Pushing for the poor, dispossessed
Would you vote for a mayoral candidate who was homeless?
Wayne Young hopes so. Having no fixed abode certainly gives him a point of difference but it also means he is genuine in his desire to advocate for the poor, dispossessed and the homeless.
‘‘They don’t have a voice and they need an advocate,’’ Mr Young says.
Morning drivers along Tamaki Drive toot and wave at the familiar figure in his uniform of black gloves and a white hard hat that he calls ‘‘the working man’s crown’’.
‘‘I want to give the white hard hat new meaning. When you are wearing it you’re not just a worker. You should feel proud to be a person participating in society.’’
The 60-year-old has been standing in the same spot near Point Resolution Bridge each weekday morning with a sign around his neck for the past three years.
Some of his slogans point to his political views such as ‘‘Intensification = gridlock.’’
Mr Young felt compelled to protest when he learned how indebted the super-city had become.
He chose Tamaki Drive because he grew up in Glendowie and it is very familiar to him.
It wasn’t easy at first and it took time to get over his fear of being on display.
‘‘After a week or two I suddenly realised that I wasn’t just protesting or campaigning but also exhibiting or performing,’’ Mr Young says.
‘‘Then I started changing my signs and reacting to current affairs,’’ he says.
He used to own a unit in Parnell.
But it was declared a leaky building and after a series of legal disputes with his body corporate he lost his house and the framing business he’d had for 40 years.
Four years ago he was declared bankrupt and started living in his car in Glen Innes.
‘‘My house was virtually stolen off me and I was thrown out on to the street. Then people keep telling me to get a job.’’
But no-one would employ him because of his age and the fact his reputation had been tarnished ruptcy, he says.
His main campaign issue is housing.
Mr Young sees parallels between his situation and the challenges faced by Tamaki Housing Group.
‘‘In Glen Innes they are pulling state houses down and moving them [the houses] to Kaitaia.
‘‘Why spend all that money levelling a community that’s worked quite well for a long time?
‘‘Shouldn’t we build the houses for the people in Glen Innes first? I’ve seen the new houses they are building. I’ve seen the workmanship. It’s just rough.’’
The council is spending its money on the wrong things and part of the problem is the super-city structure. We should go back to the district council system, he says.
‘‘I want to pull the reins in on spending.
‘‘The council has always dealt in such things as refuse collection and maintenance of roads and footpaths,’’ he says.
‘‘That’s a better solution than employing contractors who don’t do a very good job.’’
Mr Young doesn’t support the draft unitary plan. Instead of preparing for a population increase we should be limiting immigration, he says.
‘‘When things are you batten down.’’
Homeless man Wayne Young says he is the most qualified candidate to represent blue collar Aucklanders.