Hamilton West election 2019

Organise Aotearoa has surveyed everyone standing in the 2019 Hamilton City Council and Waikato Regional Council elections.

We have ranked all candidates on their commitment to social justice, eliminating poverty, Tiriti o Waitangi, climate change action, public transport, reducing police harassment, good science, and social housing.

The responses from candidates standing in Hamilton West are below, with the highest-rated candidates at the top. If you live on the west-side of the river you can vote for six of these candidates. 

Sarah Thomson

Read Sarah Thomson's responses

When was the last time you used public transport? 

Sarah-head-shot-300x270Today. I caught the number 16 from Heaphy Terrace into the CBD.

What would make public transport an attractive option for you? 

Frequency, connectedness, reliability and cost are all key factors in making public transport a more attractive option, which will require investment (meaning a major re-prioritisation of transport budgets, and working to attract central government funding). There are other steps we should be taking, too, including:

  • Developing a user-friendly real-time tracking/route mapping app (I find the Transit app is not very user-friendly);
  • Increasing the number of bus shelters to help maintain ridership in bad weather and provide somewhere for people to sit;
  • More bus lanes! This would make buses faster and more reliable during peak times. 

Public transport has major benefits for cities – social, economic and environmental – so improving public transport is something that I will be advocating for strongly. 

Do you support water fluoridation in Hamilton?

Yes. There is good evidence to show that the levels of fluoridation used in New Zealand public water supplies create no health risks and provide protection against tooth decay.

Do you support Hamilton City Council elections changing to a single transferable vote (STV) system?

Yes! STV is a much fairer voting system.  It will encourage a more diverse range of candidates and elected members, will result in fewer ‘wasted’ votes, and will give voters real choices (because they don’t need to be concerned about vote splitting). 

This year a Hamilton City Councillor caused great offence to the autistic community, and severely damaged public health efforts by promoting a widely discredited theory about vaccines causing autism. 

Do you think vaccines cause autism?

No.  There is no credible scientific research to back up this claim. 

The official 2019 New Zealand Living Wage is $21.15.

Do you support the Living Wage being implemented for all those employed by Hamilton City Council?

Do you support the Hamilton City Council procurement policies being changed to ensure that all contracted workers who are delivering a regular and ongoing service, such as bus drivers and cleaners, are paid a living wage?

Yes to both. Government and local government should be showing leadership on this. I support the council paying the living wage to all employees, and including it as a non-negotiable condition in council contracts that go out for tender.  The council also needs to ensure that artists/musicians who perform at public events or work on public art are adequately paid.

There have been calls to rename three Hamilton streets because of the people they have been named after:

Grey Street. Grey talked peace with Maaori while secretly preparing for war. He led the invasions against the Waikato, Taranaki, and Tauranga people and is directly responsible for the confiscation of 3 million acres of Maaori land in the North Island. He acquired over 30 million acres of Te Waipounamu claiming this whenua as ‘waste lands.’ Dr Ranginui Walker described Grey as the ‘Hitman of Colonisation’. 

Bryce Street. Maaori called him Bryce Kohuru (murderer) for his role in leading an attack against Maaori children, killing two and wounding many others. In 1879 he passed legislation enabling the imprisonment of Maaori without trial. In 1881 he led the invasion of Parihaka and imprisoned Te Whiti, Tohu, and other Maaori men for two years without trial. Bryce was the public face of racist policy towards Maaori. 

Von Tempsky Street. At Rangiaowhia Von Tempsky set fire to a house containing elderly, women, and children. Von Tempsky recalled that as fire engulfed the whare one elderly man came out with his hands raised in a gesture of surrender. Despite calls to spare him the man was immediately shot and killed. None of the other occupants of the hut dared come out following this incident. All, including a young boy, were incinerated.  

What are you views on the call to change these street names?

Would you invite mana whenua to propose new names for these three Hamilton streets? 

