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Uniting all Wellingtonians
There’s one thing in the Council that doesn’t reflect most of our city: divisiveness. Go all around our city, and most Wellingtonians are known for generosity, tolerance, and a spirit of cooperation.
Helping the next generation
There have been relatively few programmes to help younger Wellingtonians. Probably because politicians don’t see them as big voters. It shouldn’t matter: mayoral policies should look to future voters because the brain drain to Auckland, Australia, and the UK is doing us little good.
Not only will I advocate internship and apprenticeship programmes such as Media Lab, which will see young people placed with our tech and creative firms with the city supporting the venture. It will be a priority for the programme to meet a high conversion rate to real jobs—something I have practised in my own firm.
Young people should rightly participate in our city’s decisions, because they have more to lose if we mess things up. That means opening the city up to greater participation online and encouraging input from them in every area, from the arts to commerce, including a city branding campaign where they can have their say over Wellington’s direction.
In 2010, I was the most connected candidate, and I promise to remain accessible through major social networks in this one, and after getting office.
I believe some minor crimes such as tagging stem from a sense of hopelessness, something that should not be happening in a first-world country. By giving youth a say, we can reverse their pessimism and let them know that the system is working for their futures.
I stand for welcoming new Wellingtonians, too—making sure everyone feels included, whether they move from another city in Australasia or further afield. All should experience first-hand our generosity and collaborative nature. We need to make it easier for people who can contribute positively to our city and our economy to come here, and that means being more informative, including showing more of Wellington through apps and online services.
Promoting our city
In my last campaign, I said that I wanted to see everyone participate in promoting Wellington, even our tourists—because there’s nothing like a campaign from the heart. That’s what welovewgtn is all about: a hashtag that shows the best sides of our city. I’d like to see different Wellingtonians from all walks of life volunteer each week to talk about their world, through social media, and accounts set up just for that. Let’s restore our pride and our unity—doing something like this, to a global audience, is more meaningful than a few posters about ‘Neighbours’ Day’.
Wellington needs to get a lot of its economic fundamentals right so we can continue hosting the Sevens when that comes up for renewal. Also in the next term is the 2015 Cricket World Cup. I’ll work with our city’s business and tourism agencies, Grow Wellington and Positively Wellington Tourism, to ensure that we get out a consistent message, and that we establish not only closer working relationships between the two, but synergies. These can strengthen our case for great sporting events—and other events—in our city.
It’s not only in the digital world where I want to see this happen. In 2010, I proposed doing a market weekend for the inner city in the summer. That means no cars in the inner city, so we can visit shops and stalls and take part in cultural activities. If your feedback is positive, we might even do two. That means in the inner city, we follow what Amsterdam and Brussels do—and we already know how to manage it, because of our movie premières. Let’s enjoy Wellington with friends and family, without the distraction of motor traffic.
Mid-sized music venue
We need a mid-sized music venue, too, something that I said three years ago—something three times the size of Bodega or four times the size of the San Francisco Bathhouse. What properties do we have that can be adapted or can we encourage one to be built? Having one means that we can attract more acts and people to our city, boosting our economy.
In sports, Wellington should continue its investment into artificial surfaces. What works in Wellington is our work–life balance, and we should continue to support sporting activities. This should encourage sporting clubs and their activities—a great way of bringing people together and keeping us healthy.
Helping our most vulnerable citizens
We have a problem in Wellington with homelessness—something that was foreign to our city when I first came in 1976. I want to see WCC continue its support of shelters and other programmes, as well as adopt technologies which can help disadvantaged Wellingtonians with the simplest things, such as a telephone number where they can be reached for job interviews. A small messaging centre that qualifying Wellingtonians can use to get a leg back up into the job scene is a small price to pay to restore one’s dignity. I’m going to work with experts to deliver this cost-effectively—and personalizing it sufficiently for applicants.
Even if we could have one extra advocate for the homeless who can work through the red tape on behalf of our fellow Wellingtonians who have fallen on tough times, that would be a massive start. We can assist them into the training programmes such as the Soup Hub run by the Compassion Centre.
Lending a hand to older Wellingtonians
Equally, we must assist older Wellingtonians. With the gains that I expect to make, Wellington should ensure that housing becomes a priority, especially as Kiwis live longer and our population ages. I will advocate for the retention of transportation privileges with those decision-makers. Additionally, in bringing people together, I would like to introduce an educational programme to bring older Wellingtonians into the internet age, one which we can create with the help of youth.
It’s important that our older and most experienced citizens participate, too, and if they are hampered by mobility, technology can help bridge that gap. It is foolish to waste the wisdom of their years in the real world—they can participate in our city’s direction if they so wish, in the public or private sector. I come from a culture where older people are revered and respected for their real-world experiences—just because you are drawing a pension does not mean your contribution becomes less valuable.
Wellington has not done well on ensuring proper accessibility to citizens with mobility issues. There are buildings that aren’t meeting New Zealand standards on access. We’ll collaborate with disability groups to identify them, and property owners, to make sure that this is remedied sustainably. With the earthquake strengthening that the city needs, projects like this can be done in tandem.
Giving a voice to minority communities
It is vital to me that, if we are harnessing younger and older Wellingtonians, we must also reach out to minority communities in our city and tap in to their knowledge, wisdom and energy. Whether we like to admit it or not, some communities feel left out. In the last election, I was the only candidate to know first-hand what racism feels like. This will not stand, and Wellingtonians need to know that minority communities will no longer be perceived as outsiders, but a rich, vital and mainstream part of a modern society. The knowledge that our communities have helps Wellington with our global outreach and exports.
Additionally, your name should not prevent you from getting your dream job—and we’ll be ensuring a fairer deal in the Council first, and lead by example. This is about Wellington in the 21st century, giving all Wellingtonians the same rights.