Speech to the Western Ward, Meet the Candidates event
Porirua City Council Elections 2016
Tuesday 27 September 2016, 7pm-9pm
Titahi Bay Intermediate School
Kia ora tātou and Fakaalofa lahi atu
Thank you Renee and Sarah of the Titahi Bay Community Group for this opportunity to speak to you all this evening, particularly at a school that I attended in the early 1970s when my parents lived in Elsdon and we had returned from living in Niue.
My name is Chris Wilson and I’ve lived in Porirua City for 28 years now, the last four years in Titahi Bay.
My father was a public servant and my mother a teacher and it is with the same spirit of service that I have offered myself as a candidate for this ward. I believe candidates should be representing voters’ interests.
One of these interests I believe is to help minimise residential rate increases. This helps home-owners and, indirectly, those renting. I think we can further diversify our rating base by encouraging more high-value businesses to locate to Porirua. I know from large companies I’ve spoken to, like Webster Drilling, that Porirua City is ideal for their business with good transport connections, cheaper rentals and attractive recreational features for their staff. I think as a communications consultant myself that the council could mount a much stronger campaign to promote the city throughout New Zealand. If we can attract more high-value businesses, and further diversity our rating base, we can help take the pressure off residential rates.
My own view is that the previous council was overly prudent in its last 10-year plan. It focused on achieving a balanced budget in five years’ time, during a period of high investment where it was also finding, for example, $20 million-worth of link roads for Transmission Gully. I think the council can afford to come back to a balanced budget over a longer period, allowing it to invest in a few key things that are going to make a real difference along the way to the people of Porirua.
I believe one of these things should be adoption of a Living Wage by the council, and submissions this year on the annual plan supported that. A Living Wage not only helps council employees but has a flow-on effect to the wider community.
I’d also like to see council give a higher priority to upgrading stormwater systems so we see an end to flooding of homes and businesses in Porirua City.
I support the revitalisation of the city centre and would also support as part of this project providing shelter for pedestrians walking between Porirua Station and North City shopping centre.
I’d like to see better train and bus connections in the city, including to Elsdon and Titahi Bay. Can we get a Sunday bus service for Elsdon, for example? Better public transport would particularly help those on low wages or those wanting to reduce their carbon footprint.
Similarly, I would advocate for council to improve walking and cycling infrastructure over time. We’ve invested in our roads – now it’s time for footpaths and cycleways so we invest in the health of our people and help reduce carbon in this era of global warming.
I think Porirua’s recreational attractions, beautiful landscape and cultural diversity are a real point of difference in the wider Wellington region. I think council should continue to invest in these, including keeping near the top of the agenda building a decent performing arts space. I think we should have another look at this as part of an enhanced Pataka complex because Pataka has become a real ‘go-to’ destination for visitors to Porirua.
I hope this gives you a taste of the interests I’d be representing on council, should you vote for me.
[Authorised by Chris Wilson, Unit 23, 26 View Road, Titahi Bay]