Greater Wellington Regional Council

The WCC week that was; New slots open at WCC & GWRC, the worst name ever for a sport’s field, Greens trade transparency for secrecy, and Council nominations open

A lot of news to catch up on this week. Big news, small news, rumours, and plenty of links to help you keep up to date on all the shenanigans.

First up, best dressed, and a little outside of our echo chamber, GWRC Councillors are falling like flies. After an awful triennium thanks to the bustastrophe, Chris Laidlaw, Ian McKinnon, and Sue Kedgley are all stepping down. Barbara Donaldson seems determined to stick around and shows a remarkable lack of understanding saying of the bus network issues;

She was aware people were threatening not to vote for those who oversaw the bus network rollout but said it wasn’t a particular issue for the constituency she was standing in, being Porirua and Tawa.

She won’t spray and walk away

I mean really. Residents in Porirua and Tawa uses buses? I wonder if she can get her other foot in her mouth at the same time. Actually, let’s not tempt fate.

Speaking of buses. Simon Woolf and Diane Calvert commissioned a reasonably unscientific survey of bus use in the Western Ward, that showed exactly what we all knew, the bus service really, really sucks. Interesting numbers around people getting back into cars, which seems at variance with the WCC and GWRC asserting their have been more trips on public transport.

Perhaps, as someone pointed out to me, that’s because we’ve introduced hubs, which means that the number of buses you need to get somewhere is effectively doubled. Anyway, buses are stuffed, Barbara should resign.

It’s goodbye to Simon Marsh who is standing down this year as well from the WCC opening the way for a new face in Eastern Ward. Judge for yourself on his record, we will not, and wish Simon all the best. You can read the love letter from Mayor JL to Swampy here. (Not a very good one by the way.)

The yellow caravan no doubt will be retired, or perhaps converted into a food caravan that can join the flotilla that hover around the Stone Street Studios during movie shooting. I’m not sure what kind of food Simon is though, it’s a tough one.

Perhaps a good-old fashioned “White Lady” style of joint. I tell you what, I’d get on my bike and visit that for sure. In a world of weird food caravans an old-school favourite would make millions.

OK, where were we, I’ve just demonstrated why you shouldn’t write copy when you are hungry.

Right, so that does open up a seat out East and we hear a rumour that we may see the youngest candidate ever throw their hat in the ring at just eighteen. But can’t confirm it and don’t think it’s good to name names at this point.

In what was the worst kept secret of the entire election to date David Lee is stepping down in the Southern Ward and says he was “shafted” by the Greens in relation to a run at GWRC, where, quite frankly, he probably would have romped in because of the three that are leaving.

A Green Party spokeswoman said she was sorry Lee felt that way but there was one spot and two candidates, who members voted on in the usual process.

Wellington City councillor David Lee who missed out on selection to a ‘greener person’ says Green Party ‘shafted’ him

Voted “in the usual process.” I wonder what that is? Whatever strange ritual it is, it’s not a good one, because David would have walked onto the GWRC easily.

In what has to be the most disengious, boring, uncreative move of the week, an attempt is being made to rename the Basin Reserve the “Support Women’s Sport Basin Reserve.”

Fleur Fitzsimons, tipped to be the next Deputy Mayor by sources that have quite frankly got everything else wrong you’ve sent me, is all over it.

“We will be sending an important message to girls and women across the world that in Wellington we value the role of women in sport,” Fitzsimons said.

New name for Basin Reserve suggested: Support Women’s Sport Basin Reserve

Before you get all left-pile-on over this, I do think it is clearly important that we do work on getting that message out.

However, this name will not fly. You can imagine it.

Person 1: So maaaaate, are you going to watch the cricket at the Support Women’s Sport Basin Reserve this weekend?

Person 2: Maaate, I didn’t know it was on at the Support Women’s Sport Basin Reserve. I find it really hard to get a bus that goes anywhere near the Support Women’s Sport Basin Reserve even though I do love the Support Women’s Sport Basin Reserve and have been going there for yonks.

Person 1: Maaaate.

Person 2: Maaaate:

Plus it will need a massive sign, and given we are in a climate emergency, that is just not ok, we need far fewer, smaller signs.

Speaking of the Greens, they’re under fire for a lack of transparency around Let’s (not) Get Wellington Moving. And oh man, who hasn’t seen this before, potentially politically interfering in a process because of ideology and ignoring the expert advice of, well, experts. But that’s just Wellington in a nutshell.

Genter has declined to release the letter she penned to Twyford, citing reasons including “to maintain the effective conduct of public affairs through the free and frank expression of opinions between Ministers of the Crown”.

But Willis said the public had a right to know what’s in the letter.

“Minister Genter should release this letter and make her views known to the public. There is no good reason why she should be hiding those views. The Government should be upfront about what decisions it made and why.”

Calls for more transparency over Let’s Get Wellington Moving decision

It really doesn’t matter, the LGWM process has doomed us to two decades of little or not action in a city that is increasingly congested by all types of transport. So much for “the most open and transparent government ever.” Genter is clearly on public record about her views and they do no include cars.

Now, if you want some intelligent, open, transparent, and excellent thinking then over on Eye of the Fish is a whole series of articles looking at transport options around the city.

Conor Hill continues to get a tonne of airtime in the local media as he is still the only Mayoral candidate. As a first timer on the campaign trail he’s doing well.

On Wednesday mayoral candidate Conor Hill said he wanted to see Wellington’s growth accommodated within apartments in suburbs like Newtown, Berhampore and Kilbirnie, an option that would mean knocking down some of the city’s pre-1930s housing and abandoning plans for greenfield development.

But economist Kirdan Lees has cautioned that suburban apartment blocks aren’t enough and the city might need to free up greenfield land too if the rate of population growth stays the same.

Hill said accommodating growth purely through CBD high-rises was not practical in the face of resilience issues that could see insurance premiums continue to soar and leave buildings exposed to climate change risks.

Time to grow up Wellington? Could building six-storey apartments in suburbs bring down prices?

Singapore Airlines added a new flight to the capital this week, which was immediately questioned given that a) the WCC has declared a climate emergency and this is another move that is out of sorts with that and b) the WCC, we, subsidise Singapore Airlines substantially for said flights.

Finally, nominations are now open for Council. As I have written before, I think it’s time that as many people as possible stood, it’s the only way we are going to see any wholesale change. More about that soon.

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