Proper consultation should be undertaken with mana whenua in regard to this. However, in principle, I am very supportive of changing the street names, and of mana whenua proposing new street names. We should ensure that all street names and place names in our city are culturally appropriate. 

Do you support Hamilton City Council having Maaori ward(s)?

Yes. However, any decision on introducing Maaori wards should be made in full consultation with mana whenua. I understand that the current Maangai Maaori model of representation was preferred over wards because of concerns that a proposal for Maaori wards could attract a public poll. The Local Electoral Act allows the public to petition for a public poll to challenge a proposal for Maaori wards, but not for other types of wards (which, in my view, is discriminatory). The council should actively advocate to central government to amend the Act, and should also proactively promote a better understanding of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and our history, so that Hamiltonians are more receptive of such change. 

The Hamilton City Prostitution Bylaw 2009 is currently being reviewed. The “Soliciting of Commercial Sexual Services” section of this bylaw bans sex workers from working in all public spaces of Hamilton. This section of the bylaw:

– makes independent sex workers less safe, as it creates a situation where workers are less likely to report violence to police, as the workers can be prosecuted and fined $20,000.

– forces sex workers to rely on brothel owners and pimps.

– contradicts the Prostitution Reform Act, and in doing so exposes the city to expensive legal battles.

– stigmatises sex workers.

Will you vote to overturn the Soliciting of Commercial Sexual Services section of the bylaw?

From my understanding, the decriminalisation of prostitution in 2003 did not change the number of sex workers entering the industry, and had a positive impact on the health and safety of sex workers. I would be supportive of overturning this section of the bylaw so that it is consistent with the Act. 

A few years ago the council discussed not being able to continue to provide its current stock of social housing citing their being unfit for use and a lack of funds to upgrade them. Three blocks were then sold with the funds received intended to provide for continuing ownership of the remaining stock. In 2014 legislation changes made the councils ineligible for the Income Related Rent Subsidy for social housing. Hamilton City Council took this as an impetus to vote to sell their remaining 366 units, despite most councils across Aotearoa findings ways to continue to provide some social housing. In 2014 the cost for land and construction of 366 units in Hamilton was estimated at around $60million, but HCC sold the 366 homes for $19.5 million. The low level of social housing in Hamilton has contributed to our high rate of homelessness, food insecurity, and poverty-related illnesses.

Would you vote to fund more social housing, even if it meant raising rates?

Under the right conditions, yes – as long as any increase is reasonable so that rates remain affordable, and the housing is targeted towards the members of the community who need it most. Providing concessions and grants to Community Housing Providers/Community Land Trusts is probably the best way for the council to increase the supply of social housing. There are other measures council can take to address housing affordability, including:

  • Encouraging more medium-high density housing;
  • Improving council processes for affordable housing outcomes;
  • Investigating the use of ‘inclusionary zoning’ (which is where a developer can apply to rezone land to allow for increased development, but in exchange they must set aside a portion of the land/housing for affordable housing or gift it to a Community Land Trust); and
  • Investigating the use of existing council land for affordable housing.

I will advocate for the development of an Affordable Housing Plan for Hamilton, so that we can properly investigate the different options and tools available to the council. 

The Council’s “Your Help may Harm” campaign stigmatises people by conflating homelessness, begging and drug addiction. The campaign is not based on solid research, and it promotes the myth that people begging in Hamilton don’t buy food.

Vague wording in the Safety in Public Places Bylaw leaves vulnerable people open to being arrested and fined $20,000 for sleeping in public or asking people for money.

City Safe have just received $230,000 in funding, which will lead to the police being called on the city’s most vulnerable people more often.

What will you do to reduce the stigmatisation of the poorest members of our community? 

What will you do to help end poverty and homelessness in Hamilton?

We need to treat people with dignity and respect, not exclude them from society. I have concerns about the City Safe program and will advocate to conduct a study into its effectiveness, and its impact on communities. I will also advocate for a more constructive education campaign which promotes a deeper understanding of homelessness and promotes positive solutions. 

