How to vote

The local body elections are in full swing, so you should have received your voting papers by now. (If you haven’t, contact the Council today!) And every day, the returning officers publish the statistics for how many votes they’ve received back – currently running at a bit less than 11% of us. So in an effort to help democratic participation in our neighbourhood, here’s a guide to how to vote tactically under STV and FPP, courtesy of the Sustainable Wellington Transport blog. So have a read to get the maximum value under our voting system – but whatever you do, don’t forget to vote!

Tactical Voting

Warning: With FPP if you tick more boxes than you are allowed to, all your votes will be disallowed. You can tick fewer than you are allowed to.

Preliminary step for STV and FPP:

Identify:

      • who you really want to have elected (you don’t at this stage have to choose if there are more people you like than places available – list all the ones who you would be very happy to see elected), and
      • anyone who you are actively voting against (who has a reasonable chance of getting in – ignore the nutters and fringe candidates)

For STV if you are not actively voting against someone:

      • Add to your list any candidates who you would be happy to have elected.
      • Rank all the people on your list in order.
      • Give them a number in order of rank (one for the best). So obviously the people who first went on your list will be at the top.
      • Consider whether there is a “protest” candidate who you don’t want to have elected, but whose cause you support.
      • Give them the next number.
      • Do not give a number to anyone else.

For STV if you are actively voting against someone:

      • Add to your list any candidates who you would be happy to have elected.
      • Now look at your list and see whether those on it are the people with the best chance of defeating the candidate you are voting against. If not, and there is someone with a good chance who you don’t also dislike, add them to the list.
      • Put your list in order. Place those with a strong chance of defeating the candidate you are voting against high on the list, along with those you most love. Try to have someone with a good chance of winning in the first few numbers. The higher they are on the list, the more likely they are to benefit from your vote.
      • Give them a number in order of rank (one for the best).
      • Consider whether there is a “protest” candidate who you don’t want to have elected, but whose cause you support.
      • Given them the next number.
      • Do not give a number to anyone else.

For FPP if you are not actively voting against someone:

      • If your preference list is less than the number of ticks you are allowed, tick those you’ve chosen and then decide whether you want to give a tick to anyone else to fill up your quota of ticks. If there are other people who you would be happy to have as councillors/board members, give them a tick. You are helping to vote against candidates you don’t like or who you don’t know anything about but who might be worse. But if you don’t know much about the other candidates, don’t feel obliged to use all your ticks. Stick to those you know about.
      • If your preference list is equal to the number of ticks you have, tick them.
      • If your preference list is more than the number of ticks, choose who will get the ticks unless there is someone who you really really want to have elected, and they are likely to only just scrape in, and there is no-one else you really want to support. In that case give them a tick and don’t use any of your other votes. If you give ticks to other candidates you may be reducing your candidate’s chance of getting in. (Note that this only applies for FPP, not for STV.)

For FPP if you are actively voting against someone:

      • Look at your preference list, and see whether there is someone on the list who has a very good chance of defeating the candidate you are voting against. Check that there isn’t someone else with a better chance who you could live with. If you have a good opposition candidate and there isn’t someone radically better, proceed as above.
      • If none of your preferred people have a very good chance of winning, and there is someone who is ok who has a far better chance, add that person to the preference list. Give them a tick, and give any remaining ticks to the preferred candidates with the best chance of getting in.
      • Make sure you use all your ticks – every vote you cast may reduce the chances that the candidate you are voting against will get in.

What makes a good councillor

Issues

      • Are they on the side of the good and holy (i.e. do they agree with you on key issues)?
      • If they were on a council before, or had some other relevant role, did they find ways to present the issues usefully, and relate them to the decisions being made? Or do they have a very simplistic approach to the issues?
      • Did they build support for the issues or polarise people?
      • Did they give lip service to the issues but actually support contrary decisions?

Hard working

      • Will they put the time and effort into the job? Look at whether they are promising to be a full time councillor, or expecting to also run a business or look after a family on their own.
      • If they’ve been on the council before, look at their meeting attendance record.
      • Did they bother to answer questionnaires and turn up to candidates meeting?

Effective

      • Have they been a councillor before? Were they considered effective in that role by their peers and informed commentators?
      • If they haven’t, do they have a background that means they will be able to analyse papers and express their views clearly and succinctly?
      • Are they going to be totally lost in the bureaucratic system, meeting procedures, etc? Can they be tactical and use the system effectively?
      • Can they work with other people, or are they really just loner protesters? Protesters should stay on the outside harassing the council rather than joining them.
      • If they are a mayoral candidate, can they pull together a disparate council, or will they be divisive?
      • If they are a councillor, are they likely to end up chairing a sub-committee?

Support

    • Councillors don’t have electorate secretaries, research offices or any other support. Does the candidate have some sort of support base (friends and supporters, political party, etc)?

A frenzy of demolition


Tom Scott’s acerbic assessment of the effectiveness of the Council’s heritage protections, from the DominionPost of Friday 24 September.

The news that two 19th century retail buildings in Willis Street are being demolished to make way for a temporary two-storey structure with no architectural merit will hardly come as a surprise to residents of Mt Victoria.

