Wayne Thompson

Wayne Thompson is a NZ Herald reporter.

Super City elections 2013: Heritage a concern in growth area

Next month, Aucklanders will vote for who represents them - from the mayor to local board members. In the lead-up, the Herald is examining all 13 Super City wards, and analysing the big issues and contests.

Herald Island is just one part of the vast Albany Ward, much of it edged by water. Photo / Greg Bowker
Herald Island is just one part of the vast Albany Ward, much of it edged by water. Photo / Greg Bowker

Herald Island is the sort of place where Aucklanders once had holiday baches.

Its vintage fire station was run by women residents while the men worked on the mainland - residents still own the small library and museum.

But this place of 256 letterboxes is clinging like a rock oyster to its laid-back lifestyle against a tide of building on the shores of the upper Waitemata Harbour. Off peak, it is 18 minutes' drive to the CBD via the North Shore or the Northwestern Motorway.

The Auckland Council's new rural-urban boundary goes through the island. Only a kilometre across the bay, the old Hobsonville Air Base is being transformed into a building site for 2500 homes. Further up the harbour, there is a chance of about 26,000 new homes being built in five years - encouraged by the city limits extending to Riverhead, Kumeu and Huapai and Taupaki.

Residents & Ratepayers Association chairman Noel Rugg worries about a marine catastrophe should the new sewer lines serving 60,000 homes spill effluent into the bay. Punching culverts into the island's old causeway link would allow better tidal flushing of the basin but the relevant council-controlled agencies won't do it.

"Watercare and Auckland Transport take 75 per cent of our rates but you can't get to them and you can't talk to them," he told candidates for the two spots on the Albany Ward last week when they pitched their qualities.

The community asked what the candidates could do for the island, which is near the end of the dog-leg-shaped ward stretching from West Harbour to Albany and the East Coast Bays and then northward on the eastern side of State Highway 1 through Silverdale, Orewa and Waiwera.

Brent Robinson, an Albany businessman, said the need to bring financial accountability to Auckland Council in its borrowing had motivated him to stand. He had wondered why politicians had difficulty getting past the bureaucracy of council-controlled organisations.

"If the chief executive officer doesn't do what you want, find a new CEO. They are accountable to the council governing body to do what the governing body asks them to do and the governing body must work with the local board."

Sitting councillor Wayne Walker said he had a track record of going into bat for the community. He wanted to bring Auckland Transport and Watercare into the council.

"Cutting out a layer of bureaucracy means more efficiency," he said.

John Watson, who is on the Putting People First ticket with Mr Walker, said he was annoyed by Watercare's approach to bringing in volumetric charging for wastewater on the Whangaparaoa Peninsula for people who supplied their own fresh water from tanks.

Julia Parfitt, who is chairwoman of Hibiscus & Bays Local Board, said she had spent much time at draft Unitary Plan meetings fighting to preserve the character of coastal villages like Herald Island ... "It has a taste of the past here still."

The Housing Accord gave the ability to fast-track development without the checks and balances that existed going up to the draft Unitary Plan process. "So, it's important you have people who understand these serious issues and know how to champion your community's interests."

Lisa Whyte, who is standing for the ward after a term on both the Upper Harbour and Hibiscus and Bays local boards, said the accord's provision to put more homes in special housing areas was a huge threat to attractive communities.

"It will change the lifestyle and we need to step up and make sure it's done in the best possible way."

Catch up with all the Super City news here

Local body basics

There are three main contests:
1. Mayoral election.
2. 20 councillors from 13 wards.
3. 21 local boards.

Key dates

September 20-25: Postal voting papers delivered.
October 12: Election day.

This week

Yesterday: North Shore
Today: Albany
Tomorrow: Eden-Albert-Roskill

Ward profile - Albany

Ethnicity: European 75%, Asian 13%, Maori 6%, Pasifika 2%.
Median age: 38 years.
Median personal income: $28,647.
Median household income: $67,840.
Current councillors: Wayne Walker; Michael Goudie.
Local boards: Upper Harbour and Hibiscus & Bays.

Ward candidates (2 seats)

Mary-Anne Benson Cooper (Independent)
Tricia Cheel
Kevin Moorhead (Independent)
Julia Parfitt (Independent)
Brent Robinson (Independent)
Wayne Walker (Putting People First)
John Watson (Putting People First)
Lisa Whyte (Independent)

Local board candidates

Upper Harbour (6 seats)
Uzra Balouch (Team of Independents)
Callum Blair (Conservative)
Nicholas Mayne
Jonathan McDonald
John McLean (Independent)
Margaret Miles
Brian Neeson (Independent)
Christine Rankin (Conservative)
Lisa Whyte (Independent)

Hibiscus & Bays Local Board

East Coast Bays (4 seats)
Edward Benson-Cooper (Independent)
Chris Bettany
Rob Caithness (Conservative)
Lynne Connor (Independent)
David Cooper (Bays Independent)
Ivan Dunn (Independent)
Gary Holmes (Independent)
Toby Hutton (Communities & Residents)
Bob Jones (Independent)
Stephen Kendall-Jones (Conservative)
Teresa Moore (Independent)
Kevin Moorhead (Independent)
Julia Parfitt (Independent)
Lisa Whyte (Independent)

Hibiscus Coast (4 seats)
Mary-Anne Benson-Cooper (Independent)
Simonne Dyer (Conservative)
Janet Fitzgerald (Independent)
Saunil Hagler (People & Penlink First)
Gaye Harding (Loving the Coast)
Taila Johnston (Loving the Coast)
Lovisa Kronqvist (People & Penlink First)
Danny Mountain (Conservative)
Greg Sayers (People & Penlink First)
John Watson (People & Penlink First)
Travis Wells-Lakeland (Independent)

For more on the candidates in your local area see voteauckland.co.nz

- NZ Herald

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