Super City elections 2013: Young locals eager to shape city's future

By Vaimoana Tapaleao

Joseph Bergin is a current member of the Devonport-Takapuna Local Board and is also running for a spot on the Auckland Council.
Joseph Bergin is a current member of the Devonport-Takapuna Local Board and is also running for a spot on the Auckland Council.

Several candidates in this year's local body elections have only recently become eligible to vote.

Among the Auckland candidates, one used his 21st birthday bash to launch his election campaign earlier this year and another still has to sit her learner driver licence test.

When Joseph Bergin was first elected to the Devonport-Takapuna Local Board, he was in his final year at Rosmini College, where he was deputy head boy.

"It was a little weird. The Auckland Council staff didn't know what to think having this 18-year-old walking around the offices," he said.

Mr Bergin, who is hoping to be re-elected and is also running for a spot on the Auckland Council, for the North Shore ward, used his 21st birthday party to kick off his election campaign.

"For me, it's been a crash course and really good experience. It's been very full-on the last three years."

Kayla Filimoehala is yet to learn how to drive. The 19-year-old is running for a place on the Mangere-Otahuhu Local Board for the Mana Movement.

Entering politics was never the plan for the former student at Southern Cross Campus.

Kayla Filimoehala is running for a place on the Mangere-Otahuhu Local Board for the Mana Movement.
Kayla Filimoehala is running for a place on the Mangere-Otahuhu Local Board for the Mana Movement.

"But I wanted to raise awareness around here with the youth - to get them to realise that this is where the decisions are made and those decisions affect them."

Hibiscus & Bays Local Board hopeful Taila Johnston juggles politics with study at AUT and at the local skate park.

He said he had had to get a few new friends after he announced he was running in the local body elections.

"My mates ... they're a little bit different," he said.

"This is me giving it a go. I'm known for taking initiative and I really want to help young people out here."

Shail Kaushal is a self-proclaimed proud "Roskillian" who is standing for the Puketapapa (Mt Roskill) Local Board.

Shail Kaushal, 20, running for a spot on the Puketapapa (Mt Roskill) Local Board.
Shail Kaushal, 20, running for a spot on the Puketapapa (Mt Roskill) Local Board.

He is studying politics and history at the University of Auckland and turned 20 last month.

"I'm doing this because I'm proud of my community and I want to help the people here. Despite hard work, many people are not able to make ends meet."

He wants better public transport to Mt Roskill and thinks getting some young blood in will help make that happen.

Chairman of the Maungakiekie-Tamaki Local Board Simon Randall is about to serve his fourth term, having been re-elected uncontested.

Last year, the then 30-year-old became the youngest chairman of a local board.

He first ran in 2001, as a 19-year-old, but was unsuccessful. When he was 22, he tried again and has been on the board since.

Mr Randall said it had been a tough ride, at times, particularly because of his age.

The 31-year-old offered some advice to younger candidates. "Think about what you want and what you want to achieve. If you do get in, then work with people, and if you don't get in, don't let it stop you. If you really want to get in, work hard and, eventually, you will."

Head here for NZ Herald's full online coverage of the local body elections: tinyurl.com/localbody

- NZ Herald

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