Super City elections 2013: Walker and Penrose front-runners

By Vaimoana Tapaleao

Housing, housing affordability and need for jobs are big issues facing Southside's Manurewa-Papakura ward

Shakira Vaka, 4, enjoys the children's area of the pool at the Manurewa Pool and Leisure Centre. Photo / Chris Gorman
Shakira Vaka, 4, enjoys the children's area of the pool at the Manurewa Pool and Leisure Centre. Photo / Chris Gorman

This year's local body elections will see some interesting line-ups for the Manurewa-Papakura ward.

But long-time service and popularity among locals might make sure those at the top stay there.

The race for the ward's two Auckland Council seats is shaping to be a good one.

The front-runners look to be Sir John Walker and Calum Penrose, who are standing for the Independent Manurewa-Papakura ticket.

Sir John is well-regarded in the Manurewa community and has been a popular figure since his days on the Manukau City Council.

The former Olympic gold medallist is the man behind of one of South Auckland's most talked-about initiatives in recent years - the Find Your Field of Dreams Foundation.

The initiative has seen thousands of youngsters take up regular swimming lessons and sports in various parks around the Southside over the years.

His push to provide a better atmosphere and create better opportunities for local youth - through sport - has made him a much-loved figure in South Auckland.

Mr Penrose was the last mayor for Papakura before the Super City was created. He, too, is a favourite among residents, but he is quick to deflect anything that might look like praise.

"At the end of the day, the community will speak," he said.

"But I think what people need to think about when voting is who will represent them the best and who will be committed in the job."

Mr Penrose said too many councillors had been lazy; absent from council meetings too many times and not turning up to important workshops.

"It's been appalling, to be honest. But I want to do the work and I'm here for the long run, if I'm re-elected."

Housing, housing affordability and the need for more jobs were some of the big issues facing the ward at the moment, he said.

"People don't want to be living in a box apartment on top of other apartments. Creating more employment out there is also a must and if I'm re-elected, that will be a key priority."

The Manurewa-Papakura ward is diverse, with 46.7 per cent of the population European, 27.8 per cent Maori, 22.3 per cent Pasifika, 12.5 per cent Asian and 1.8 per cent Middle Eastern/ Latin American/ African.

With a median age of 30, it has a lot of a fairly young people.

Two other teams are vying for the ward council spots; from the Mana Movement ticket and Team South.

The Mana candidates include James Papali'i, who has a long history in social work and working with local youth. He has also lectured at the University of Auckland.

An interesting pairing is that of the Team South ticket - made up of former Manukau City councillor Colleen Brown and former deputy mayor of the old Papakura district, Peter Goldsmith.

The pairing is significant as Mrs Brown has traditionally been a Labour candidate and Mr Goldsmith a National candidate.

Mr Goldsmith has good standing in Papakura, where he has served for a long time.

Mrs Brown has a good rapport with the Manurewa community, having been a solid councillor in Manukau City and a member of the Manurewa local board for years.

In recent weeks, she has said one of the key reasons for running for a place on the Super City council was to make sure South Auckland was not neglected.

Mrs Brown said the council's planned $1.8 million over 10 years for the Southern Initiative was not good enough, given billions will be spent in the inner city's infrastructure.

There are 35 candidates battling to get on the Manurewa and Papakura local boards, respectively.

With so many names, it's no wonder many residents admit they need to do more research to figure out who will get their vote.

Probably one of the more well-known names in the bunch is George Hawkins, of the Manurewa Action Team ticket.

Mr Hawkins was the Labour MP for Manurewa last term and stepped down from that role when he was elected on to the local board in the 2010 elections.

He is also a former Papakura mayor and a councillor in that district. His strong links to Manurewa and Papakura, as well as being a popular figure in the region, puts him in for a good chance for another term.

Manurewa-Papakura profile

Ethnicity: European 46.7%, Maori 27.8%, Pasifika 22.3%, Asian 12.5%
Median age: 30 years
Median household income: $57,632
Current councillors: Sir John Walker and Calum Penrose

Ward candidates
Colleen Brown (Team South), Peter Goldsmith (Team South), James Papali'i (Mana), Calum Penrose (Independent for Manurewa-Papakura), Barry Edward Tumai (Mana), Sir John Walker (Independent for Manurewa-Papakura)

Local board candidates

Manurewa (8 seats)
Michael Bailey (Manurewa Action Team), Elizabeth Barrowman (Team Manurewa), Simeon Brown (Manurewa Action Team), Lillian Cattell (Team Manurewa), Angela Cunningham-Marino (Manurewa Action Team), Angela Dalton (Manurewa Action Team), Neville Farrelly (Independent), Judi Goldsworthy (Team Manurewa), Toa Greening (Team Manurewa), John Hall (Independent), George Hawkins (Manurewa Action Team), Michael Joy (Team Manurewa), Jane Logan (Team Manurewa), Barney Manaia (Team Manurewa), Danella McCormick (Manurewa Action Team), Ken Penney (Manurewa Action Team), Ezekiel Robson (Manurewa Action Team), Vivienne Wilson, Daryl Wrightson (Manurewa Action Team)

Papakura (6 seats)
Felicity-Jane Auva'a (Team Papakura), Stuart Britnell (Papakura First), Brent Catchpole (Independent), Andrew Craig (Conservative), Simon Goodall (Papakura First), Nicky Hayhow (Team Papakura), Hine Joyce-Tahere (Team Papakura), Bill McEntee (Papakura First), Jill Ovens (Labour), Katrina Piggott (Independent), Graham Purdy (Papakura First), Len Richards (Labour), John Robinson (Team Papakura), Michael Turner (Papakura First), Katrina Winn (Papakura First)

- NZ Herald

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