Open workshops a key election platform

Local body candidates put their case for your vote at the first candidates’ meeting in Orewa last week.

Fifteen candidates attended, including only two of the 21 Mayoral candidates – John Tamihere and Alezix Heneti (who is also standing for Council in Albany Ward, and for the Hibiscus & Bays Local Board).

Auckland Council candidate for Albany Ward, Julia Parfitt, and incumbent Councillors Wayne Walker and John Watson were there, along with most of those standing for the 4-seat Hibiscus subdivision of the Hibiscus & Bays Local Board.

The almost two-hour meeting was hosted by Hibiscus Coast Grey Power and around 70 residents attended, almost filling the Catholic church hall – most of those who attended were older people.

Key themes of the five minutes speeches allotted to each candidate were the need to bring Council Controlled Organisations (such as Auckland Transport and Panuku Development) under tighter rein, more transparency and accountability and fiscal responsibility.

The need to build Penlink was also mentioned by most candidates, along with public transport and environmental issues on the Hibiscus Coast.

The potential sale of assets such as Gulf Harbour Marina and the Orewa Service Centre were also raised.

A new issue to emerge this election is the opening of local board workshops to the scrutiny of ratepayers and the media. Currently the only meetings that the local board holds in public are the once-a-month business meetings. Workshops are held weekly and involve presentations of material by CCOs and council staff, and members’ discussions around those topics. No Minutes are kept and the workshops are kept confidential. Several local board candidates hope to open the workshops, if elected, including representatives of the Coast People and Penlink First team as well as independents Claire Teirney and Sam Mills.

The next chance for the public to meet the candidates locally is on Tuesday, September 17 at a meeting hosted by Business Whangaparaoa, in association with Future Whangaparaoa Trust. The meeting is at the Whangaparaoa Community Hub, 707 Whangaparaoa Road (next to Stables Sports Bar), 6.30pm-8pm.​

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