Candidates look to the future
For our final question for Porirua’s mayoral candidates KRIS DANDO asks: If elected mayor, what do you see as the most pressing issue(s) for you in the coming three years?
Gregory Fortuin says the crucial aspect of the job for him is ensuring he and the 13 councillors are on the same page in terms of advancing the city.
‘‘ You have to mold a team together. There will be such diverse people around the table and there needs to be good planning and strategies put in place.’’
He sees creating wealth and employment, and inspiring young people to succeed as his priorities.
For Brian Collins it is to ensure information provided by council employees is accurate. ‘‘This is so councillors can make fully-informed decisions.’’
He despaired at the lack of preparation shown by some of his opponents at the candidates meetings so, as mayor, will demand his councillors do their homework.
Peter Windsor says his chief tasks are to keep rates to a reasonable level and restructure the way services are delivered to the community.
‘‘We have to more savvy, there needs to be questions asked about where money is being lost.’’
He believes outside consultants should be used less, with current council officers needing more skills.
Piripi Gray believes it is imperative more empty shops in Porirua are filled with tenants and small-to-medium businesses are encouraged to employ local people.
‘‘The talent is all around us and we never use it. We can’t rely on people outside this city to solve the problems that are on our doorstep, like gangs and graffiti. Use groups like the [ Community] Guardians, Maori Wardens and other community groups to make this a better place.’’
Russell Marshall wants two ‘‘summits’’ before Christmas, look- ing at the local economy and social issues. ‘‘ I want serious conversations with the business community and the public, gathering information to tell us where we are and where things are not right. I think there is a sense of urgency to do this.’’
He says this will go a long way to helping the city council understand how, socially, to make Porirua a more cohesive community.
Mike Duncan reiterated the main platform for his candidacy: a hard look at rates.
‘‘That’s where it starts and ends for me, it’s my prime driver. I want [council] departments to get away from getting a budget and then spending every last dollar of it. If we make the savings on small things [he mentioned the amount of council cars being driven around by single occupants], it all mounts up.’’
Nick Leggett says while his three tangibles in the next triennium are upgrading Porirua’s CBD, seeing work start on the harbour and improving the city’s sewer pipes, lifting the per- ception of Porirua regionally and nationally is a high priority for him.
‘‘I want to make people even prouder of living here and work hard to sell Porirua on the facts, not allowing the media to show the city as somewhere full of poverty and crime.’’
Litea Ah Hoi believes amalgamation and the harbour will likely dominate the next three years, but having Porirua become a safe community ‘‘in reality’’ is vital.
‘‘It’s one thing to have the World Health Organisation say that this is a safe place to live but council need to work much harder to address some of the issues that are affecting our people.’’
Liz Kelly intends to work hard early in her tenure to reduce the council’s dependence on rates, saying it will ‘‘make an immediate difference’’.
Shared services with other local authorities and obtaining their support to encourage central government to remove GST from rates are key issues.
‘‘The time is right, all councils should work together on this.’’
Litea Ah Hoi