Super City elections 2013: Battlefield of haves and have-nots

By Mathew Dearnaley

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

A campaign to keep terraced housing out of heritage village centres such as Mt Eden has had a high profile in the run-up to the elections. Photo / Sarah Ivey
A campaign to keep terraced housing out of heritage village centres such as Mt Eden has had a high profile in the run-up to the elections. Photo / Sarah Ivey

Sprawled between two harbours, Albert-Eden-Roskill spans an economic and social divide from leafy Epsom to McGechan Close in Owairaka, branded in 2007 by John Key as "underclass" country.

So it was fitting that the ward of more than 160,000 Aucklanders had a foot in each camp in 2010 when it voted former National Cabinet minister Christine Fletcher and left-wing battler Cathy Casey into its two seats on the first Super City council.

Although Mrs Fletcher leads a shrunken Communities and Residents organisation hard pressed to find enough local board candidates, she gained a majority of more than 5000 votes last time, and is assured of re-election after consolidating her Mt Eden stronghold under siege from intensification demands in the council's Unitary Plan rulebook.

That is despite victory claimed by Dr Casey's City Vision ward running mate, Albert-Eden Local Board chairman Peter Haynes, in winning a council commitment to keep terraced housing out of Mt Eden among other heritage village centres while accusing Mrs Fletcher of being absent from early planning sessions.

Mrs Fletcher insists that although she went overseas for a family wedding, she has worked solidly to oppose the Unitary Plan's presumption of high population growth while council organisations continue to base infrastructure provisioning on medium-growth projections.

But the ward's big contest is between Dr Casey, a criminologist, and 34-year-old community police constable Nigel Turnbull, whom C&R plucked from his political apprenticeship as deputy chair of Mt Roskill's Puketapapa Local Board to join Mrs Fletcher.

Christine Fletcher.
Christine Fletcher.

That is spiced up by a turning of tables from 2010, when a failed National Party electorate candidate split the centre-right by running against C&R, helping Dr Casey to victory by just under 600 votes.

This time, Greens breakaway Phil Chase is infuriating the centre-left by running for a ward seat as well as heading a four-member ticket on the Albert-Eden Local Board's Owairaka subdivision.

One seasoned left-wing observer is betting that as one of Auckland's hardest-working councillors Dr Casey will keep her seat.

"And you should never underestimate the dog thing that Cathy is branded around - I'm surprised at the amount of Tories who vote for Cathy on that" - a reference to Dr Casey's championing of pooch-owners' rights.

Mrs Fletcher promotes Mr Turnbull as a way to maintain symmetry in "a very diverse ward", saying Mt Roskill - where 51 per cent of residents were born abroad and the median household income of $58,300 is $11,000 below Albert-Eden's - needs council representation.

She says Mr Turnbull, who has a directorship through his police job of a major youth development project, is "right at the cutting edge of working within the community" while having personal experience of difficulties facing young families scrimping for first-home deposits.

That advocacy doesn't wash with minority City Vision members of Mr Turnbull's Puketapapa board, the husband-and-wife team of Michael Wood and Julie Fairey, who cite his opposition with Mrs Fletcher to a "living wage" for council staff and refusal to rule out privatising the port and airport as showing a commitment to hardline right-wing values.

Cathy Casey.
Cathy Casey.

They say Mt Roskill suffered decades of neglect under C&R rule, although Mr Turnbull claims little changed when City Vision took over the Town Hall in the mid-2000s.

Intriguingly, it was C&R member Richard Barter who, as Puketapapa board chairman, used his casting vote to support a council investigation into the feasibility of a living wage.

Mr Barter, who says that was consistent with his work on poverty alleviation for an aid agency and that he has "never been told what to do by the C&R people", believes his board has achieved remarkable consensus on most other issues such as its promotion of measured rather than hasty redevelopment around the mined-out Three Kings Quarry.

Similarly, the board formed a united front with its Albert-Eden counterpart with help from Dr Casey and Mrs Fletcher to resist a push by Housing NZ last week for four-storey apartment blocks over a large section of flood-prone Owairaka, allegedly without local consultation.

But at election time all bets are off, and City Vision under the Roskill Community Voice banner is battling hard for the upper hand on a raft of local issues such as burying high-voltage powerlines, restoration of the Puketapapa and Big King volcanic cones, and a railway line from Avondale to May Rd.

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
Monday: North Shore.
Yesterday: Albany.
Today: Albert-Eden-Roskill.

Ward profile

Albert-Eden-Roskill
Population: 160,400
Auckland councillors: 2
Local boards: 2
Ethnicity: European 51.1%, Asian 31.1%, Pasifika 10.5%, Maori 6%, overseas-born 43.4%
Median age: 33
Median household income: $65,697
Current councillors: Cathy Casey and Christine Fletcher
Local Boards: Albert-Eden and Puketapapa

Ward candidates (2 seats)
Cathy Casey (City Vision)
Phil Chase (Liveable Communities)
Christine Fletcher (Communities and Residents)
Grace Haden (Transparency New Zealand)
Peter Haynes (City Vision)
Nigel Turnbull (Communities and Residents)

Local board candidates

Albert-Eden Local Board
Maungawhau subdivision (4 seats)
Bevan Chuang (Communities and Residents)
Lee Corrick (Communities and Residents)
Rohan Evans (City Vision)
Peter Haynes (City Vision)
Rachel Langton (Communities and Residents)
Lisa Loveday (City Vision)
Greg McKeown
Godfrey Rudolph (City Vision)
Tim Woolfield (Communities and Residents)

Owairaka subdivision (4 seats)
Pauline Anderson (Focus Local- Independent)
Helga Arlington (City Vision)
Sheelah Chalklen (Liveable Communities)
Phil Chase (Liveable Communities)
Mark Donnelly (Focus Local-Independent)
Graeme Easte (City Vision)
Lisa Er (Liveable Communities)
Glenda Fryer (City Vision)
Rodger Jack (Communities and Residents)
Gayatri Jaduram (Focus Local-Independent)
Jeffrey Johnson (Conservative)
Philip Nannestad (Liveable Communities)
Monique Poirier (Communities and Residents)
Sian Robertson (Mana Movement)
Margi Watson (City Vision)

Puketapapa Local Board (6 seats)
Richard Barter (Communities and Residents)
Harry Doig (Roskill Community Voice)
Peter Eccles (Independent)
Julie Fairey (Roskill Community Voice)
David Holm (Roskill Community Voice)
Garth Houltham (Roskill Community Voice)
Shail Kaushal (Roskill Community Voice)
Ella Kumar (Communities and Residents)
Peter Muys (Communities and Residents)
Darren Pigg
Joseph Rebello (Conservative)
Hari Shankar
Paul Sommer (Conservative)
Nigel Turnbull (Communities and Residents)
Matt van Tuinen (Communities and Residents)
Michael Wood (Roskill Community Voice)

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

- NZ Herald

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