While income distribution is largely a central government role, there are many other actions that council can take to create a more equitable society.  These include providing an efficient and affordable public transport system, improving access to affordable housing, connecting people with services, and providing grants to community organisations which support our most vulnerable (for example, Kaivolution). 

In terms of addressing homelessness, I support the Housing First model, which recognises that it is easier for people to address issues such as mental health and substance use, once they are housed.  Any social housing that the council funds/supports should first go towards providing stable housing for people who are chronically homeless

Louise Hutt

Read Louise Hutt's responses

Do you support water fluoridation in Hamilton?

hutt3Yes. I support the World Health Organisation position that water fluoridation is a public good and support its use in Hamilton. 

Do you support Hamilton City Council elections changing to a single transferable vote (STV) system?

Yes. I support Hamilton City Council elections changing to Single Transferable Vote (STV), in order to use a fairer system for understanding our votes and creating a better democracy.

This year a Hamilton City Councillor caused great offence to the autistic community and severely damaged public health efforts by promoting a widely discredited theory about vaccines causing autism. 

Do you think vaccines cause autism?

No. I support the scientific consensus that vaccines do not cause autism, and would like to acknowledge the hurt that this misinformation causes our autistic community.

The official 2019 New Zealand Living Wage is $21.15. Do you support the Living Wage being implemented for all those employed by Hamilton City Council? Do you support the Hamilton City Council procurement policies being changed to ensure that all contracted workers who are delivering a regular and ongoing service, such as bus drivers and cleaners, are paid a living wage?

Yes. I support the Living Wage being implemented for all employed by Hamilton City Council, and yes, I support Hamilton City Council procurement policies being changed to ensure all contracted workers are paid a living wage.

There have been calls to rename three Hamilton streets because of the people they have been named after – Grey Street, Bryce Street, Von Tempsky Street. What are your views on the call to change these street names? Would you invite mana whenua to propose new names for these three Hamilton streets? 

Yes. I believe it is Hamilton City Council’s responsibility to rename Hamilton streets named after violent colonisers, and I would invite mana whenua to propose new names for those streets. 

What are Hamilton City Council’s obligations under Tiriti o Waitangi? Do you believe those obligations are being met?

New Zealand legislation should be created and implemented with guidance from Te Tiriti o Waitangi. As stated, it should ensure that we encourage the protection, participation and partnership of Māori. When we are living with violent colonisers as street names and not prioritising Māori wellbeing, we are not meeting our Tiriti obligations. Council has an obligation to progress and strengthen the representation of mana whenua at the table.

Do you support Hamilton City Council having Maaori ward(s)?

Yes. I support Hamilton City Council having Māori wards.

The Hamilton City Prostitution Bylaw 2009 is currently being reviewed. The “Soliciting of Commercial Sexual Services” section of this bylaw bans sex workers from working in all public spaces of Hamilton. Will you vote to overturn the Soliciting of Commercial Sexual Services section of the bylaw?

Yes. I support overturning the Soliciting of Commercial Sexual Services section of the bylaw.

Climate change will bring large numbers of new residents to Hamilton and require the city to substantially reduce reliance on fossil fuels. It’s clear that Hamilton’s current public transport system isn’t up to the task. When was the last time you used public transport? 

I last used public transport yesterday (caught the Western Nightrider from the CBD to my home in Frankton), and also the week before (to get from the University of Waikato campus to my work in Frankton).

What would make public transport an attractive option for you? 

Public transport is already an attractive option for me as I genuinely care about my part in climate action and on a pragmatic level because I don’t own a car. For others, making it a more reliable, affordable and easy to use would encourage more people to use it and we also need to ensure that we are working with unions to transition to a sustainable and future-focused public transport infrastructure and service delivery.

Do you have a plan to transform our transport system and move Hamilton residents away from car ownership?

