Want to ask a question – Email me on samthemanwiththeplan2019@gmail.com,

with question in the subject and I will reply*.

*If the is unsuitable or inappropriate it will not be posted on here and you will be replied explaining why, if the question is outside the scope of responsibility of the Regional Council, you will also get a reply stating that. 

Questions from Finn Stallmann about where my opinions fit in line with his 29th September 2019
—- Firstly, I think it is important that we take steps to mitigate and adapt to climate change. It is a given that every candidate will do something about this, so please tell me what makes you different from the others?
I believes goals need to be set and rules when it comes to construction to be set, like no new building built below 6m from sea level as a example. I would love to also make all our Wellington Buses to be electric, and I am disappointed that the previous council had the audacity to pull down the perfectly working trolley bus network in the name of the technology is obsolete even tho it is to today the most reliable form of electric public transport in the world. I also believe we need to do a long term plan on sea level rise and what areas are we prepared to save and what areas are we going to leave to nature because we can not save everything. I also have the policy to have 4400 home and 100 farm to be converted into onsite renewable energy generation through a targeted rate scheme ever year for 10 years, to combat our carbon emissions, reduce household power bills and give the national grid more capacity for generation as we at the moment would not have the ability to adjust to electric cars like we put instant coffee into water at this present point. 
—- Secondly, I think it is important that councils spend their money on ‘the essentials’, not vanity projects like convention centers, film museums, and arenas; and certainly not frivolities like rainbow pedestrian crossings or Kate Sheppard pedestrian lights. I think that if private businesses want something (like an airport runway extension), they should pay for it themselves.
I do believe councils need to stick to basics, but we also need to diversify our revenue, as some who thinks the rates system is broken when it comes to revenue generation for council. One capital asset I would be keen to buy back, is Wellington electricity. With the talks of Kate Sheppard traffic light casings, I am not sure but I believe the cost isn’t any difference to have Kate Sheppard to be in the frame instead of the green man, since maintenance of traffic lights are part of the council main operating budget of a service from the council and if the cost of the lenses are the same with normal ones, then its really just a different pattern for the same thing, and tourist like taking pictures of them, since they are unique to Wellington. I do agree convention centers are vanity project but another thing worth considering is since we ratepayers own the stadium, is to look at the cost of making it a covered stadium or one with a retractable roof, it has worked with Dunedin and with our great public transport system (well access to the stadium is accessible) we should at least look into it
—- Thirdly, I wholeheartedly agree with the need to ‘get Wellington moving’, both the buses and the cars. I am not sure what the best way to get it moving is, but I think the congestion on the ‘Golden Mile’ and on State Highway One is horrendous. I think it is most unfortunate that the Basin Reserve flyover was stymied by NIMBYism.
Agree with getting Wellington moving, I would support making the golden mile fully pedestrian and public transport only during daylight hours and would say on Friday and Saturday to do the same along Courtenay Place on Friday and Saturday Nights. I also have a policy of free weekend public transport between zone 1 and zone 3 to encourage users to ditch the car for the bus on weekends as that is where I see a lot of traffic congestion just sits at a standstill compared to the week where at least road users prepare for lanes, and the bus lanes are open. I also want to with with WCC to have more bus lanes and time they operate like Adelaide Road, needs to be more than 2 hours a day, and for a new bus lane along Rongotai Road, to make the bus quicker than the car. When it comes to a second MT Vic Tunnel, I have the opinion of I am not against it but I don’t think to the gold plated solution some people think it is and I believe that 4 laning from Wellington Road to the Basin will result in 2 additional sets of traffic lights which will be the first thing to reduce any time saving and it could have a increase risk of nose to tails accidents if the next section is not done right, this would be the basin. As a person who believes in solutions base approach, I would want to work all community groups to make sure we get the right solution, personally i believe a cut and cover style will be the option, will be the solution for traffic but this has to be a community solution not a force through at all costs to the supreme court approach. 
—- Fourthly, on that point, I am most unhappy about the ‘bustrastrophe’. You all (or almost all) say you will do something to fix it, but what makes you different? My daily trip from Hataitai to the railway station was severely affected by it. I have grown thoroughly sick of seeing full buses drive past the overflowing bus stop. Although things have certainly improved since this began, they are still far from perfect. If the express bus drivers did not have the decency to stop in Hataitai, things would be a lot worse. As for the real-time information network, it was never accurate in the first place; it would be nice if it were. Of course, I recognise that that is primarily the responsibility of the Regional Council, but I would like the candidates for both councils to address this point. After all, the two Councils need to work together. 
