Push­ing for the poor, dis­pos­sessed

Central Leader - - NEWS - By KA­RINA ABADIA

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.’’





May­oral hope­ful:

Home­less man Wayne Young says he is the most qual­i­fied can­di­date to rep­re­sent blue col­lar Auck­lan­ders.

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