Douglas departing with no regrets
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.’’
Ken Douglas is standing down after 18 years as a Porirua City councillor.