For bus routes during non peak time would be go to my wesbite http://www.samsomers4gwrc.co.nz/busplan.html to check out the routes go and solutions used to spread the bus loads rather than funneling them into overloaded high frequency routes. For having collaboration between the 2 councils, I want to set up a joint committee and transferring the control of the bus routes in WCC boundaries to this committee so we have Wellingtonions making the decision about routes and bus lanes, not 8 councilors not represented by wellington vetoing the will of the Wellington People. I would also result a return to a similar number 5 service for the 35 for morning and evening peak to help add local capacity to the route to take the load of the 2 
—- Fifthly, I would like to see the Central Library strengthened and reopened as soon as possible (and definitely not abandoned). I recognize that this is a matter for the City Council.
 I do support it but am standing for GW so no control over the library
—- Sixthly, I think there is a need for greater transparency in local government, especially when it comes to the Regional Council. Every councillor’s vote should be a matter of public record. 
I support for voting records to be published and for all council meetings including committee to be live stream to the public similar to parliament tv so you can see how councilors have formed their decisions and what sort of debate did they have
—- Seventhly, I am opposed to Maori having special representation on councils, especially if it is unelected and with voting rights. I would therefore like to know whether or not you would support such representation. 
I am not opposed to Maori representation on the council but I would rather they have to get a seat like every other candidate through voting from the general population. If we did look at a Maori Seat, I would support it to be a district wide seat called the maori seat and have it elected by every voter not just those on the maori roll. This will ensure that thoses who aren’t on the Maori Roll can vote for them and for those on the Maori Roll can vote for their local ward councilors aswell. I believe this would be the fairest method to keep all sides happy
—- Eighthly, I am a fan of direct democracy. I think people would take a greater interest in local politics if they knew they actually had some decision-making power (other than a vote every three years). 
I agree with you here and would support yearly referendums. My concern here is like with Brexit, a lot of misinformation could end up out there, like a good example, the anti-light rail people would regularly refer to light rail being $500 million per km, (which is the cost of building light rail tunnels system) as an above ground structure level road system, when in fact that cost is much closer to $10 million per km. These are the sort of problems that can arise from asking the public to tick off everything but I believe if we have an informed democracy fact will rise over fiction. 
—- Ninthly, trying to reach a rational decision about what order in which to rank the candidates (given the sheer number of candidates, the wide variety of issues, and the lack of information and reporting) is no easy task. An acquaintance of mine just filled in the numbers randomly and left it to fate. How would you improve engagement with local elections? 
Attend the many meet the candidates meetings, that I have already attended at this election. One thing I would like to see is to have QR codes for candidates websites so you can go to their website as you are going through your candidates brochures this is one key thing to improving things. I am not sure what other methods as their are heaps to inform users, like the spin off information tool https://policylocal.thespinoff.co.nz/ which is the best one out there for this election. 
—- Tenthly, I am concerned about the rapidly rising cost of housing. 
I am concerned aswell, and i believe the rates system as it is, is part of the problem, I believe the easiest way, if for central government to increase the number of income related rentals, this will immediately take the heat of the market as it will remove those on the bottom tear being topped up by WINZ in supplement from applying bringing the whole price downwards rather than on the constant increase. 
—- Eleventhly, I would be strongly opposed to any draconian proposal (à la Gareth Morgan) to restrict ‘ownership’ of cats. I know that none of you are proposing to do this, but I would be interested in what position you would take if this became an issue again. 
I am neutral on this as I believe having pets should be a right but also the numbers should be looked at and you should have to prove you are competent in looking after them 
—- In light of those priorities, why do you think I should give my first preference to you instead of your opponents?
I am a candidate who is will to learn and listen to people to learn more information about the key issues, but I am not going to let Sir Humphry Appleby take me for a ride, in giving me steered advice in a certain direction. I will ask questions to people and for every objection I would be prepared to challenge those people on what would they consider an alternative solution for the problem. Something that drives me the wrong way is where the person goes I don’t like it, but its your job to guess a new solution, this isn’t helpful to the problem, nor is showing that the objector is will to engage on a better solution to suite everyones needs. 
—- Please feel free to add any other reason why you think I should vote for you. I would be particularly interested in hearing about why I should think you will be competent (that is, actually to put your policies into place).
I am a candidate who has had both experience as a employee and being the boss, who has experience in accounts so I can read financial statements, and think first, can my policies be implemented without asking for an external source (central government) being asked to stump up the cash.  My renewal energy policy is based on self funding, not asking the government to help in the policy framework but I am open to them coming to the party if elected. I am also about long term planning and its about getting on with it rather than rehashing things every 3 years. I also want to work on solution finding/problem solving rather than constant talk about the problems and not showing progress to a solution, when it comes to council matters. 