Yes. I have a plan to transform our transport system and move Hamilton residents away from car ownership. We need to promote alternative modes of transport, other than cars, which would help reduce our road fatalities, actively reduce our carbon emissions and increases our wellbeing. We can do this by improving our cycling infrastructure (putting in barriers to make on-road cycleways safer, ensuring separated cycleways are put in when building new roads or bridges, and reviewing our most highly-used intersections and traffic paths to make sure key routes around the city have safe options for cyclists and other users) – which in turn makes both cycling and e-scootering safer, and makes it safer for footpath users. We also need to make sure that our bus system is reliable, affordable, and easy to use – so people can feel confident that they can get to where they need to, when they need to, without relying on cars. 

School Strike 4 Climate New Zealand have been making the following demands:

– Declare a climate emergency.

– Make a legally enforceable plan to get to zero carbon by 2040.

– Invest in building a renewable and regenerative economy now.

Where do you stand on these demands?

I support the demands the School Strike 4 Climate demands. We need to listen to our youth and show them that we accept the urgency of climate change and that we take their future (our future) seriously.

What other strategies and plans do you have for the city to combat climate change?

I have three strategies ready for climate action. 

The first step would be to sign the Local Government New Zealand climate action declaration which holds us accountable for taking climate action and shows our ongoing intentions to act. 

The second is to create a climate action plan with input from climate experts, environmental planners and mana whenua covering two specific areas – transitioning to a zero-carbon city (reducing the current emissions from Hamilton City Council as an organisation and supporting the wider city to do so too) and then future-proofing our existing infrastructure (to withstand the changes which are already occurring due to climate change and reviewing the criteria for all future infrastructure we build). 

The third is to ensure that climate action is adequately budgeted for, and investigate how we can offset any costs which might fall to our most vulnerable, with other forms of council income.

A few years ago the council discussed not being able to continue to provide its current stock of social housing citing they’re being unfit for use and a lack of funds to upgrade them. Three blocks were then sold with the funds received intended to provide for continuing ownership of the remaining stock. In 2014 legislation changes made the councils ineligible for the Income Related Rent Subsidy for social housing. Hamilton City Council took this as an impetus to vote to sell their remaining 366 units, despite most councils across Aotearoa findings ways to continue to provide some social housing. In 2014 the cost for land and construction of 366 units in Hamilton was estimated at around $60million, but HCC sold the 366 homes for $19.5 million. The low level of social housing in Hamilton has contributed to our high rate of homelessness, food insecurity, and poverty-related illnesses.

Would you vote to fund more social housing, even if it meant raising rates?

Yes. We have a responsibility to improve the wellbeing of everyone in Hamilton and to invest in our city by building an asset base that is best practice for sustainable development. Social housing means people can have long-term tenancies and ensures high-quality housing. It would also kickstart development in higher density, residential parts of the city – we’re going to grow by 20,000 people in the next ten years, so our need for housing isn’t going away anytime soon. 

Social housing also fulfils our responsibilities to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (which we’re trying to achieve by 2030!). Goal 11 states ensuring access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing as a priority (and New Zealand signed up to these goals in 2015). 

We need to make sure we’re being efficient and effective with what we do about it and make sure whatever we do, we can still provide our other services and infrastructure. I would prefer to not raise rates further than what is agreed in our 10 Year Plan, as that can also hurt our most vulnerable, but I strongly believe this is something we should be investigating and actively finding solutions for – so that we can be confident we’re working on such a significant issue for our city.

The Council’s “Your Help may Harm” campaign stigmatises people by conflating homelessness, begging and drug addiction. The campaign is not based on solid research, and it promotes the myth that people begging in Hamilton don’t buy food. Vague wording in the Safety in Public Places Bylaw leaves vulnerable people open to being arrested and fined $20,000 for sleeping in public or asking people for money. City Safe has just received $230,000 in funding, which will lead to the police being called on the city’s most vulnerable people more often.

