Mayoral losers ponder their future
Some may be back
Now the the local body elections are done and dusted for another three years, what becomes of those mayoral candidates who failed in their bid to lead Porirua City?
Will they tackle the issues they campaigned on in other ways? Will they go quiet until 2013 or are they done with politics?
Litea Ah Hoi has already publicly stated this is her last term on council, after easily winning back her seat in the Eastern ward. She said she was ‘‘relieved’’ when the mayoralty race was all over and she could concentrate on the challenges of the the coming triennium.
Ms Ah Hoi felt outgoing mayor Jenny Brash’s backing of mayorelect Nick Leggett made a huge difference.
‘‘I was rapt that I polled second, you’ve got to be philosophical about these things.’’
Fourth-placed Liz Kelly says she was ‘‘really happy’’ with the campaign she ran and the return of more than 1700 votes. In 2007 Ms Kelly showed her hand quite early but was one of the last to announce candidacy this time – which she admits may have worked against her.
‘‘I did come out quite late, but I did the hard yards in the time I had and I learnt a lot. I was wellprepared at the candidate meetings and gave myself a good chance but the voters obviously thought Nick was the one for the job. I’m glad it was him over the others and I’ve said I will support him. What you have to realise though is that being on council is bigger than him or I – it’s about us all working together to take this city forward and I’ve got a good feeling about everyone around the table.’’
Ms Kelly is unsure of whether to take a third punt at the mayoralty in 2013, keeping her cards close to her chest for now.
Russell Marshall was devastated with his fifth placing in the mayoralty race, with Liz Kelly and Gregory Fortuin above him. He says this was his one and only tilt at the job and while disappointed, he believes Mr Leggett ‘‘has the ability to enhance the city’s credibility’’.
‘‘I know a great deal more about Porirua now than I did before, and I really enjoyed being out there. People were very good and I learned a lot, I came home with tales to tell most days. I thought it would be easier [to win votes] in Porirua East and I’m really worried about the apathetic environment that we’re in.’’
Along with finishing his memoirs and researching another book on New Zealand war graves overseas, Mr Marshall is chairing the Robson Hanan Trust, which will address crime and justice issues, and will continue in roles with Whitireia Community Polytechnic and the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs.
Mike Duncan said the election was ‘‘a great learning experience’’ and was sat- isfied with his sixth placing.
‘‘That’s my one foray, I won’t be doing it again. It was good fun and I’ll settle with my 1100 votes. Nick should be in there, he’s got the right attitude, but he has some big challenges in front of him.’’
Mr Duncan says STV is ‘‘ a waste of time’’, a system that is disenfranchising voters, and also looks forward to it being reviewed.
Brian Collins finished a lacklustre seventh in the final tally, despite having said publicly it would be a ‘‘ two-horse race’’ between himself and Mr Leggett. He said his showing was ‘‘disappointing’’.
‘‘The vast majority of people in the community who had the chance to use their democratic right chose not to. They felt there was nothing in it for them, nothing would change. Nick came out and said [ in post-election media interviews] he had the ‘mandate’ of the people but the man is a fool if he thinks that getting 14.6 per cent of the vote is an overwhelming mandate.’’
Mr Collins has promised to continue to write letters to the editor of Kapi-Mana News, challenging Porirua City Council where he feels it warrants. He has not ruled out running again in three years.
Piripi Gray says he ‘‘ didn’t care’’ where he polled – for the record it was second-to-bottom – saying it was a platform for him to push for a ‘‘fair deal’’ for Maori.
‘‘I’m not disappointed, I’ll keep on keeping on. I consider it an honour to run [for council and the mayoralty] and I will stand in 2013, someone has to.
‘‘ All you get from these candidates is the same thing and nothing ever changes. At least I say things honestly and I speak for the underbelly that keeps this city alive.’’
Although unemployed, Mr Gray says he will continue to advocate for anyone who is being treated unfairly by Work & Income or Housing New Zealand.
Peter Windsor, who was well at the rear of the pack, says he will likely give the mayoralty race another go in three years’ time.
‘‘It’s hard to go up against a political machine like Nick [Leggett] had, especially for someone like me, who has little money behind him.’’
Mr Windsor says retiring mayor Jenny Brash’s endorsement of Mr Leggett with about four weeks to go was crucial and he condemned the move, saying an outgoing mayor should ‘‘ not interfere with the political process’’.
He is certain the people of Porirua are going to face a continual increase in rates under the new mayor. He has a couple of books in the works, has his house up for sale, but hopes to stay in the area.
Third-place finisher Gregory Fortuin did not return our calls.