Douglas de­part­ing with no re­grets

Kapi-Mana News - - OUT & ABOUT - KRIS DANDO

It’s time for fresh eyes, Ken Douglas says.

The 80-year-old Porirua City coun­cil­lor con­firmed at the be­gin­ning of this tri­en­nium that it would be his last. He was first elected in the West­ern ward in 1998.

The for­mer trade union fire­brand said he stood in 2013 be­cause of the shadow of amal­ga­ma­tion hang­ing over Porirua.

‘‘I’ve al­ways been in favour of amal­ga­ma­tion and wanted to help shape these new pri­or­i­ties,’’ he said. ‘‘It didn’t hap­pen, but there’s al­ways plenty to keep me busy.’’

Since his re­tire­ment as head of the Coun­cil of Trade Unions in 1999, Douglas has been an elected mem­ber of the Cap­i­tal & Coast Dis­trict Health Board, Porirua Li­cens­ing Trust and served on the boards of Air New Zealand, New Zealand Post, New Zealand Trade and En­ter­prise, New Zealand Rugby Union and Health­care New Zealand.

Leav­ing his post as a city coun­cil­lor was not a hard de­ci­sion, he said. ‘‘It’s for young peo­ple and young eyes now. Ev­ery­one has to move on even­tu­ally.’’

His var­i­ous board ap­point­ments had com­ple­mented his city coun­cil du­ties, rather than hin­dered them, he in­sisted.

‘‘I got to travel to places and at­tend meet­ings with some ex­tremely im­pres­sive brains, and de­bate is­sues that af­fect New Zealan­ders, which had rel­e­vance here in Porirua.

‘‘I was able to keep up with my work as a coun­cil­lor – it never stops, and Porirua is home, so I was in­vested in mak­ing it a bet­ter place.’’

De­spite his na­tional pro­file through his trade union roles, and stand­ing for the So­cial­ist Unity Party three times in gen­eral elec­tions, earn­ing a seat on Porirua City Coun­cil was his high­wa­ter mark in pol­i­tics.

He said for­mer mayor and cur­rent coun­cil­lor John Burke con­vinced him to stand.

Douglas was bru­tally frank about some for­mer and cur­rent coun­cil col­leagues, but said he had en­joyed work­ing with mayor Nick Leggett. He hoped Leggett won the up­com­ing Welling­ton may­oralty.

‘‘It’s a sen­si­ble de­ci­sion for him to stand. They say a fish rots from the head down and it [Welling­ton] is in bad shape. Nick will shake things up.’’

PHO­TOS: FAIRFAX

Ken Douglas is stand­ing down af­ter 18 years as a Porirua City coun­cil­lor.

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