Super City election 2013: Old versus new in South Auckland

By Vaimoana Tapaleao

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

Saturday morning shopping at the busy Otara Markets reflects the diverse ethnic mix of the area's population.  Photo / Richard Robinson
Saturday morning shopping at the busy Otara Markets reflects the diverse ethnic mix of the area's population. Photo / Richard Robinson

For many in the Manukau ward, it's all about the old school - sticking to traditional voting habits and ticking the faces that have been around for years.

But new - and young - blood in this round of local body elections hope to change old voting habits.

The Manukau district takes in Otara, Papatoetoe, Mangere and Otahuhu. Pasifika peoples make up just over 51 per cent of the population with 67,254 Pacific Islanders, followed by 29,079 European, 23,871 Asian and 22,869 Maori.

Many residents point to familiar faces on the billboards and say they will be sticking with those they know.

Widely respected ex-policeman Alf Filipaina and former National MP Arthur Anae have served as councillors for the ward for the past few years and are again the front-runners this year.

Mr Filipaina brought in 15,235 votes in the 2010 elections. Mr Anae followed with 13,269 votes.

There are several interesting local board candidates this year, including funeral director Nick Bakulich, former policeman Willie Maea and one of the youngest candidates, 19-year-old Kayla Filimoehala.

With an average age of 28 years, the Manukau ward has one of the country's youngest populations and, therefore, huge potential.

But the majority of local young people admit they are not into politics and probably won't vote. Others say they simply don't care.

In the Otara-Papatoetoe local board race, newcomer Efeso Collins is hoping to change that attitude.

Mr Collins, who has worked extensively with youth in high schools, universities and church groups, said he was pushing to be the "youth voice". He's not scared to say that the time has come for new blood.

"My thing is, if you have people there who have been there for about 100 years, then it's time for someone new. It's time to give someone else a chance and it's time for new ideas."

In Otara, older residents say next to nothing has changed.

Ex-policeman Alf Filipaina is seeking re-election and is seen as front-runner along side Anae. Photo / APN
Ex-policeman Alf Filipaina is seeking re-election and is seen as front-runner along side Anae. Photo / APN

High unemployment, low incomes and too many students leaving school early - many without qualifications - are still big issues.

The local shopping centre is still the hub people head to during the day. There is familiarity and a homely feel to the place, they say.

But it's run-down and needs attention - it feels neglected. There are several vacant shops and many of the buildings have been around for almost 40 years, one man says.

Mr Anae said resources needed to be pushed back into the Otara shopping centre - with the help of the local board.

"I think local boards really need to be going back to the people and understanding what needs to be done. [Rejuvenating] the centre is doable, but with good changes."

Papatoetoe residents have suffered for a long time, they say, with street sex workers threatening local businesses and causing property values to drop.

Among those looking for another spot on the Otara-Papatoetoe local board are John McCracken and Stephen Grey. The pair were vocal about the Hunters Corner issue, patrolled the streets at night and carried out an initiative to drive sex workers out of Papatoetoe.

That has seen a private members bill that will give local authorities more control over street prostitution.

Otahuhu residents are looking forward to the start of construction this month of a $30.9 million recreation precinct - complete with a library and swimming pool facility - which was canned almost five years ago.

Those in Mangere are unhappy that South Auckland's free-for-all swimming pools are now limited to those aged 16 and under.

Former National MP Arthur Anae is also seen as front-runner. Photo / APN
Former National MP Arthur Anae is also seen as front-runner. Photo / APN

Mr Anae said they had worked hard to ensure that the free-for-all scheme stayed, partially, but were working to include everyone again.

Mr Anae said the dream was to push the initiative to include all Auckland swimming pools.

Local body basics

Mayoral election
20 Auckland councillors in 13 wards
21 local boards

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

This week
Today: Manukau
Tomorrow: Manurewa-Papakura
Wednesday: Franklin

Ward profile - Manukau
*Ethnicity: Pasifika 51.8 per cent, European 22.4 per cent, Asian 18.4 per cent, Maori 17.6 per cent
*Median age: 28 years
*Median personal income: $20,327
*Median household income: $50,810
*Current councillors: Arthur Anae and Alf Filipaina
*Local boards: Mangere-Otahuhu and Otara-Papatoetoe

Ward candidates
Arthur Anae, Independent
Baskaran Appu, Communist League
Tunumafono Ava Fa'amoe, Labour
Alf Filipaina, Labour
Roger Fowler, Mana
Avtar Fowler, Mana
Joe Trinder, Mana

Local board candidates
Mangere-Otahuhu - 7 members:
Nick Bakulich, Labour
Carrol Elliott, Labour
Kayla Filimoehala, Mana
Roger Fowler, Mana
Roger Gummer, Independent
Tafafunai Tasi Lauese, Labour
Christine O'Brien, Labour
James Papali'i, Mana
Sam Patua, Independent
Leau Peter Skelton, Labour
Lydia Sosene, Labour
Kevin Stitt, Conservative
Walter Togiamua, Labour
Joe Trinder, Mana

Otara-Papatoetoe:
Otara subdivision - 3 members
Efeso Collins, Labour
Lotu Fuli, Labour
Mary Gush, Labour
Ian Hei Hei, Mana
Jenn Jefferson, Otara Local Independents
Willie Maea, Otara Local Independents
Tupou Tamata Manapori - Vanessa Naden, Independent
Poutoa Papali'i, Otara Local Independents
Jim Sinclair, Otara First

Papatoetoe subdivision - 4 members
Sina Aiolupotea-Aiono, Team Papatoetoe
Ashraf Choudhary, Team Papatoetoe
Stephen Grey, Papatoetoe Local Independents
Alistaire Hall, Team Papatoetoe
Donna Lee, Papatoetoe Local Independents
John McCracken, Papatoetoe Local Independents
Paul O'Brien, Papatoetoe Local Independents
Ross Robertson, Team Papatoetoe
Anthony Ryan
Ray Strong, Independent

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

- NZ Herald

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