City life ap­peals to ve­gan lawyer

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By JESS LEE

A ve­gan lawyer with a pas­sion for in­ner-city liv­ing is one of two new faces on the Waitem­ata Lo­cal Board.

Ver­non Tava is a com­mu­nity lawyer at the Grey Lynn Neigh­bour­hood Law Of­fice spe­cial­is­ing in plan­ning, en­vi­ron­men­tal and em­ploy­ment law.

His de­sire to see the city trans­form it­self with ‘‘liv­ing spa­ces’’, cy­cle­ways and walk­ways prompted him to stand for the board.

‘‘I re­mem­ber Auck­land in the 90s and I think it was a real low point for the city. Privi­ti­sa­tion, very lit­tle con­cern for her­itage – the city was re­ally lack­ing in life.’’

It’s been ex­cit­ing to see the city’s in­creased dy­namism since then, he says.

Mr Tava joins fel­low City Vi­sion can­di­tate Deb­o­rah Yates on the newly elected board re­plac­ing Tri­cia Reade and Jesse Chalmers.

He hopes his le­gal train­ing and gov­er­nance ex­pe­ri­ence as a board mem­ber of an­i­mal rights or­gan­i­sa­tion SAFE will stand him in good stead for his new role.

He grew up on the North Shore but the lure of ur­ban liv­ing drew him to move to the cen­tral city.

‘‘I moved as soon as I could. I got pretty tired of catch­ing the one-hour bus into the city and a one-hour bus back home long be­fore the North­ern Busway.’’

He is the na­tional co­con­venor of the Young Greens and a Par­lia­men­tary Ser­vices in­tern for Green Party MP David Clen­don.

Im­prov­ing pub­lic trans­port, walk­ing and cy­cling op­tions for the in­ner sub­urbs, stop­ping the stem of ef­flu­ent flow into wa­ter­ways and pro­tect­ing her­itage are among his top pri­or­i­ties.

Mr Tava chooses not to own a car and in­stead cy­cles or rides pub­lic trans­port to ap­point­ments.

‘‘I’m not anti-car – far from it. But I think the car has a dom­i­nance in our ur­ban land­scape that is dis­pro­por­tion­ate,’’ he says.

He will strongly sup­port the board’s ex­ist­ing green­ways projects.

The new board is made up of five City Vi­sion can­di­tates and two in­de­pen­dent can­di­tates.

West Lynn res­i­dent Deb­o­rah Yates brings ex­pe­ri­ence in so­cial pol­icy and work with marginalised groups to the role.

‘‘I de­cided to stand for the lo­cal board af­ter some friends sug­gested it be­cause I be­lieve peo­ple feel dis­em­pow­ered in terms of gov­ern­ment, both lo­cal and cen­tral,’’ she says.

She in­tends to fo­cus on is­sues in­clud­ing bring­ing in a liv­ing wage, re­tain­ing and en­hanc­ing Auck­land’s his­toric and nat­u­ral fea­tures and pub­lic trans­port.

Photo: JESS LEE

New role:

Ver­non Tava is hop­ing to make in­ner-city Auck­land more liv­able fol­low­ing his elec­tion to the Waitem­ata Lo­cal Board.

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