Over the last 15 years we’ve seen the fabric of our neighbourhood slowly eroded by Council-approved demolitions despite the apparent “protection” of a pre-1930s demolition rule in the District Plan. The intention of the rule was to preserve the streetscape of Mt Victoria and ensure that the remaining original buildings were retained.

Yet it appears from MVRA records that the Council has never declined a single demolition consent since the Demolition Rule came into effect, nor have they ever required public notification to alert the community of the impending loss of heritage buildings. It’s hard to escape the conclusion that the Council’s planners have never met a demolition application in Mt Victoria they didn’t like.

In the last month, two demolition approvals have been granted – for 2 Stafford Street and 6 Macfarlane Street. The circumstances of the two properties are quite different, but in both cases the houses concerned are clearly visible from Waitangi Park and the CBD – yet the planners contend that neither made a positive contribution to the local streetscape. This simply isn’t good enough.

The Residents Association has made submissions on the replacement for the Demolition Rule, the recently-approved District Plan Change 72 (DPC72). We think it’s a positive and sensible rationalisation of the planning rules across the city and makes some worthwhile improvements for property owners and heritage protection alike. But we’re highly skeptical that the planners will apply the rules effectively, based on their track record, and so we will continue to see the Council-approved destruction of the heritage of our neighbourhood. It’s not something we’re looking forward to.

Video from the Mayoral candidates meeting last week

Following on from the Ward candidates meeting, you can now view the Mayoral candidates strutting their stuff in glorious widescreen Technicolour! Each segment is about ten minutes long, is in the order in which candidates spoke on the night and can be viewed after the jump.

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All videos are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Kerry Prendergast

Al Mansell

Bernard O’Shaughnessey

Bryan Pepperell

Celia Wade-Brown

Jack Yan

Video from the ward candidates meeting last week

If you missed the candidates meeting on Tuesday 14 September you’re now able to revisit the candidate speeches, thanks to the miracle of YouTube! Each segment is about five minutes long, is in the order in which candidates spoke on the night and can be viewed after the jump – with the exception of Kris Price, who didn’t appear at the meeting.

Creative Commons License
All videos are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

John Bishop

Stephanie Cook

Adam Cunningham

Marcus Ganley

Mark Greening

Ian McKinnon

Iona Pannett

Reminder: Meet the Mayoral Candidates meeting tonight at Crossways

Following on from the entertaining Ward candidates meeting on Tuesday night, we’re bringing the Mayoral candidates together for an evening of rapier wit and incisive policy debate. Join us at the Crossways Community Centre in Roxburgh Street from 7:30pm.

The meeting is being hosted by the Mt Victoria Residents Association and Mt Cook Mobilised as a joint community event for local residents to meet and question the mayoral candidates.

Everyone is welcome and refreshments will be provided.

Opinion: Kerry Prendergast

As part of our coverage of the local body elections, we’ve offered the mayoral candidates the opportunity to put an opinion piece on the website, explaining their vision for the city as a whole and Mt Victoria in particular. First up is incumbent Mayor Kerry Prendergast.

Wellington has grown continuously during my Mayoralty, and Wellingtonians rate their quality of life as the best in New Zealand (95%). Tourism numbers continue to rise above the national average, with economic development creating more jobs. Long term investment has increased, with over $300 million being invested in our infrastructure; enabling new bus lanes, improved storm water systems, more public art, and upgraded social housing. Our world-class indoor sports centre, currently being built, will create more opportunities and recreation for everyone, and attract more visitors to our City through sporting tournaments.

My Council has invested around $3million in Mt Victoria; improving sewerage, water, roads, making the streets safer, and keeping the suburb clean and graffiti free. We are giving increased support to the new Crossways.

Wellington’s creative and innovation sectors are flourishing. We have a great ”can-do” attitude and we continue to make things happen. I’m very proud to champion that spirit and I’m determined to continue the work underway to:

• Complete the plan for a rapid transit network from the railway station to the hospital and airport.
• Deliver on the aspirational goal to make Wellington carbon-neutral.
• Complete the Wellington 2040 plan that looks ahead to determine the vision and shape of the city for the next 30 years to ensure we continue to invest in jobs, our communities, our recreation and environment.

Proven leadership will be crucial. I have the ability and national respect to ensure Auckland’s Super City doesn’t damage Wellington, and I have shown how I can lead a council with purpose and clear focus.

Please support me, and allow me to continue for three more years as your Mayor.

http://www.kerry4mayor.co.nz

Reminder: Meet the Candidates meetings next week

The local body election season is upon us, with postal voting on who we would like to represent us on the Wellington City Council, the Greater Wellington Regional Council and the Capital Coast DHB due to commence at the end of next week.

As usual, the Mt Victoria Residents Association and Mt Cook Mobilised are convening a joint community event for local residents to meet and question the candidates. This year there will be two meetings, both held at the Crossways Community Centre in Roxburgh Street:

Local Ward candidates meeting on Tuesday 14 September at 7:30pm
Mayoral candidates meeting on Thursday 16 September at 8:00pm (following the MVRA AGM at 7:30pm)

Everyone is welcome and refreshments will be provided. If past experience is anything to go by, these will be entertaining evenings with plenty of debate and banter and witty exchanges, so mark your diaries now!