest swing, rotating carousel spinner and a basketball half court. School children voted on what they wanted in the park, probably the only time school children should get to vote because I’ve got no idea what a bird’s nest swing is.

The 107-year-old Warkworth Town Hall was refurbished in 2018 but that hasn’t been without controversy, indeed hiring of halls throughout Rodney has come with bitching and moaning. North Rodney Community Arts Council’s exhibition is only two days long, previous three. The Jade River artists and Kowhai Art & Crafts Society are also whining. KACS President Merryl Houghton claims the previous “Rodney District Council  was far more generous as we never paid for the hall in those days.”

The problem with the bloody arts is that the majority of it is pretentious crap that nobody wants to buy. This is why art festivals, exhibitions and public artworks are heavily dependent on public funding. Once the funding is left to the private market, artists find themselves broke and quiet, sniffing their farts from wine glasses.

Brett Bailey advocates user pays for the halls because Rodney voters want users to pay. The halls were never ‘free’ under the Rodney District Council, they were funded from rates paid by people whether they liked it or not. 

Jade River artist Doris Riederer cancelled their Old Masonic exhibition in 2018 after 10 years, blaming hall costs as a factor. If it couldn’t survive without subsidies, maybe it was crap.

Danielle Hancock – Rodney First $$$$

Danielle is a new candidate but having worked for local bodies for over a decade, including as a Parks Advisor, she’s no stranger to dealing with bureaucrats or politicians. It says a lot about her that she has the gumption to dive into the fray given all she already knows.

Hancock’s passion is environmental protection which goes hand in hand with her day job as an Operations Manager for a biosecurity consultancy. Hancock knows the importance of maintaining environmental standards without blocking inevitable development and advocates harnessing community initiatives and volunteers; the most genuine blue-greens anywhere.

Working with the Kaukapakapa Residents and Ratepayers Association, a former chair of the North West Country Business Association and the Central Park Henderson Association plus sitting on the Committee of the Wainui Environmental Protection Society, Danielle Hancock models the values of improving the community brilliantly.

She will use her position on the local board to provide further assistance to community groups that are making Rodney a better place to live – just watch out for that passion for resource consent compliance…

Vicki Kenny – Rodney First $$$$

Another, first-time candidate, Vicki Kenny has strong local rural roots. Being a small business owner from 19 years old is a testament to absorbing that sort of ‘get on with it’ culture that exemplifies rural communities. Kenny has 4 horses, is a member of the Waitemata Riding Club, Te Ngahere o Woodhill Kake Hoiho and a Helensville A&P Show volunteer

I’m not so keen on organic foods and can’t imagine why people prefer to pay top dollar for food grown in shit but my own diet would probably horrify many too. Each to their own. Vicki wants to do more to improve public transport facilities in the North West, a difficult task in sparsely populated rural areas, however, Rodney First has already made a good start in the previous term.

Kenny decided to stand for Rodney First because she knows very well the number of local board members who don’t take the job seriously, don’t read agendas and don’t attend meetings; Rodney First board members actually do the job they’re paid to do and much more.

Other priorities for Vicki include getting a public toilet in Waimauku (not for growing her organic foods, I’m sure), to continue the Rautawhiri Park development and work with community groups and developers to provide safe pedestrian, cycle and equestrian links.

Steven Law – Independent $$$

Steven Law is born and bred in Rodney and now retired, wants to use his time on the Rodney Local Board. Road maintenance is his key issue, though that is normally outside the realm of local board activities. However, he believes that by volunteering for the Roading Sub-Committee and establishing a positive working relationship with AT, he will make an impact. 

He also wants to scrap the Rodney Local Board targeted rate for transport and eliminate financial wastage.

He promises commitment, open communication, transparency, accountability and humour. I hope it isn’t the sort of humour that involves old men approaching a group of people busy talking, saying “meeting of the unemployed?” 

Greg Sayers has made a massive impact as Councillor for Rodney, acquiring significantly increased funding for sealing Rodney’s roads. So much so that Rodney Local Board has seen fit to use the money raised from the targeted rate to focus on public transport rather than road sealing.

Phelan Pirrie – Rodney First $$$$

Phelan has been on Rodney Local Board for six years, Deputy Chair for the last three of those. Pirrie is Chief Fire Officer of the volunteer Muriwai Fire Brigade and Manager of the North West Country Business Association.

Phelan has been doing the heavy lifting on the Targeted Rate for Transport, wading through 9000 pages of submissions. Depending on how you want to spin it, either 43% of submitters opposed the rate or 52% either supported or partially supported the rate. In any case, it has funded three bus services, with more to come and the Local Board is looking at options for rail and park n rides now that AT has allocated unexpected greater funding for the sealing of Rodney roads.

Pirrie’s position as Chief Fire Officer in Muriwai means he has the wherewithal to soundly criticise Auckland Council’s Disaster Recovery Plan as a “gaping hole” with no capacity to cope in rural areas. “We’re actually in a worse place than we were ten years ago…we’re putting people’s lives at risk.”

In November 2016, Phelan Pirrie launched a petition calling for immediate improvements on State Highway 16 to reduce congestion and improve safety, gaining 4000 signatures. “We can’t make them do something but if we’ve got the evidence and the pressure and the public support then that helps. We’ve got 4000 people saying that they want change.”

His work on Rodney Local Board to improve water quality is also making a big impact. The Rodney Local Board Healthy Harbours and Waterways Fund has assisted 38 applicants to protect 43 hectares of riparian habitat.

Next on Pirrie’s list for the coming term includes

  • Maintaining the new bus services for Riverhead and Kaukapakapa
  • Building a new park & ride in Kumeu
  • Build the Huapai Indoor Courts facility
  • Completing the town centre upgrades in Helensville & Huapai/Kumeu.

Those are just some of the projects Phelan will champion. Other Rodney First candidates will focus on other areas.

Geoff Upson

Upson’s favourite thing about Rodney are the potholes, which are the inspiration for spray painting penises in fluro paint. He’s campaigning to keep the speed limit on some roads at 100 km/h, which are currently being consulted upon. I hope he isn’t doing that speed while driving with his campaign trailer attached.

I can see the funny side but I’m not sure whether he has what it takes to be a great local board representative.


You may cast up to four votes in this FPP contest.

  • Phelan Pirrie – Rodney First
  • Brent Bailey – Rodney First
  • Danielle Hancock – Rodney First
  • Vicki Kenny – Rodney First

Rodney Local Board (Warkworth Subdivision) will follow tomorrow.


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