What will you do to reduce the stigmatisation of the poorest members of our community? What will you do to help end poverty and homelessness in Hamilton?

I support the removal of the “your harm may help” messaging from any future Hamilton City Council initiatives, a review of the Safety in Public Places Bylaw, and support Hamilton City Council to focus on addressing the root causes of “anti-social” behaviour and homelessness – poverty, housing insecurity, mental illness (and addiction), isolation, and colonisation – and work with organisations who can empower and support the dignity of our homeless, rather than doing the opposite.

[Note from OA: Hutt has extra questions than other candidates as she is also standing for mayor. Her ranking on this list is based only on the questions sent to all candidates standing in the West ward.]

Melaina Huaki

Read Melaina Huaki's responses

When was the last time you used public transport? 

MelainaDefinitely this year – I do it with the tamariki in my family

What would make public transport an attractive option for you? 

It is already valuable however if we want to continue to make it a viable option for everybody then it starts by valuing the employees.  When employees love their job then that feeling permeates.


Do you support water fluoridation in Hamilton?

My Māori worldview says no – which means that we have to work with the environment not against it. Looking after it so that it will be available for future generations.  Could it be that we need to consider looking at other things that contribute to the problem, like sugar? I honestly need to do more research.

Do you support Hamilton City Council elections changing to a single transferable vote (STV) system?

Yes – everyone needs more education about all types of voting systems.

Do you think vaccines cause autism?

Well, I am a parent that vaccinated my children and they seem to be okay.  This was a long time ago before the current research appeared. I wouldn’t make any claim unless I did proper research.

Do you support the Living Wage being implemented for all those employed by Hamilton City Council?

It needs to be more than what it is, it just shows how much we value their work.

Do you support the Hamilton City Council procurement policies being changed to ensure that all contracted workers who are delivering a regular and ongoing service, such as bus drivers and cleaners, are paid a living wage?

Yes, and more.  Procurement perhaps needs to devise a structure that allows the workers to aspire to gain further skills and achieve further financial goals that will accompany pay rises.

What are you views on the call to change these street names?

Would you invite mana whenua to propose new names for these three Hamilton streets? 

  1. Let’s educate our city about our history – in an interactive safe way
  2. Let’s advise everyone of the process that it takes to make the change
  3. Let’s discuss what the alternative names should or could be
  4. There are more than 3 street names that should be changed


Do you support Hamilton City Council having Maaori ward(s)?

Absolutely!  The positives far outweigh the negatives.  People city wide are scared of change. Let’s educate ourselves first before we put up barriers.

Will you vote to overturn the Soliciting of Commercial Sexual Services section of the bylaw?

I definitely believe it should be up for discussion again.  We need a diverse council for the final decision be robustly discussed.


Would you vote to fund more social housing, even if it meant raising rates?

The concept of Papakainga should be considered here.  People don’t need a ‘hand-out’ they want a ‘hand-up’. What is currently happening and what has happened in the past has not worked so let’s give this a go?


What will you do to reduce the stigmatisation of the poorest members of our community? 

Contribute to changing the attitude of the people who create the stigmatisation attitude – starting with the council. Deficit and Xylo models do not work.  We need to change the culture and it is do-able but we all have to try! 

What will you do to help end poverty and homelessness in Hamilton?

I already contribute to these areas and have so for a number of years.  We can all make a difference if we just all give it a go and accept that change is what is required. If we are truly interested in the future of our city for our descendants then we need to put our own issues aside and give it a go.

Peter Bos

Read Peter Bos's responses

When was the last time you used public transport? 

bosSkip bus to LivingStreets summit in June

What would make public transport an attractive option for you?

My main mode of transport is by bicycle, Hamilton is flat and everywhere is within a half hour bike ride. My daily ride is from Bader to Te Rapa, the Comet bus is an attractive option.

Do you support water fluoridation in Hamilton? 

yes

Do you support Hamilton City Council elections changing to a single transferable vote (STV) system?

