‘Independents’?

By 8 Comments

Jeremy Greenbrook-Held

At Henderson-Massey’s only meet-the-candidates meeting (West Heights Residents and Ratepayers Association), Future West and Citizens and Ratepayers were questioned about why we were bringing ‘national politics’ in to local elections. There was a mad rush of sitting so-called ‘independent’ Waitakere City councillors (including several former Team West candidates) to take a swing at us and the Citrats.

It put Future West and the Citizens and Ratepayers in a strange position – we agreed with each other. Apparently, our positions on local issues would be determined by Phil Goff and John Key. Unless it was Labour (or National) policy, we would be hamstrung to vote against it. We were accused of being fly-by-nighters, who were only interested in our next political step (in obvious contrast to one candidate, who was a Henderson Borough councillor in the early 1950s).

What a load of crap.

To think that Goff and Key are going to have the time to determine our order of business for the Henderson-Massey Local Board gives you an indication of how deluded, self-involved, and – quite frankly – out of touch some of the sitting councillors are.

Future West has been very clear about where we stand. Our leaflet and billboards have Labour and Greens logos on them, as well as community independents, and are coloured red and green, in contrast to the Citrats blue billboards. To their credit, several Citrat candidates outlined their involvement in the National Party, although there’s no mention of the link between National and Citizens and Ratepayers on their website. Also, while everyone knows that the Citrats are broadly supportive of John Banks for Mayor, they seem a little ashamed to say so publicly, while we’re quite clear about our support for Len Brown.

Our blog has outlined our position on several important issues, such as public transport, continuation of the Eco-City, and asset sales. We have vision for West Auckland. We want to see West Auckland go forward, rather than stand in the way of changes – which according to Waitakere Mayor Bob Harvey is several sitting councillors’ track record.

So, what do these ‘independent’ councillors stand for? Apparently, they’ll ‘listen to you’, and you can ‘trust them’. Several are riding on the back of their names (apparently, their parents and grandparents were quite good at making wine). Yes, they’re the same old crowd.

I’m not sure how you can trust candidates who are campaigning with no vision, limited energy, and a stale, out-of-date mindset, with an equally out-of-date photo to match. Also, as David Wilson, from AUT’s Institute of Public Policy said on Friday’s news (about 1:33 in), you can’t be certain how independents will behave once they are elected.

West Auckland needs new, fresh, energetic and open representation under the Supercity, otherwise we’re going to get lost. The best candidates to stand up for West Auckland under the new structure is Future West.

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Comments

  1. Avatar Carol says:

    Thanks for this. I have been wondering about “Independents”. I’m in Whau ward, and there isn’t a Future West candidate for councillor. I have the choice to vote for an Independent councillor or no councillor at all.

    Why is there no Future West councillor candidate for my ward?

    1. Avatar Sophia says:

      I had the same issue on deciding who to vote for as councillor, almost no information was readily available on any of the Whau councillor candidates on the net and the only promotional material in my letterbox has been C&R – which of course has ended up in my bin.

  2. Avatar Shane Field says:

    The article is a very interesting one. In Palmerston North we have traditionally not had “party politics” in local body elections, that includes city council, DHB and regional council. But as we are also having a referendum about whether to abolish wards, we might find ourselves in a position where we need to have groupings of some sort, in order to lend each other support in various ways, even if such a grouping is not widely known about publicly.

    Having `independents’ in Palmerston North has worked well for us. I don’t agree that an `independent’ necessarily has no vision. I personally would be happy with political groupings in Palmerston North, but it would be quite risky doing it for the first time.

  3. Avatar Mels Barton says:

    Independents cannot be trusted to represent anyone but themselves. The current crop of Waitakere City Councilors demonstrate this very well.
    Despite the passing of the Waitakere Ranges Heritage Area Act in 2008 in this council term, Waitakere City Council has spent the last 12 months passing policies & proposing District Plan changes to undermine the principles of the Act & enable more sub-division & development to occur in the Foothills.
    This is still ongoing & the latest policies haven’t even been consulted on – and yet Council is passing them.
    Is this the future you want for our EcoCity? To have the protection we thought we’d won for the Ranges undermined & eroded? If so, then vote for the sitting Councilors & so-called Independents.
    If not, vote Future West and Best for the West!
    That’s what I’ll be doing – oh & Len Brown of course.

  4. Avatar Carol says:

    And yet, Mels, on the “Come On, West Auckland! It’s Our Time!” thread in this forum, Jeremy Greenbrook-Held praises Independent Ross Clow as having a very good progressive voting record.

    Going on the description provided by the candidates, I’m leaning towards Kirwan for my councillor vote – though he’s untested. But as a committed westie, now part of the new Whau ward, I’m feeling a little neglected by Future West. Now that we have been put into an electorate with current Auckland City boroughs, are we not going to get the same west Auckland representation as other electorates that continue to be located within the old Waitakere City boundaries? Have we kind of been cast out?

  5. I can’t speak for the Whau area as I am not aware of your candidates, but bagging candidates per se for being ‘independent’ seems a little desperate. Many ‘independents’ (myself included) are new to politics and are standing for the very reason that we are tired of the adversarial left vs right party politics that has been a part of the Auckland political scene for too long. I personally stand for much greater public engagement/consultation – something both the left and right have been adverse to – and the desire to support the best ideas, regardless of where they come from. But only so long as the community has been meaningfully consulted with first. I do have a vision for Auckland and it is probably not too dissimilar to most other candidates – the difference is if I am elected to my local board, I will inform the community of developments/issues and ask them what they want. Not just tell them what they are getting.

  6. Norma, I don’t have a problem with independents per se, just the group of tired candidates that we’re standing against in Henderson-Massey. The difference between you and the majority of independents that we’re standing against is that you are fresh, you seem to have vision and you’re not scared to articulate where you stand on issues (congrats on the website BTW). Ross Clow is the same.

    The candidates that we’re standing against are standing on a platform of “You can trust me, I’ve held such-and-such position for the last 60 years” with out talking about what they actually want to achieve. Talking about your skills and experience is important, but it’s not a substitute for vision.

    BTW, this post was in response to the same-old-crowd’s attacks on us. Frankly, I don’t think we’re the desperate ones here.

  7. Fair comment and good luck to all your candidates.

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