On the 14th May 2019 - with music playing loud, food being shared, kōrero (conversation) being had, and friends together in one space united by the kaupapa (cause) - I announced my candidacy for Wellington City Council for Pukehīnau / Lambton Ward. The Launch was held at BGI on MacDonald Crescent, Te Aro. A fitting place considering my own mahi (work) advocating for young people, aligned with BGI as a youth development organisation supporting rangatahi (young people) across Wellington.
Organised by my Campaign Manager, Marlon Drake with the help of some of our good friends, we managed to bring together about seventy of our friends and peers to celebrate the announcement - and people say young people don’t care about politics! Totally untrue. For a lot of us, we are simply unaware of these platforms and decision making bodies and therefore do not engage.
Unfortunately, in a time where students, young professionals and young families fight over subpar housing leftover from our broken rental market, when public transport systems isn’t working across the region, when the ensuing climate emergency is fast-approaching - we have been forced into taking control of our future out of concern that those tasked with representing our voices are not doing so.
Aside from the negatives, I believe there is real value in having young peoples’ voices reflected in decisions that affect a City which is made up of large populations of young people/ students. Democracy is essentially government by the people, for the people, and having representation of one of the main cohorts in Wellington City is imperative for a working democratic system.
The Wellington City Council, Victoria University of Wellington and Masssey University in Wellington all talk about Wellington being a ‘Student City’. We already know that the Inner City is projected to grow by tens of thousands of people in a matter of years. We must make sure that we are actively supporting a City-wide culture that can accommodate this growth in a way that does not disrupt our existing communities, but in fact strengthens them.
For the last five months I have been the President of the Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association, and for two and a half years before that I was on the Executive for the Student Association. That experience has taught me a lot about governance and being a representative. It has taught me how to utilise my core values, combine that with what the people I am representing want and need, and delivering. And now I get to do that work 9-5, five days a week.
For me, deciding to run for Wellington City Council is about combining the emotional investment I have with our student community, and my hopes for young people across Wellington - which includes my very own nieces and nephews out at Ngā Mokopuna (kura/ school) in Seatoun or out in Epuni. I believe that I can bring an element to the City Council that will mean decisions will be future-facing and representative.
At the Launch, I talked about the ethos of my campaign and my main policies which were thoughtfully chosen when weighing up what issues I felt needed to be addressed at the Wellington City Council level. More detailed information about those policies will be released over the campaign period but for now, we are training friends and peers to take Lambton Ward by storm by getting out there and having meaningful conversations in the community.
If you would like to support the campaign please get in touch via email firstname.lastname@example.org, via social media links below or donate. Ngā mihi maioha ki a koutou katoa.