Lincoln Tan

Lincoln Tan is the New Zealand Herald’s diversity, ethnic affairs and immigration senior reporter.

Super City elections 2013: Ward of wealth and great diversity

As local body voting papers go out, the Herald examines the Super City's wards, analysing the big issues.

An ethnic mix is evident at the Botany Town Centre that is part of the Howick Ward, which has a population size close to that of Hamilton. Photo / Dean Purcell
An ethnic mix is evident at the Botany Town Centre that is part of the Howick Ward, which has a population size close to that of Hamilton. Photo / Dean Purcell

This election has been a dream run for Howick Ward Auckland Council colleagues Dick Quax and Sharon Stewart, who have been re-elected unopposed as the two ward representatives.

Mr Quax, a right-leaning councillor, continues to be highly critical of the "left leaning majority" on council, blaming them for unacceptably high rates and says the Unitary Plan "threatens our cherished New Zealand lifestyle". "There is still a lot of work that still needs to be done ... projects of dubious value such as the white water rafting course in Manukau continue to be approved while spending on vital infrastructure such as stormwater remains dangerously low," he said.

Local politicians in the wealthy ward, where median income is $73,000 with a population size close to that of Hamilton, are a divided lot.

Sitting chairman Michael Williams, who was last year charged with drink-driving, failed in his attempt to axe his deputy Adele White and also lost his bid to establish a $24 million town hall in Botany.

National MP for the area Jami-Lee Ross, who ran with Williams under the Citizens and Ratepayers banner for the 2010 local election, backed Ms White, who he said was "targeted unfairly". Both Mr Williams, a chartered accountant, and Ms White, a senior police constable, are among 25 candidates vying for nine local board seats in three subdivisions - Botany, Pakuranga and Howick.

Independent candidate Neelam Choudary, a banker with links with the Labour Party, said progress under the previous board had been "slower than it should have been". Paul Young, campaigning under the Conservative Party ticket, said rates had been pushed to "intolerable levels" and was promising to bring them down.

Both Ms Choudary and Mr Young, who are immigrants, are also campaigning on the need for greater diversity on the board that represents an area where more than half of the residents are born overseas.

However, John Spiller, seeking re-election to the Howick Local Board, felt "excellent progress" had been made by the board.

In a street poll taken at Botany Town Centre last week, fewer than one in four said they intended to vote - mainly because the ward candidates had already been decided, and others were unimpressed with the candidates on offer.

"When we voted the last time, what we got was a crew from the Mickey Mouse club," said Botany resident Jo Fraser. She felt a big issue for Howick was the increasing arrivals of new migrants, but few local politicians were prepared to put in "time and money" to "help integrate our new neighbours into the community".

The board stretches from the established suburbs of Pakuranga and Howick to the newer areas of Botany and Flat Bush, and includes the industrial estate in East Tamaki. Howick's population is projected to increase from 128,100 in 2009 to 196,000 by 2031, with immigration the main reason for the growth.

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: Orakei
Today: Howick
Tomorrow: Whau

Ward profile - Howick

Ethnicity: European 56.2 per cent, Asian 31.8 per cent, Maori 5.2 per cent, Pacific 3.9 per cent
Birthplace: New Zealand 51.9 per cent, overseas 48.1 per cent
Median household income: $72,923

Ward candidates (unopposed)
*Dick Quax, Independent
*Sharon Stewart, Independent

Local board candidates

Botany subdivision (3 seats)
*Garry Boles, Vision & Voice
*Neelam Choudary, Independent
*Lucy Schwaner, Vision & Voice
*Mike Turinsky, Independent
*Bob Wichman, Independent
*Michael Williams, Residents and Ratepayers
*Paul Young, Conservative
*Peter Young, Vision & Voice

Howick subdivision (3 seats)
*Murray Burton, Independent
*Andrew Craig, Conservative
*Jim Donald, Residents and Ratepayers
*David Ellery, Vision & Voice
*Jenny Foster, Independent
*John Spiller, Independent
*Bruce Urquhart, Vision & Voice
*Adele White, Vision & Voice

Pakuranga subdivision (3 seats)
*Katrina Bungard, Vision & Voice
*David Collings, Vision & Voice
*Darron Gedge, Conservative
*Rowan Hegley, Independent
*Wayne Huang, Residents and Ratepayers
*Heather Mackay, Independent
*Steve Udy, Independent
*Shirley Warren, Residents and Ratepayers
*Simon Williamson, Vision & Voice

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

- NZ Herald

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