Questions from George Hobson from Forest and Bird Youth Wellington – 10th September 2019


What are the top three (or more) specific actions to protect and restore nature you would commit to if elected?
– The goal to make all of GW regional parks Pest-free as a priority
– A goal to keep Miramar Peninsula, and Ngaio predator free and expand the program into the Kilbirnie, Hataitai and Lyall Bay Area
– Keep the townbelt status, support WCC for creating a outer town belt, and look at establishing a regional park in WCC boundaries, a location that would be good is red rocks
What specific actions to combat the Climate Crisis would you commit to if elected? 
– I want to have all buses in Wellington City Electric by 2030 and preferably all new buses entering the fleet to be electric upon introduction. (Already in plan with 22 EV Double Decker Buses)
– Lobby central government to extend the electrification from Waikanae to Palmerston North to convert the main line fleet from diesel to electric
– Keep the existing plan for EDMU for the Wairarapa line for passenger trains
– Start a targeted rate fund, where GW help assist properties to have renewable energy generation solutions on their property like solar panels and wind-turbines with a goal of 4400 homes and 100 farms every year for 10 years.
– Set up a plan on what areas do we try to save and protect from rising sea levels and what areas do we just lets nature takes it course. I would also go as far as setting building standards to have no new residential building or residential occupied space below 6m from sea level.
How would you approach decisions where you have to weigh up commercial activities and environmental protection? 
– The decision will be what immediate environmental impact that would happen, what future impact that would occur, how long would it take to fix those environmental impacts, how much environmental impact by doing nothing is going to happen, what safety impact by doing nothing, and what commercial gain and put a price tag on all of it.
What specific actions to support the goal of making Wellington Predator Free would you commit to if elected? 
– Continue keeping the existing plan in place and expand the plan to cover surrounding suburbs and expand the perimeter
– Work with all resident association and community groups to have local input rather than dictating to them from above
What specific actions to engage young people in important environmental issues and decisions would you commit to if elected?
– Bring young people into the public participation process, ask the local school to submit a submission rather than offer them or have the attitude they will submit if they feel like it.
– Attend local meeting among young membership based along with residents meetings, I would also invite school student and uni students to the practical aspect of environmental work including trap laying for predator free Wellington


Questions from Ben Peterson from Unions Wellington  – 28th August 2019


Occupation: – Barista – Self Employed
Candidate for: Poneke/Wellington for GWRC
Are you a union member/staff member? – No
Have you previously been a union member? If so, when and where? Yes, EMPU in 2012-2015 with BP Levin and BP Johnsonville
(for business owners only) Are there union agreements at your business/s?  No collective agreement but no full time staff either other than Owner, myselfQuestion 1) -Do you support a living wage for all staff directly employed by the council?


Question 2) – Do you support a living wage for all contractors employed by the council?  


Question 3) – Do you support a living wage for all staff employed by the council controlled organisations?


Question 4) – Do you support equal pay claims for relevant council staff (such as library assistants) and would you support working with Unions to advance these claims?

I would like to support the process to bring up wages, first through the internal process and would push if needed, a directive from the for the executive to access and honour these claims

Question 5) – Would you support adapting council procurement policies to positively view contractors with union agreements? 

