I would rather not talk too much about specific issues, because I feel that you should vote for me because you value my motivations and general view of the world, rather than for particular actions. The term of office is three years, and in that time I will, if elected, face many issues in the community, not just the issues currently attracting the most attention. You should be asking the question, is this person approaching the job with the right ethic and mindset, and do they share a conception of a good society that I can relate to and agree with? If I do not, you should not vote for me (or tell me why I'm wrong – I'm open to change).
(Having said that, I will endeavor to put forward my views on specific views, such as Dominion Road, over the next month, via my blog – feel free to drop me a question)
So, what are my core ideals?
We share this planet. I'd like to see a community that values the world beyond humanity, so I'd be supportive of community initiatives to cultivate connection and respect of the environment and ecosystems of Auckland. For example, I would be supportive of community gardens, and efforts to aid reusing goods and reducing wasteful consumption.
You should be aware that I strongly believe the relevant stakeholders include not just current ratepayers and citizens, but also future generations (people not even born yet), as well as the rest of the natural environment with which we share the world. I do favour a world with less cars, and where people are more connected and aware of the natural environment. I am a very keen cyclist, who cycles as his primary form of transport (though I also drive a car). Having said that, I am not a “rabid greeny” who wants cycle lanes on every corner, and free buses (though I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a greeny in other ways – I do grow some of my own vegetables).
A community should be created by its members, not created for them. The council should work to ensure that the facilities are place for everyone to be able to express themselves, and their views of the world, and to be able to leave their personal mark in a way that respects others.
The council should provide spaces for new ideas, and to allow questioning of ourselves, of our assumptions and beliefs. This self-reflexive ability cannot be provided by the market alone.
We need a clear focus on the future, not just the present, and sustainable choices are the only options. We need to move away from a car centered city. If infrastructure for cars is built, the city will build itself around that infrastructure with more cars, and a car mentality. If infrastructure for mass transit and public transport is focused on the city will build itself around that infrastructure with more buses and trains. We need to make the choice of which direction we take, and stick to it. I feel that we to ensure that the full costs of any option is eventually born by the direct consumer (that is, the motorist, or the commuter).
I acknowledge that Auckland has been developed around motorways and roads, and that structure is there and cannot be easily changed, and so the current car-centered infrastructure must be supported, but that doesn't mean we need to continue building new roads. We also need to think seriously about the benefits of pet public transport schemes.
The council is spending your money. Just because a project brings benefits some at less than the costs (to all) does not mean we ought to that project. We must always consider if there is a better project that brings more benefits, or that it may be of most benefit to leave the money with the tax/rate-payer.
We should be mindful of the opportunity costs. That is, when making any decision, even one that gives benefit to all, we must still see it as a possible cost, if there were some other course of action, that followed, would have produced even more benefit.
I am weary, and I think you should be too, whenever I hear people talk of creating jobs. It's never that simple – you may be taking away other jobs at the same time.
I think also that the council should not focus on economic growth. That is for businesses and the national government to concern themselves with. The council should ensure that the business infrastructure and regulatory bodies are in place, and adequately supported. If anything, the council should focus, economically, on issues of the inequity in economic power (one's ability to be part of the market, and have control over what they do) that is a feature of our society.
What is my attitude to politics?
It is about politics, and not just people. People are not united, and politicians are not just arguing over their own personal interests while “we” harmoniously stand by. Our community is divided along many lines. Sometimes those lines fail us, as they create disadvantage for some people, and advantage for others. Other times they represent valuable differences in how we conceive and value our lives and the world around us. We can unite and work together when we understand that we are different, and how that can help us all be better people.
What is important is that that difference can be seen and heard, and that one view does not unfairly dominate other reasonable views (and sometimes that happens without many people even noticing).
My role as Local Board member would, first and foremost, be that of any politician, to act as a mediator for all stakeholders in our society, and taking extra care to identify and empower those whose voices are not being heard (especially if they are being disadvantaged as a result). My role requires me to understand that I am there to help reach a compromise that best suits all involved, and to accept that when my own biases come into play, I must fully justify my decisions, and be fully open to criticism.
It follows, as I see it, that one cannot please everyone all the time. The decisions made by the council may be detrimental to some. It's obvious, but I think it needs to be stated more frequently – especially in times of elections where we are all seeking to get as many votes as possible. Having said that, the goal must always be to minimise loss when unavoidable, and to fully justify in a way that shows holistic perspective, but values each individual equally.
I also think that any time someone uses the phrase “common sense” you should be very skeptical. I'd rather trust sound statistical analysis and logical thinking.
What kind of person am I?
I am currently finishing off a degree in economics and politics (as well as ethics, philosophy, statistics, and other subjects in the humanities). This extensive education has enabled me to get a good understanding of the problems confronting our society, while giving me a strong ability to make sense of what issues I may be confronted with. I can communicate well, identify a poor argument when I see one, and I have well-developed problem solving skills. I have prior degrees in Computer Science , and have worked in the field of computational biology (yes, sometimes my brain hurts).
I have an never ending thirst for knowledge and learning, and I can think outside the box.
I have a friendly, humourous, non-confrontational personality, and can get along well with almost all people (some exceptions have to be made...). I have a strong sense of right, and firm principles. I am an empathetic person, and able to relate issues to differing perspectives. I have some wild ideas, but I am not dogmatic, and I am open to being confronted on my views. When needed though, I have a healthy contempt for stupidity.
I am willing to hold myself accountable for my choices, and will readily seek to justify my decisions to others. If elected I will maintain a blog where I will document all my council related actions, and give full justifications for any choices I may make. I will be readily available both on-line and in person.
I am the type of person who is always ranting on about the injustices of the world, yet is eternally optimistic that a better world is possible. I also have many passionately crazed ideas, yet they are ideas of compassion and genuine desire to do good.
Why do I want to be on the local board? At the root of things, there is the need to connect with, and understand people, and to help build a community of similarly passionate people. And, what better place to do that than on my own doorstep, in the city that I've always lived in, and love.
I enjoy working with people, and problem solving. I strongly want to be part of the political process (though I don't want to make a career of it), and I want to do what I can to make Auckland even better than it currently is. Working on the Local Board is my dream job (well, one of them), so please please PLEASE vote for me.
Top 5 Issues
I have lived in Auckland my entire life. I have lived for almost the last 10 years in Greenlane, and prior to that I lived for a while in Kingsland. I grew up in Mount Wellington.
I cycle a lot, and over the last 14 years have probably clocked up at least 60,000km on a bike, the majority of which will have been on Auckland roads. Outside of commuting, I also cycle tour (because a holiday isn't a holiday if you can still walk at the end of it), and have travelled much of New Zealand, and a fair chunk of Australia by bike. I also run frequently, and occasionally tramp.
I regularly help out with SAFE and I am a strong supporter for the rights of non-human animals.
The number of children I have is zero (though one day maybe...), and I am not married.
I have never smoked or drunk alcohol, and my hobbies include doing jig-saw puzzles, reading, and collecting vintage computers. When you hang with me, you never look back.
Authorised by Matthew Goode of 15 Nolan Road, Greenlane, Auckland 1051
Results - Final
- Tim Woolfield
- Simon Mitchell
- Lee Corrick
- Peter Haynes
- Tracey Simpson
- Rakesh Nauhria
- Rochelle Rees
- Bob Demler
- Virginia Chong
- Keith Scott
- Peter Boys
- Julie Kelleway
- Beverley Roser
- Gayatri Jaduram
- Matthew Goode
- Martin MacKenzie