Brash and Donaldson face opposition for regional council
In 2013, the experienced duo of Barbara Donaldson and Jenny Brash were elected unopposed onto Greater Wellington Regional Council for Porirua/Tawa. But Heidi Mills and Jorn Scherzer have put their names forward to make it a contest.
Brash is standing for her third term.
She said her regional council role has been ’’interesting’’ and ‘‘exciting’’ and is keen for more.
‘‘The momentum we’re building in so many projects needs to be maintained. I’ve been involved in a lot of decision-making and I think experience has to count for something.’’
Brash, a long-time Plimmerton resident, said transport topics like electric vehicles, integrated ticketing, student concessions and new park and rides are important.
She wanted to see exiting for motorists at the Paremata roundabout sorted quickly.
Along with the Natural Resources Plan on the horizon, Brash wanted to see silt from Transmission Gully and the ongoing work to improve Porirua Harbour and Porirua Stream addressed.
‘‘I have more than 20 years of governance experience and with city councils - I know who to go to. It’s a challenging and exciting time.’’
Donaldson was the chairwoman of the council’s Environment Committee this term, her third on the council.
She said making important decisions that affected the entire region keeps her on her toes.
‘‘Although you’re elected in a certain ward, you work with a regional perspective. It’s incredibly interesting work and I’ve learnt so much these past few years.’’
Donaldson, who lives in Aotea, said the Natural Resources Plan was one of the most crucial pieces of work for the council.
‘‘We go to hearings next year and this is something that shapes management of water and land right across the region. It is always a challenge to develop a plan like this and I want to see it through. I also want to continue with my involvement in the Porirua Harbour strategy and get that catchment area sorted out.’’
Mills said she will bring a focus on engagement with the public if she wins a seat.
‘‘I’m about walking the talk. I work in education with young people and I’ve been asking them about the relevance of the regional council - you get blank looks. This election has been an interesting learning process but I think I have a lot to offer.’’
While Mills, from Tawa, used to work for the Ministry of Youth Development, she is currently operating independently, talking in schools about youth issues. She said she was designing resources to engage young people with their environment.
She said the main regional council issues have been ‘‘wellcovered’’, but getting them across to the public once the new term began was important.
Decisions made at that level by councillors are not publicised enough, she said, and more scrutiny and understanding was needed.
‘‘I have energy and drive and would bring an openness to the role. I’m accessible and I think councillors need to be seen more.’’
Scherzer, a Papakowhai resident, wanted to bring his experience in environmental management with EECA, and at the Ministry of Transport, to bear.
Scherzer, 38, who has a young family, is well-known in the waka ama and paddling community, as a competitor and race organiser. He is the president of the Hoe Tonga Pacifica Waka Ama Association.
He said as someone who paddles Porirua Harbour and Pauatahanui Inlet daily, water quality is his key issue. Public transport follows closely behind.
‘‘I decided that you can complain about what the regional council are doing, or you can put your hat in the ring. I bring solid skills, a new perspective, and my work and waka ama role allows me to have a real regional focus.’’
He said the region needed to be better prepared for the use of electric vehicles.