If that means as a terms of contract, yes. This has been a particular concern of mine for when GWRC didn’t retain as part of contract, the collective agreement when transferring contracts the bus contracts over, but they did it for the trains contract, and another regional council, Bay of Plenty was able to do it. 

Question 6) – Would you support adapting council employment policies to ensure all directly employed, contractors and staff of CCO’s have access to with union membership?

Yes, I would change the policy to encourage union membership including encouraging existing contractors to work with unions to have collective agreements available for offer to all employees 

Question 7) – Do you support declaring a climate emergency? What role do you think Council can play in preventing climate change and mitigating its effects?

The climate change emergency is a interesting issue, as I believe targets should be set as part of it. One thing I am happy about with GW is that fact they set goals and targets for the council to achieve, where as other councils have declared it one with no goals or targets set in place. I believe that regional councils who are in charge of water ways should be setting standard of how far or close do we allow developments near waterways and sea, along with relooking at all marine resource consents when they come up for renewal.
Question 8) – Under what circumstances would you support the sale of any council owned assets or organisations (or part thereof)?

I do not support a general sales of any council owned assets, I actually support growing our asset based so we aren’t 100% reliant on rates as the main source of income, this includes my policy for GW to buy Wellington electricity. I would support in the limited situation for the sale of excess land, that was brought for a project that is no longer needed, a good example is buying land for transmission gully and for centennial highway for projects, and with transmission gully going ahead, the centennial highway land is no longer needed. 

Question 9) – Do you support the privatization of council services? Would you support bringing currently privatized services back under direct council control? 

No i would no support privatizing councils services, I would actually like to bring in as many services as I can in house as legislation would allow, when the contracts come up for renewal.
Question 10) – What role do you think council plays in making sure that decent and affordable housing is available for all residents?

Councils should be putting in resources to make sure land is affordable for housing. One of the difficult thing is property prices dictate how much rates revenue can be collected and the way its written at the moment, it incentives property price increase. I would advocate for a change in the way council collect there income as rates itself is a dying method and would advocate for change to central government to allow councils to collect a cut of the GST revenue collected within in territory. 

Question 11) (GWRC Candidates only) – Do you support the establishment of a working group with relevant transport unions to regularly consult on aspects of the delivery of regional public transport services?

I am standing on the policy of making control of our bus network to be control by a sub committee of the sustainable transport committee for each area, with representation from the regional councilors of the area, a councilor from each ward and a representative (preferably union) from each of the bus companies operating in that area to make the decisions of the bus routes in those areas.
Question 12) (GWRC Candidates only) – Would you use your position on regional council to seek the repeal of the Public Transport Operating Model (PTOM)?

I believe the legislation needs a full rewrite as it has made considerable disruption and has lead to a loss of workers conditions along with the actual design is to encourage competition/commercialization of passenger services but had lead to poor outcomes. One of the clauses I would like to see gone is the local exclusive rights clause, not allowing other operators to come into there area, along with you are not allowed to operate in a commercial service area, like Wellington Airport Flyer or Waiheke Island Ferry. 

Question 13) – Can you demonstrate a commitment to working people and progressive politics? (please elaborate upto 200 words)

My aim as a councilors the role doesn’t finish at 5pm at night, it involves attending public meetings, including your own, getting out on the weekend and talking to people from all walks of life including our members of the disability community. I also will advocate for worker to be on the boards of GW CCO’s, as this helps keeps the boards in touch with the workplace rather than be removed. 

Question 14) – Is there any further information that we should take into account?

 I am a person who has had a very unique working life, being in the boat as a employee with little responsibilities to a department manager of Bp Johnsonville to a business owner of Bean Here in Rongotai and learnt the ins and out of employment law, and learning the burdens resulting from staff illnesses and unplanned time off. I also learnt what length you need to go to, to keep your business going and to not give up at the drop of the hat. Its been 3 long years in business with a lot of ups and downs which has taught me to become a very good problem solver rather than just a problem complainer, it has helped me evolve to the person I am now and it helped being very useful skills for me to help as a councilor.