Rates relief promise key platform for Watt
David Watt says a freeze on rates would be his first move as Porirua’s mayor, if he beats out the other five candidates in the up-coming election.
The Plimmerton resident, 52, is up against Mike Tana, Liz Kelly, Euon Murrell, Gordon Marshall and Mike Duncan in the race for the seat left vacant by Nick Leggett.
Moving from the Wairarapa two years ago, Watt, a teacher and school manager most of his working life, said he was motivated to stand after talking with refugees in his new role as manager of the Porirua Language Project.
‘‘The most effective things I’ve heard about the council and the way the city is run is from people in the street,’’ he said.
‘‘I’ve talked with most of the CBD retailers and with the people the Language Project helps. I’m aware of their needs and aspirations and what role the council has to play in that.’’
Watt’s central platforms are to ‘‘tame’’ executive salaries of council managers, address flooding, transport and crime issues, advocate for health, housing and social needs to central government and make Porirua a destination for shopping, government offices, business and tertiary education.
One move he would look to make immediately is a first year rates freeze on new housing and rental accommodation. He would also push to cap rates at inflation and believed in a living wage for council employees.
‘‘We do not have the high incomes of other cities and people are struggling out there with $4000 rates bills,’’ he said.
‘‘I want Porirua to be a place that people will prosper and I don’t think it will happen if we stay on the path we’re on.’’
Watt was not worried about his inexperience in civic affairs, saying his management experience and desire to work with people for common goals would serve him well.
The father-of-four said Porirua was a wonderful and diverse place to live and relished the challenge of leading it forward.
‘‘The combination of the land, sea and hills and the incredible attitude of people here makes me incredibly happy to live here. There is that mix of generations of families and new people being welcomed in to our villages.’’
Porirua mayoral candidate David Watt.