Wayne Thompson is a NZ Herald reporter.

Dose of youthful injection to Auckland's local boards

Joseph Bergin.
Joseph Bergin.

Auckland Council's local boards are about to get an injection of young blood, with the success of three candidates aged under 30 in Saturday's elections.

Joseph Bergin, 21, was returned for a second term on the Devonport-Takapuna Local Board, though he failed in a bold attempt to get a seat on the council governing body.

"I'm absolutely delighted, though having just missed out on the governing body. But it always was going to be a tough race with the others being well established.

"For the local board we had a lower turnout than last time but I managed to increase my vote, so that's a vote of confidence for me."

Mr Bergin said he was keen to see completion of projects such as the Milford-Takapuna coastal walkway and the rejuvenation of Takapuna as a metropolitan centre. He was also pushing for a site to be chosen for a youth centre for the North Shore.

"I'm concerned that a council that's responsible for planning 30 years into the future is becoming less engaged with the younger generation and I want to encourage youth to take part in local government."

That is a sentiment shared by Simeon Brown, who at 22 has been elected to the Manurewa Local Board.

Simeon Brown.
Simeon Brown.

The Clendon resident of 10 years has been juggling study for a law and commerce honours degree with board duties since he was appointed to the board in April when a member resigned.

"I was chairman of Manurewa Youth Council but I cannot believe it that I have come fifth out of eight candidates and that 7500 people voted for me. ... with 40 per cent to 45 per cent of Manurewa residents under 24, giving them a voice is important to me."

In the election for Franklin Local Board, 22-year-old Sarah Higgins polled second highest of the Pukekohe candidates.

She is a member of the Franklin Rotary Club and secretary of the Pukekohe branch of the National Party.

Unsuccessful this time but keen to stand again is Shail Kaushal, 20, who received 4970 votes from Mt Roskill residents for the Puketapapa Local Board.

Shail Kaushal.
Shail Kaushal.

"Everyone who got on was at least double my age, so it was a positive result for me and Roskill Community," said the Auckland University student of politics and history.

- NZ Herald

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