Sprucing up tired town centres, public safety and managing ongoing residential growth - in particular its impact on traffic congestion - are the biggest concerns for Manurewa-Papakura ward voters ahead of the local body elections.

Councillors Calum Penrose, a former Papakura mayor and pie shop owner, and Sir John Walker, former Manukau City councillor and Olympic champion, have held the ward's two council seats since it was formed as part of the Super City in 2010.

Both are seeking re-election, and face one challenger, former one-term Manukau City councillor and Manurewa Local Board chairman Daniel Newman.

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Newman, who is standing under the Manurewa-Papakura Action Team ticket, said his focus was on revitalisation of the Manurewa and Papakura town centres, public safety and transport and managing growth, while Penrose lists transport, housing and employment as his top priorities.

Walker wants funding for free pool entry for youngsters switched to free swimming lessons, and will continue his Field of Dreams programme, which encourages Manukau children into sport.

"Crime is too high here. Street kids [are] terrorising the trains. They've got nothing to do."

Wattle Downs Residents and Ratepayers' Association vice-chairwoman Sue Matete said crime was getting worse.

She was also worried infrastructure would not keep up with growth.

The Herald explains why you should care about the upcoming Local Body Elections

Takanini dad Sela Tapaevalu knows about that. Traffic to and from work is the worst part of his day.

"It's taking me an extra half an hour when it should be taking me 20 minutes."

Manurewa woman Janet Wallace said her biggest concern was safety.

She runs each morning and it's just "getting a little bit more frightening nowadays".

However Manurewa Marae chief executive Lorraine Byers hadn't noticed an increase in crime.

She said the rising cost of living, especially rents, was the biggest challenge for people in the south.

People were working so hard to just get by they did not have time to worry about council-related issues, she said.

Produce Star Dairy owner Raghbir Singh said teens sometimes "make trouble" at his Papakura dairy, and police did not always respond promptly, so safety was a biggie for him.

He hoped the council would also revive the central business district.

"Some more businesses should be coming in here, and apartments," he said. "I think the businesses here would appreciate that."

YOUR COMMUNITY, YOUR CHOICE

Monday:

Tuesday:

Wednesday:

Albert-Eden-Roskill and Manurewa-Papakura

Thursday:

Albany and Howick

Friday:

Licensing trusts and DHBs

Next Tuesday:

All the Auckland wards, plus regional highlights, in our local body election supplement