At 19 years old Waitawhara Tupaea is the youngest candidate standing in the upcoming Hastings council by-election.
Hawke's Bay Today asked all six candidates running for mayor - here is his response.
1. What is your vision for the Hastings district?
Compassionate communities predicated on a sense of universal caring of all people and our place. How will that manifest? High-quality, high-paid work for our people and looking at what council can do to make that happen. Promoting ethical tourism. Looking to have a web-interface like they do in Parliament to track the progress of a bill. Re-politicising public space, have politicians go into bars, parks, street corners to listen to our people and feel their concerns.
2. What steps will you take in your first 100 days to turn this vision into reality?
I will start by making Hastings District Council a living wage council. Planning for more space for community gardens and green spaces for well-being, ie being, feeling in our CBD and townships. More youth spaces.
3. Name the one main area you would collaborate with other Hawke's Bay councils on.
Waste. I want to collaborate on ways to promote-zero waste strategies in our community working from the waste management strategies the councils have in place already but considering alternatives by engaging in what the community wants as well.
4. Are you in favour of continued chlorination for the Hastings district's drinking water?
I'm obliged to speak to our people first. Water is more than a resource, and some stories I've heard describe having a connection with water. Water is life and acknowledging that means we must also acknowledge what kaitiakitanga need and want, what our people need and want.
5. Do you support the controversial Water Conservation Order - why, why not?
We must recognise the historical context of the WCO in order to make clear judgments. My understanding is that the application was submitted under the previous regional council with an unpopular way of seeing. Trust and connectedness were not the kaupapa of the day. With the new council and the TANK process (comprising iwi, community leaders and many others) I would like to see the process unfold and then act on the information that comes out of that process.
6. What's the biggest asset you would bring to the mayoralty?
I have naivety and idealism. Currently these are viewed as downfalls. I've been told I should get "life experience" to know what the real world is like, that it's devoid of hope. If that's the case it's the politician's job to create hope.