So many choices in Porirua’s Eastern ward
Fourteen is a popular number in Porirua’s east.
That’s the number of candidates that are standing for four seats in the ward for the upcoming local body elections, the exact number that stood in 2013.
However, along with incumbents Izzy Ford, Denys Latham and John Burke, only Faafoi Seiuli and Martin Gregory are back for another go to represent the residents of Ranui, Cannons Creek, Waitangirua, Ascot Park and Aotea. The popular Litea Ah Hoi is absent for the first time since winning a seat in 2001.
Morris Cheer, the only resident from Aotea, Kylie Wihapi, Willie Taurima, David Watt, Benna Seveali’i-Siolo, Sala Nimarota, Paula Mac Ewan, Lorna Kanavatoa and Jevan Goulter are the newcomers on the ballot and they have a job on their hands to get noticed in the coming weeks. Expect many of them to use social media during their campaigns.
There is local body experience among them. Goulter, who lives in Wellington, has stood for the mayoralty in Whanganui before, Faafoi Seiuli was a Porirua City councillor from 2010 to 2013 and Willie Taurima and Benna Seveali’i-Siolo are former longtime council employees.
One point raised by more than one candidate was that the three incumbents do not live in the Eastern ward.
Ford, who polled highest in 2013, lives in Whitby, Latham is in Papakowhai and Burke resides in Mana. All have deep roots in the Eastern ward, however, and will bank on experience and having a good handle on eastern and citywide issues holding them in good stead.
‘‘I’ve represented the Eastern ward for the past nine years and think I’ve done a pretty good job,’’ Latham said. ‘‘I taught and coached rugby there for many years and feel I have a good understanding of the issues that people care about. Experience counts for a lot.’’
Issues for the Eastern ward raised include better connectivity between the council and community, flooding, village planning, public safety, housing and, predictably, rates.