$ 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 Local Board (Warkworth Subdivision)

As of October 3, voter turnout is 23% down on 2016 which is an improvement on October 2. The Warkworth subdivision of Rodney Local Board is a bit more enthusiastic about doing their civic duty – just 3.7% behind the previous election. There are three seats in this subdivision, Local Board Chair Beth Houlbrooke the sole incumbent.

It seems an age ago but at the beginning of this election I wrote a sneak peek of what was to come.

Steven Garner – Rodney Now

Garner’s affiliation has been difficult to nail down. The 2016 Independent candidate was on a Community Independents ticket on August 27 with Tim Holdgate though they were both Independent on September 2. Campaign literature circulated without an authorisation statement is headed “independent looking out for you and Rodney Now.” He had no affiliation in the Northern Action Group’s voting guide. Snell’s Beach Residents and Ratepayers coverage of their candidate debate is pictorial only. There’s been no public break up between the two ‘Community Independents’ and googling ‘Rodney Now’ brought up this article in which Garner was referred to as an independent and he claims to be opposed to tickets in local government. Maybe there was a private break up?

Garner has been an elected member previously. He served as Deputy Chair from 2010-16. Warren Flaunty was also on Rodney Local Board and notoriously several others at the same time in 2013. There were 40 meetings Flaunty couldn’t attend in their entirety. Garner was the ultimate part-time board member, with 47 meetings not seen through from start to finish.

There were many instances in which Garner’s attendance was a handicap rather than a help. Often his reports were unread and sealed in the courier packs or he would return from holiday and attempt to relitigate issues he couldn’t take part in as a result.

When it feels like the entire world is against you, sometimes you need to look at yourself to understand why. Garner isn’t that smart and has bought in to the idea that the Rodney First ticket is a conspiracy to squash himself and others in the area that oppose the current elected board members.

The Rodney Community Voices facebook group, set up by Glen Ashton about a month ago, appears to be in response to the idea that the local facebook groups (created by Phelan Pirrie years ago but now with multiple admins) are censorship or an attack on democracy. What this group implies, via unauthorised pictures posted on October 1, is that if there is no collusion by the independents, then Glen Ashton appears to have appointed himself manager of their ‘campaigns’.

It’s all a bit pathetic really.

Tim Holdgate – Independent

Just finished wasting ten minutes of my life verifying Tim Holdgate hasn’t previously been elected to the Rodney Local Board. His candidate profile states

“My Warkworth community involvement has included 10 years on the Mahurangi College Board of Trustees (4 years as Chairman), 7 years as trustee on the Harbour Sport Trust, member of the Mahurangi Collective for Sport & Recreation, together with various other sporting and cultural committees.

As a Rodney Local Board member demanding greater financial accountability and transparency from Auckland Council, specifically for Warkworth Subdivision ratepayers. We must get our fair rates share spent locally.” 

I wouldn’t want to cast aspertions, so clearly Holdgate doesn’t have an eye for detail and his grammar sucks.

Holdgate’s day job is in real estate and he is also a Registered Valuer. He has also spent 10 years on the Mahurangi College Board of Trustees, 7 years Harbour Sport Trust and a member of the Mahurangi Collective for Sport and Recreation. No flashy title accompanied that last grouping so I couldn’t possibly speculate what he achieved there.

His priorities if elected (snarky comments from me in brackets):

  • To fairly & transparently represent the interests of all Warkworth community groups (so the artists who don’t want to pay for hall hireage AND the voters who don’t want their rates used)
  • No more targeted rates (return to the board being completely dependent on what Council hands out)
  • Demand accountability from Auckland Council to get our fair rates share spent locally (yell a lot, heard by nobody, achieve nothing).
  • Require Auckland Council’s provision of the infrastructure required to support the implementation of the Unitary Plan (nobody will listen to one board member).
  • As an independent board member, demand proper open debate at board level 
  • Demand a fair share of Regional Fuel Tax be spent on the currently under funded Rodney roading network (the local board and councillor already did that).
  • Back to basics…transport (not a local board function without a targeted rate), water (not a local board function), sewage (not a local board function) and rubbish (not a local board function).

What an absolute knob.

Beth Houlbrooke – Rodney First $$$$$

(disclaimer – yes, I know Beth. No, I didn’t spend several hours a day for more than a month writing a voting guide to an entire city election as part of some conspiracy to fix the Rodney Local Board election)

Beth Houlbrooke has been on the Rodney Local Board for two terms and Chair for the current term. Beth isn’t a familiar face around Rodney because she has lived there for 25 years. It is because she works incredibly hard and is present at just about every community event and meeting in one of the geographically biggest local boards in Auckland.

Following the endorsement of those who submitted to the public consultation on implementing a targeted rate to fund transport initiatives, the work of Rodney First and Councillor Sayers successfully advocated a multi-million dollar increase from Auckland Transport to deal with the poor condition of the roading network in Rodney. It won’t happen overnight but it will happen over the next few years (lightspeed in bureaucracies).

Before joining the local board, Beth was an award-winning business owner. Networking, building relationships and negotiating are key skills to be an award-winning business owner and those are skills she employs today. The relationships with various bureaucrats, politicians, officials take time to nurture and blossom into results for your constituents. Anyone who thinks a bullet-pointed list of demands is going to deliver for Rodney is already out of their league.

Should Beth be returned to the local board for a third term, her priority is expanding the public transport network delivered by Rodney Local Board’s target rate, completing the Warkworth Park & Ride (a result of AT increasing the sealing budget, coming from the transport targeted rate), making further improvements on town centres and several more projects that Beth won’t be able to complete without the Rodney First team being elected also.

Paul Manton – Rodney First $$$$$

Paul lives near Puhoi where he is co-chair of the Puhoi Community Forum and sits on the Mahurangi Sports Collective, which oversees activities on the Warkworth Showgrounds. Paul must see Tim Holdgate there all the time when he isn’t busy doing fundraising for local clubs or working on the Matakana Coast Trail Trust.

Paul moved to Puhoi 30 years ago, after doing an engineering apprenticeship and working for Shell Oil. The Rodney First website mentions the ticket’s goals in relation to community participation in parks and reserves. That includes a number of new walking trails and the maintenance of existing walking infrastructure. Paul Manton probably knows a thing or two about doing that. After many years working in organisations that form relationships with the local board, he is well equipped to take the step of joining the local board to help those organisations.

He sees his role on the board as being the focal point for parks and recreational organisations, ensuring the parks are properly maintained for use and the limited facilities are flexible in their utilisation.

Ayla Walker – Rodney First $$$

A resident of Ahuroa and proven election winner, having just been voted onto the Ahuroa School Board of Trustees. Walker is currently being mentored via One Warkworth Business Association having recently finished her business studies.

Mrs Walker is younger than most of those who are elected to and make a success of local boards. It is fortunate that if she is elected as part of a ticket, there will be plenty of support while she grapples with her role.

Ayla’s passion is the local environment and she wants to prioritise improving water quality and work with like-minded members of the community on recycling initiatives, and plant and animal pest control.

I saw the first mention of climate change in the Rodney contest in her list of priorities.

She’s new.

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

  • Beth Houlbrooke – Rodney First
  • Ayla Walker – Rodney First
  • Paul Manton – Rodney First

Rodney Local Board (Wellsford Subdivision)

  • Colin Smith – Independent

Colin was elected unopposed.


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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, Stephen was the Libertarianz candidate for Mayor in 2004 and in 2013 stood again under the Affordable Auckland banner. He attracted 4% of the vote, finishing in third place. You can also find the guide on www.facebook.com/stephenberrysguidetoaucklandlocalelections