The DomPost today published mini profiles of all the new and re-elected Wellington City Councillors. They are not online, so in the interests of open democracy please find them reproduced below. If you have your own views on the strengths or weaknesses of councillors please post them. You may even have a comment on their human frailties. Down the track we are going to compile their top 5 promises each and monitor and report on progress every 6 months.
Justine Lester, 31, is an experienced businessman, owning the Kapai chain of cafes. He describes himself as socially liberal but financially conservative and promise to bring more enthusiasm and passion to the city, especially the Northern ward. He also wants to see infrastructure investment increase city-wide, and supports a new concert venue for Wellington.
Simon Marsh, 61, a former radio DJ best known as Swampy. He said he is central on the political spectrum. “I used yellow and black on my election material because good ideas don’t have a political party. … As far as I’m concerned, I’m playing for Wellington.” He wants to improve communications with residents so the council is more inclusive and plans to hold regular ward clinics so residents can channel their ideas that can be carried into council.
Paul Eagle, 38, stood under the Labour banner. He grew up in southern Wellington, “knows the place back to front”, and put his name forward because no-one else from his generation was prepared to “step forward and have a go”. He has worked for local bodies in Wellington, Auckland and Manukau in the parks and recreation, and events and tourism sectors. Among his aims in the next three years are to oversee the council’s housing upgrade programme, get more flats on the council books, set up a seafood event with the help from iwi and the Italian community, and establish a learn-to-swim pool at the Home of Compassion in Island Bay.
Ngaire Best returned to the council in 2007 after being dumped at the polls in 2004. She was rewarded by being given the social portfolio by Kerry Prendergast, although their relationship was strained by the end of the term. She has a no-fuss manner which allows her to cross political boundaries.
Helene Ritchie is the city’s longest serving councillor but bad blood between her and Ms Prendergast saw he receive no appointments of note in the last term, diluting her influence on the council. She strongly supports keeping open space on the waterfront. The centre-Left councillor was re-elected to the Northern ward despite living in an inner-city apartment.
Andy Foster is a centre-Right councillor, but one who is concerned about council overspending and the environment. He was the urban development and transport portfolio leader in the last council till Ms Prendergast stripped him of transport. He has been a councillor since 1995.
John Morrison, the centre-Right councillor, was the portfolio leader for economic development and recreation, not surprising given his sporting credentials as a former international cricketer. The pro-car, right-leaning councillor was also the chairman of the council’s temporary road closures sub-committee. He has been a councillor since 1998.
Jo Coughlan is a centre-Right councillor who has been returned for her second term after a solid first three years. In the absence of holding a portfolio, she worked hard to improve the quality and quantity of swimming pools in the region. Like ward colleague Mr Morrison, she is strongly pro-private vehicle.
Leonie Gill is a leftie who is aligned to the Labour Party. In the last council, she was the chairwoman of the regulatory processes committee responsible for aspects of resource consents and statutory hearings. A councillor since 1998.
Ray Ahipene-Mercer is a centre-Left councillor, though a strong support of Right-leaning Ms Prendergast, who made him portfolio leader for engagement and cultural wellbeing, and climate change. His Green views may put him in the running for portfolio leadership this time.
Ian McKinnon was Deputy Mayor for the past three years. He is highly competent and hard-working, with a centre-right approach. He is not interested in being deputy mayor again.
Iona Pannett, Green, Left-leaning and always willing to speak her mind, even during her first term as a councillor. Having been elected for another three years, she looms as a potential ally to Celia Wade-Brown, a Green party member.
Stephanie Cook is also a centre-Left councillor who was stripped of her social portfolio under the last Prendergast administration. She, too, could play a big part in the new council, especially given her councillor experience going back 15 years.
Bryan Pepperell. The Left-leaning peak oil believer has been on the council since 1996. He was largely sidelined by Ms Prendergast last term. It was a surprise to see him beaten at the polls by newcomer Paul Eagle. He also stood for the mayoralty, coming fourth of six candidates.