It is an option, I do not have a fixed view on how democracy should work, I support Maaori representation with voting right at council meeting.

This year a Hamilton City Councillor caused great offence to the autistic community, and severely damaged public health efforts by promoting a widely discredited theory about vaccines causing autism. 

Do you think vaccines cause autism? 

no

The official 2019 New Zealand Living Wage is $21.15.

Do you support the Living Wage being implemented for all those employed by Hamilton City Council? 

yes

Do you support the Hamilton City Council procurement policies being changed to ensure that all contracted workers who are delivering a regular and ongoing service, such as bus drivers and cleaners, are paid a living wage? 

yes

There have been calls to rename three Hamilton streets because of the people they have been named after:

Grey Street. Grey talked peace with Maaori while secretly preparing for war. He led the invasions against the Waikato, Taranaki, and Tauranga people and is directly responsible for the confiscation of 3 million acres of Maaori land in the North Island. He acquired over 30 million acres of Te Waipounamu claiming this whenua as ‘waste lands.’ Dr Ranginui Walker described Grey as the ‘Hitman of Colonisation’. 

Bryce Street. Maaori called him Bryce Kohuru (murderer) for his role in leading an attack against Maaori children, killing two and wounding many others. In 1879 he passed legislation enabling the imprisonment of Maaori without trial. In 1881 he led the invasion of Parihaka and imprisoned Te Whiti, Tohu, and other Maaori men for two years without trial. Bryce was the public face of racist policy towards Maaori. 

Von Tempsky Street. At Rangiaowhia Von Tempsky set fire to a house containing elderly, women, and children. Von Tempsky recalled that as fire engulfed the whare one elderly man came out with his hands raised in a gesture of surrender. Despite calls to spare him the man was immediately shot and killed. None of the other occupants of the hut dared come out following this incident. All, including a young boy, were incinerated.  

What are you views on the call to change these street names? 

I am happy for council spending money on educating the wider public on past wrongs and per 1860 Kirikiriroa. As a resident of Bader I would like to see the Te Rapa pa site better identified.

Would you invite mana whenua to propose new names for these three Hamilton streets? 

yes

Do you support Hamilton City Council having Maaori ward(s)

It is an option, I do not have a fixed view on how democracy works, I support the way Hamilton has Maaori representation on council.

The Hamilton City Prostitution Bylaw 2009 is currently being reviewed. The “Soliciting of Commercial Sexual Services” section of this bylaw bans sex workers from working in all public spaces of Hamilton. This section of the bylaw:

– makes independent sex workers less safe, as it creates a situation where workers are less likely to report violence to police, as the workers can be prosecuted and fined $20,000.

– forces sex workers to rely on brothel owners and pimps.

– contradicts the Prostitution Reform Act, and in doing so exposes the city to expensive legal battles.

– stigmatises sex workers.

Will you vote to overturn the Soliciting of Commercial Sexual Services section of the bylaw?

[no answer.]

A few years ago the council discussed not being able to continue to provide its current stock of social housing citing their being unfit for use and a lack of funds to upgrade them. Three blocks were then sold with the funds received intended to provide for continuing ownership of the remaining stock. In 2014 legislation changes made the councils ineligible for the Income Related Rent Subsidy for social housing. Hamilton City Council took this as an impetus to vote to sell their remaining 366 units, despite most councils across Aotearoa findings ways to continue to provide some social housing. In 2014 the cost for land and construction of 366 units in Hamilton was estimated at around $60million, but HCC sold the 366 homes for $19.5 million. The low level of social housing in Hamilton has contributed to our high rate of homelessness, food insecurity, and poverty-related illnesses.

Would you vote to fund more social housing, even if it meant raising rates?

Council is already funding the building of dwellings in the city centre through DC remissions. Is the outcome from this housing subsidy benefiting the most at need?. I do support the council being involved in social housing.

