by Geoffrey Churchman
I first met Nigel at the time of the 2016 council elections when I contested (and came very close to winning) the Waikanae ward seat on the council while he had decided (albeit with some misgiving) to seek a fourth term as the Kapiti seat-holder on the Regional Council during which time he got a proportionately high spend for Waikanae, including the extension of commuter trains, a new station, a proper large commuter parking lot and an anti-flood embankment along some of the north bank of the Waikanae River. However, his high spending opponent Penny Gaylor got the seat in 2016.
In the six years since, we’ve regularly discussed local issues involving KCDC and at the time of the council elections in 2019 when he stood for a district-wide seat we said: “He’s someone we quickly appreciated as intelligent, analytical and insightful and we often discuss local matters with him — nearly always we’re on the same page.”
On the Greater Wellington Council he was a Committee Chair: Greater Wellington Regional Portfolio Leader: Parks, Forestry, Biodiversity; and served as Deputy Chair of the Environment committee and the Finance, Risk and Assurance committee.
He has also served on the Boards of CentrePort Investments, Wellington Rail and the Westpac Stadium.
When we first met for for lunch 5 years ago he admitted he is a ‘tax and spend socialist’ but immediately clarified that by saying he means spending on good quality necessary infrastructure and amenities such as schools, hospitals, roads, railways, bridges, recreational facilities — and not on more bureaucrats with inefficient and ineffective bureaucracy. All too often governments and councils throw money at problems by setting up committees, departments or having conferences — and not on front-line workers who can achieve or at least help achieve change. In effect: a lot less hui and a lot more do-y is needed.
He is known to most as the principal editor of KC News which generally takes a neutral and non-provocative approach to news, but in person he has plenty to say on issues and doesn’t hold back. Being one of the best thinkers and most informed people in Kapiti, I put a lot of weight on what he has to say. At least once a week we have long chats about council people and issues.
I was one of those who persuaded Nigel to stand in the Waikanae Ward as this time we need an astute councilor with an abundance of common sense, opposition to bad ideas, and commitment to getting good things done. In Waikanae these include reinstating the Recycling Centre, a new hall for the Waikanae beach zone, making Waikanae Park a destination park with more amenities, getting the Peka Peka interchange built and of course the Waikanae Library replaced. He has always been an opponent of the water meters and doesn’t like imposed fluoridated drinking water — it should be a choice.
As his flyer says:- Nigel Wilson number 1 for Waikanae!