Democ­racy is alive and kick­ing in Porirua’s wards

Kapi-Mana News - - CONVERSATIONS -

It’s well known that folks in Porirua like to leave things to the last minute.

Call it pro­cras­ti­na­tion if you like. Or per­haps it is the em­bod­i­ment of the Kiwi ’’It’ll get done, don’t panic’’ at­ti­tude or the ‘‘What’s the rush? Take your time and it’ll be fine’’.

There’s no bet­ter re­cent ex­am­ple of this than the lo­cal body elec­tions.

In the week lead­ing up to the cut­off date of noon on Au­gust 12, there was a hand­ful of can­di­dates lin­ing up for the var­i­ous wards, trusts, hos­pi­tal board and even the may­oralty.

As was noted by this news­pa­per, Euon Mur­rell was in dan­ger of be­com­ing the city’s first un­con­tested mayor since Jenny Brash in 2001.

While we would like to give our­selves a pat on the back and say we helped get the num­ber of can­di­dates for the may­oralty up, we are more aware it was a case of ‘‘I’ll wan­der down to the coun­cil of­fices at 11.30am on the last day and put my name in’’.

But de­spite the last minute rush, the num­ber of peo­ple seek­ing the may­oral chains and stand­ing in Porirua’s three wards is in­cred­i­bly heart­en­ing.

Four­teen peo­ple stand­ing for four seats in the East­ern ward, 13 for four seats in the North­ern ward, and 10 for two seats in the West­ern ward makes for in­ter­est­ing times.

The hoard­ings are up, the leaflets are be­ing printed, so­cial me­dia is awash with their views. Some may call it the silly sea­son, but at least the spot­light is be­ing poured onto is­sues that mat­ter for the peo­ple of Porirua.

The range of ages, work­ing back­grounds, cul­tures and life ex­pe­ri­ence among can­di­dates is bog­gling. This is our com­mu­nity at its best - peo­ple putting their hands up to rep­re­sent their ward and city dur­ing a crit­i­cal time of growth and de­ci­sion-mak­ing.

More of­ten than not, the names on the vot­ing pa­pers are peo­ple em­bed­ded in their neigh­bour­hood. They know what peo­ple care about, they know the talk on the street. It’s a shame some have to miss out.

Thorny is­sues like amal­ga­ma­tion with Welling­ton, hous­ing and health, what im­pact Trans­mis­sion Gully will have on Porirua, rates, pub­lic safety - they are all raised and it is in­cred­i­bly in­ter­est­ing to hear can­di­dates’ views on them.

If noth­ing else, elec­tion sea­son raises is­sues that we should all care about and, if the can­di­dates have thought them through, en­light­en­ing so­lu­tions can be forth­com­ing.

Other, lo­calised, talk­ing points in­clude the Ti­tahi Bay cy­cle­way, state of our foot­paths, ac­ces­si­bil­ity to pub­lic ameni­ties and the state of the har­bour. All vi­tal to Porirua res­i­dents.

The 41 names across the three wards and for the may­oralty is a tes­ta­ment to the will­ing­ness of peo­ple to rep­re­sent this city.

Even if they were late get­ting their names in.

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