Living Streets Aotearoa's survey of Wellington local-body election candidates found that most candidates support better walking facilities for Wellington residents and across the region. Pedestrianisation of the Golden Mile is the biggest improvement in walking proposed in Wellington for decades, yet some candidates still oppose it.
Living Streets Aotearoa Wellington Branch spokesperson Tim Jones said “It’s inspiring to see that many candidates had thought deeply about ways walking could be made safer, easier and better for Wellington pedestrians. About 80% of candidates support the pedestrianisation of the Golden Mile, which is so encouraging! They recognise that more people walking and fewer cars is good for business and good for the health and wellbeing of our city and its inhabitants.”
We scored candidates well who responded individually, had clearly thought about walking and had specific, achievable ideas for how it can be made better in Wellington. Candidates who gave generic responses, or just referred us to their party platform, scored less well. We didn’t give a rating to candidates who didn’t respond or didn’t provide an email address.
The survey had a good response from City Council and Regional Council candidates, but we were disappointed that only two Mayoral candidates, Ellen Blake and Ray Chung, responded. Ellen Blake was clearly the stronger candidate, with well-developed walking policies.
City Council candidates who scored strongest by ward were:
Te Whanganui-a-Tara Māori Ward: Nikau Wi Neera’s response was scored middling to high, slightly above that of Matthew Reweti.
Takapū/Northern Ward: James Sullivan, Tony Randle and Jenny Condie scored best in our survey, but Tony Randle strongly opposes the Golden Mile changes, which we support.
Wharangi/Onslow-Western Ward: Lachlan Patterson, Rebecca Matthews, Bob Mason and Alexander Garside all scored well.
Pukehīnau/Lambton Ward: Ellen Blake scored highest, followed by Iona Pannett and Afnan Al-Rubayee.
Motukairangi/Eastern Ward: Sarah Free, Teri O’Neill, Rob Goulden and Luana Scowcroft all scored well.
Paekawakawa/Southern Ward: Laurie Foon was the one high-scoring candidate.
We were particularly pleased by the responses from Greater Wellington Regional Council candidates. There were many detailed, thoughtful responses from candidates.
In Poneke/Wellington Constituency, there was a very high response – 8 out of 12 – and many high scores, some contributed by sitting members. Roger Blakeley, Chris Calvi-Freeman. Chris Montgomerie, and Thomas Nash and Yadana Shaw (responding jointly) all scored highly, with Daran Ponter, Thomas Bryan and Leigh Catley just a little behind. All were in favour of the Golden Mile plans, with a few reservations.
Strong responses from other constituencies included Ros Connelly in Upper Hutt and Alex Voutratzis in Lower Hutt.
Tim Jones, Wellington Branch,Living Streets Aotearoa