Democracy is alive and kicking in Porirua’s wards
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.