by Geoffrey Churchman

The drum kit had no part in the meeting. 🙂

Despite it being organised by the Waikanae Labour Party, nearly all of whose members look to be retired, I went along to yesterday afternoon’s meeting in the Baptist Church’s lovely modern hall as I had yet to make my mind up about the mayoral and districtwide candidates, which this time are contesting three seats, down from 5 last time. Again it was well attended — about 150 people there — and that says a lot of people out there are unhappy with the council.

At the outset the Waikanae Labour Party chair stated, “because there are people in the community who want to make New Zealand ungovernable” they had alerted the police in case of anti-Labour people in the audience. The Labourites seem to be as paranoid as their leader; I can only imagine protestors showing up if Comrade Jacinda did, and maybe Hipkins. No protestors did appear.

The local Jacindanistas did ask their inevitable questions, however: did any candidate attend the anti-Jacinda government protest outside parliament, does anyone belong to Voices for Freedom and what do you think of the Jacinda regime’s covid response. Michelle Lewis and, surprisingly, Jackie Elliott gave good answers to that last question, specifically that the KCDC unbelievably still has vax mandates for staff; good staff have left and gone to Wellington and Porirua. One local Labour member, clearly delighted that Holborow is endorsed by the Party asked if any other mayoral candidate was a member of any party. There were no’s all round.

Another surprise was Rob McCann stating how much the council processes are controlled by the management and how much councilors are kept out of the loop. But pinning his hopes on the new CEO believing in democracy wasn’t an adequate response on changing that in my book.

The mayor is an important position as the mayor gets to choose the committee chairs, chairs council meetings and is the voice of both the council and the community — and is really the only major balance to the power wielded by the CEO. How much is anyone of the candidates going to counter the bulldozer tactics of the management in getting what they want? We know Holborow is not just the Labour Party candidate, but the management’s candidate for her constant praise of staff reports contained in agendas, no matter how bad they are.

Martin Halliday doesn’t a have a perfect voting record, but it’s the best of the 3 sitting councilors and he comes across as genuine. He has also often attended community board meetings; none of the others have (apart from Michelle who is a WCB member.) Mr Mitchell is the protest vote candidate, describing all that is wrong with the way the management treat the public, but doesn’t inspire in the personality stakes, has failed to demonstrate he would be collaborative (in fact the opposite is true) and I have long had big concerns from the times when he has acted for local property businessmen about his dismissive attitude to conservation; trees and birds are a nuisance as far as he is concerned.

District-wide, I was previously mildly impressed with Ian Powell, but he made clear at this meeting he is a covidiot, far too much so to support him. Instead I’ve warmed to Lawrence Kirby: being a pastor he is occupationally concerned about the well-being of people who get chewed up and spat out by the system.

Michael Scott was a no-show as he has been throughout and was last time. All that says is “I don’t give a Stuff about the people, I’m just an ego tripper.” I rate his chances of being elected as zero. Mark Benton was another no show. He was defeated in the Paraparaumu ward last time and it’s easy to see why. Rob Kofoed was another no-show and the MC said that like the other two no-shows, he had been sent two invitations but hadn’t responded. I rate his chances as low. Murray Lobb had a family wedding to attend out of town — family is more important than politics.

So, my picks now for districtwide now are Liz Koh, Michelle Lewis and Lawrence Kirby. Mayor I’m still pondering, although it’s a case of the 1,2,3 order of the 3 who I like.

The KCDC reports that as at 2pm Friday, 23 September 2022, 974 voting documents had been returned to the Electoral Officer for the Kapiti Coast, which represents 2.3 percent of eligible voters.