Fisking the #Wgtn2013 Candidates – Lambton Ward

The third in our ‘Fisking the Candidates’ series where we take a look at each Ward and its candidates. Feel free to post your own picks and observations in the comments.

Lambton Ward (3 vacancies)

With 2 of its 3 councillors (Stephanie Cook and Ian McKinnon) calling it quits, Lambton will deliver two new faces (or one new and one recycled, looking at you Rex) around the Council table. Lambton voters have been quite good in the past at delivering a politically balanced delegation to Council and I think that will continue.

The Wellingtonian have another short profile of the Ward’s candidates and issues, while the candidates have been subjected to a number of candidate meetings.

Iona Pannett

Pannett has established herself as a safe incumbent, and should easily top the ward, probably on first preferences alone. One of the most polarizing councillors, she cops a lot of flak from her detractors (usually right wingers who see her as anti-development and anti-road Green) and sometimes this blog for various reason :-).

Nevertheless she has done good work around earthquake strengthening and other aspects of her portfolios and enjoys a high profile due to tireless door knocking efforts during the last few election campaigns and attending countless community meetings. All of which were reflected in the polling.

Rex Nicholls

In 2010 there were two credible right-wing candidates – John Bishop and Adam Cunningham, who both performed very poorly despite pumping a lot of money into their campaigns. With three strong right wing candidates this time (Young, Dow & Nicholls), it’s hard to see there being enough first preferences to get more than one of them elected, especially if they all collect a reasonably similar amount of them.

After Wellington’s centre-Right elite struggled to find a credible mayoral challenger to Celia Wade-Brown, Rex Nicholls’ candidacy looks like a desperate bid by their clique to remain relevant and connected to council. If his first billboards are anything to go by he’s still stuck in a 90s electoral mindset.

John Dow

We covered Dow when he announced his candidacy a month or so ago. He has an impressive CV and an enviable track record of delivering events, but as with Nicholls, until nominations closed, 90% of Lambton voters probably hadn’t heard of him, with little time to turn that around. He will probably struggle in such a competitive field, ultimately placing just outside the top 3.

That said he can probably achieve more for the city (as he has done for so many years) from outside the Council.

Nicola Young

Of all the right-leaning candidates Nicola Young should be the one to triumph. Her campaign has been energetic and organised, and has been campaigning for months. She’s proved she’s no show pony, organising a huge event with the Prime Minister.

My biggest surprise has been at her campaign’s relatively average branding and marketing, especially her website and fliers which doesn’t really scream modern and professional like Wade-Brown’s did in 2010. It’s not difficult and she wouldn’t be lacking access to resources. Her use of social media, and Twitter in particular has been outstanding.

While she might no win the mayoralty, she will go on to Council with a higher profile than many of the incumbents, which will set her up nicely for the coming term and another mayoral tilt in 2016.

Jennifer Stephen

Another rates are too high-we must stop the waste-the council’s lacking leadership,-I’m fresh candidate. With so many candidates in this field saying that she will struggle to cut through, and will probably fall short of winning a seat. The youngest of all the candidates, it’s great to see younger than usual candidates putting themselves out there and up for election.

Mark Peck

Like Young, Labour’s Mark Peck has been running a respectable, organised and energetic campaign. Peck has been door knocking and phone canvassing for weeks and has been targeting voters with direct mail which should pay dividends. His endorsement via a promoter’s statement from popular local MP Grant Robertson and the use of Robertson’s volunteer networks will also be very helpful.

Has an decent CV and lots of experience in elected office and is currently running an busy inner city cafe. He also seems to be attracting some  right-wing buzz himself (though he’d never admit it) on the back of his first campaign video and could pick up some of McKinnon’s votes.

Michael Appleby

Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party’s serial candidate. I’m pretty sure his blurb doesn’t change for each election he stands in. Complete waste of time and a joke. He’s not even amusing anymore.

Stephen Preston

A corporate trainer by trade, Preston is against amalgamation that excludes the community, is anti-Basin Reserve Flyover and anti-off shore drilling. He’s in favour of a number of progressive issues like great public transport, the Living Wage, and against water metering. Worryingly he favours a referendum on fluoride in Wellington’s water.

Has a respectable candidates blurb and is one of the few candidates that uses social media, but probably won’t reach the top 3.

Milton Hollard

Unlikely to make much impact. All the best though buddy.

John Woolf

Woolf thinks their isn’t enough “Green-Labour politicians” on council and wants to change that. He is against “excessive development along our waterfront, and unwanted flyovers and motorways that divide our city”. Probably wont win many conservative first preferences. He sounds like Stephanie Cook, but probably wont enjoy 15 years, let alone one on council.

Mark Wilson

A big thinker who wants to free up 2km of prime waterfront by shifting Wellington’s port to Ngauranga, build a light metro system through the central city and wants to “create dynamic hotspots of activity and turbocharge our celebrated cafe culture.” Hard to not like those ideas, but whether or not it’s feasible/realistic is another thing! Will probably place somewhere in the middle of the pack.


  • Picks – Iona Pannett, Nicola Young, Mark Peck
  • Dark Horse – John Dow, Rex Nicholls


5 responses to “Fisking the #Wgtn2013 Candidates – Lambton Ward

  1. My website is certainly amateurish, because I did it myself. When I looked at councillors’ websites, most were frozen in time from the last election; I wanted one that I could update easily (not refer back to a designer), and I thought it a good challenge to learn how to build one myself. I love good design, but also wanted to have a cost-effective campaign – my focus has been on things like door-knocking and meeting people. October 12 will reveal if that’s worked!

  2. I am happy being a “dark horse” making a late run in this race. However, although Rex and Nicola are openly in unison as seeking to represent the “right”, I have never considered myself of the “right” and don’t know anyone who thinks of me this way either. I am very positive about creating a better economic environment, more jobs and a successful business community and have championed this for many years, particularly as the Director of the Wellington Gold Awards but don’t consider this makes me of the “right”.

  3. Pingback: The Wellington City Council candidates | Kiwiblog·

  4. Pingback: Closing mayoral candidate statements – Get out the Vote! | WCC Watch·

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