WCC Watch Soapbox: Nicola Young – Strong, inspired mayors drive change

Next up on the WCC Watch Soapbox is the independent Mayoral and Lambton Ward candidate Nicola Young. Feel free to leave questions for her in the comments. As always candidates (or readers) are welcome to contribute posts too and can submit pieces here.

Strong, inspired mayors drive change

Michael Fowler re-energised Wellington after the long, plodding 18 years of Frank Kitts. Ian Lawrence championed Wellington’s International Festival of the Arts, which established our reputation as the creative capital; we became the liberal capital under the leadership of Fran Wilde with her history of championing gay rights; and Kerry Prendergast started the greening of Wellington, with the planting of pohutukawa trees along Waterloo Quay. The capital lost its greyness, in favour of a metropolitan vibe totally out of proportion to its size.

The spark has faded in the past three years; and that’s why I’m standing for Wellington’s Mayoralty. There have been too many strategies, and not enough action. Our city needs change and leadership, with a Mayor who’s inspired, has a wide-angled vision, plenty of common sense and gets things done. I want the capital to become New Zealand’s first choice destination – for Wellingtonians, other New Zealanders, migrants and visitors.

Running a city is similar to running a business, and needs the same qualities: decisiveness, leadership, ability to build relationships, clarity, fiscal responsibility, far-sightedness, and demonstrating it has a heart.

Governance is another issue. ‘Double-dipping’ by councillors must stop – it’s unacceptable for them to be paid additional salaries as board members of Council Controlled Operations.

Let’s use our strengths, to grow and revitalise the city and our economy. We’re brainy, with world-class (often under-rated!) public servants and lots of smart graduates whom we need to retain; making sure they settle here and don’t drift north, or across the Tasman.

Our Information Communications and Technology (ICT) sector and the 700 ‘creative’ companies centred on Peter Jackson’s empire have great economic and employment potential; starting with the Government, a major ICT consumer. In August, I organised ‘Wired Wellington’ when the Prime Minister met about 70 people from the ICT sector; it’s believed to be their first face-to-face encounter.  Frankly, it’s something the Council should have done years ago. I’ve been asked to extend the event to other sectors: we need strong relationships with central Government; it’s Wellington’s largest employer, has the biggest bank account, and we need its backing.

The world is full of tourists looking for new destinations. Most capitals flaunt their status with political museums, statues, memorial plaques and guided tours. Not us; other than Parliament Buildings and the Beehive, it’s hard to find any sign of our political history. We need leverage our capital city status into a tourism attraction.

Our CBD’s compact topography makes Wellington the perfect location for festivals – reinstating the Cuba Street Carnival is high on my list, and I’ve got a number of other plans!

Wellington needs a Mayor who can lead the city, and drive change; not incumbents who’ve already served five terms. If elected Mayor, I’ll work to rejuvenate the capital, a city where people want to live, work, and stay. I’ll be a strong, inspired Mayor of whom Wellingtonians can be proud. I’ll make sure Wellington gets back its spark.

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11 responses to “WCC Watch Soapbox: Nicola Young – Strong, inspired mayors drive change

  1. Three points. Back in March, you were calling for ‘fresh faces on Council’, which I think everyone either collectively agreed with, or had been suggesting for some time. You initially started running just as a Ward Candidate, and still are, but you’ve since set your sights on the Mayoralty. Don’t you think that was a bit short sighted in the first place, if you think you are now the person to lead Wellington ?
    Second, since the Cuba Street Carnival was canned, I alongside some others were very vocal in trying to get the Cuba Street Carnival reinstated, but yours was never a voice we heard – why not ?
    Thirdly, you say you want Councillors not to be able to double-dip when they serve on the likes of CCO’s, but this Council effectively terminated such a ‘deal’ by abolishing that perk at the end of this term of Council. Surely this then is a non-event. Your thoughts ?

  2. Peter – The double dipping is only a done deal if supported by the new Council given that each Council can set its own policy. Additionally, the Council only took this action after being called out on it by candidates in this election. It is essential that we have representatives that know it is unethical to establish subsidiary structures, appoint themselves to them, and then give themselves extra remuneration for doing so. Imagine if a Cabinet Minister put themselves on the Board of an SOE and pocketed an extra $15k a year!

  3. Hello. I understand the difficulties of double dipping but if these people (well the ones who do it properly) are already working well over 40 hours a week and are then expected to do more work on a different committee or Board that is not their direct job why shouldn’t they get paid for it? If I had to do a second job I would.

  4. Jacob, the existing Councillors voted last year to do away with this little perk after the election this year. I wouldn’t like to be a Councillor who tried to reinstate it. The people are tired of such duplicity. I don’t recall your name being mentioned in the war against these perks. What I do recall is you started your campaign in the Southern Ward, before jumping ship to the North. Representation, a bob each way.

    • Hi Peter. You seem to believe anyone insincere who you haven’t personally heard rally for a policy. I have spoken against the double-dipping both in the past and now. Representing the Council on a CCO is an adjunct to a councillors role and the base salary is sufficient remuneration. The Council has taken action once put under pressure after the rort has gone on for years. I support any candidate who calls attention to this.
      I’m unsure why you appear hostile to me Peter (or to Nicola for the matter) and it doesn’t bode well for your ability to work around the Council table. If you are interested to know more about me or my policies please get in touch or check out http://www.jacobtoner.com

  5. @Peter having been to a Northern Meet the Candidates meeting I can confirm that Jacob was the only candidate to mention this at several points during the meeting. Maybe you need to do your research before trying to do such a thinly veiled attack.

  6. In your post, you stated the Councillors only made changes after coming under pressure from candidates in this election. Yet those changes were made late last year, after years of public dissatisfaction. I left those questions for Nicola, as I’ve seen other candidates go into other Wards and ask questions, thereby denying residents in those Wards the opportunity to ask questions themselves. I am still unsure who I am voting for Mayor. We have a good selection to chose from.

  7. I decided to stand for the mayoralty as people wanted a real choice, not just two long-term incumbents who cannot credibly offer change.
    Cuba St Carnival: you may not have heard my voice; others did.
    Double-dipping: Council decided it would cease at the end of this triennium (although the resolution did not cover non-CCOs – the Stadium Trust and Wgton Airport), but that the new Council could review their decision, and extend it to the Stadium Trust & Airport. So, effectively, a ‘feel good’ decision with no effect on the current council and only a suggestion for the new one.

  8. Nicola – How do you intend to credibly offer change unless you can demonstrate support around the council table? You are just one vote!

    For instance, you’re the only major candidate to oppose a living wage, yet if you’re elected mayor you may well find that the majority around the table is strongly in favour of paying workers enough to live on. It’s all very well saying you want to offer change and strong leadership (although I’ve never seen a candidate that said they were going to offer weak leadership, so that’s not much of a differentiator), but how will you actually deliver? Or will you be resigning after your first defeat?

    • I oppose the WCC getting involved in matters that belong to central Government. Recent amendments to the Local Government Act required councils to focus on providing cost effective core public services, rather than deal with issues related to social or economic wellbeing (which is where I believe the ‘Living Wage’ fits). I have a history of collegiality; working with and listening to people to get results. I’m clear-thinking, decisive and understand that sometimes compromise is necessary (so it’s not ‘my way or the highway’). I don’t walk away from problems or defeats.

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