The Council’s “Your Help may Harm” campaign stigmatises people by conflating homelessness, begging and drug addiction. The campaign is not based on solid research, and it promotes the myth that people begging in Hamilton don’t buy food.

Vague wording in the Safety in Public Places Bylaw leaves vulnerable people open to being arrested and fined $20,000 for sleeping in public or asking people for money.

City Safe have just received $230,000 in funding, which will lead to the police being called on the city’s most vulnerable people more often.

What will you do to reduce the stigmatisation of the poorest members of our community?

Sound bites about vulnerable people are not helpful. We all need a support network, at times many people need help to rebuild their support network. I have listened to number City Safe briefings to council, it is City Safe staff having the face to face contact with the people a complainant dislikes. The briefings do remind us that each situation is unique.   

 What will you do to help end poverty and homelessness in Hamilton? – I support changing the district plan to increase

the number of quality entry level homes and start up businesses throughout the city.

Dave Macpherson​​

Read Dave Macpherson 's responses

When was the last time you used public transport? 

daveMac5 days ago.

What would make public transport an attractive option for you? 

Buses going near my street.

 Do you support water fluoridation in Hamilton? 

Support fluoridation, but not in the reticulated water. The collected science leans towards fluoridation being a good form of prevention of oral disease, but doesn’t support it necessarily to be used for garden watering or car washing!

[Comment from OA : For an opposing view on this answer please see these statements from Te Ao Marama, the Ministry of Health, and the Waikato District Health Board.]

Do you support Hamilton City Council elections changing to a single transferable vote (STV) system? 

Yes, have campaigned for it twice.

This year a Hamilton City Councillor caused great offence to the autistic community, and severely damaged public health efforts by promoting a widely discredited theory about vaccines causing autism. 

Do you think vaccines cause autism? 

No. Siggi Henry is full of it, and has little idea of putting herself in others’ shoes.

 The official 2019 New Zealand Living Wage is $21.15.

Do you support the Living Wage being implemented for all those employed by Hamilton City Council? 

Yes, and that has already started – not sure why you are asking this question, as we got that through over a year ago. I’ve been promoting that for about 7 years.

[Comment from OA : Hamilton City Council still has several staff being paid less than the living wage. Our view is that all future councillors need to support the living wage and continue to work on this issue.]

Do you support the Hamilton City Council procurement policies being changed to ensure that all contracted workers who are delivering a regular and ongoing service, such as bus drivers and cleaners, are paid a living wage? 

You’ve got this wrong – bus drivers are contracted to the Regional Council, not to HCC. Having said that, our procurement policies have already been changed, as of about 6 months ago, when HCC voted on my motion to increase contracted cleaners’ wages to the LW, and to ensure the LW was factored into every future external contract renewal.

[Comment from OA : For comparative reasons the exact same question is being asked of Waikato Regional Council candidates]

There have been calls to rename three Hamilton streets because of the people they have been named after:

Grey Street. Grey talked peace with Maaori while secretly preparing for war. He led the invasions against the Waikato, Taranaki, and Tauranga people and is directly responsible for the confiscation of 3 million acres of Maaori land in the North Island. He acquired over 30 million acres of Te Waipounamu claiming this whenua as ‘waste lands.’ Dr Ranginui Walker described Grey as the ‘Hitman of Colonisation’. 

Bryce Street. Maaori called him Bryce Kohuru (murderer) for his role in leading an attack against Maaori children, killing two and wounding many others. In 1879 he passed legislation enabling the imprisonment of Maaori without trial. In 1881 he led the invasion of Parihaka and imprisoned Te Whiti, Tohu, and other Maaori men for two years without trial. Bryce was the public face of racist policy towards Maaori. 

Von Tempsky Street. At Rangiaowhia Von Tempsky set fire to a house containing elderly, women, and children. Von Tempsky recalled that as fire engulfed the whare one elderly man came out with his hands raised in a gesture of surrender. Despite calls to spare him the man was immediately shot and killed. None of the other occupants of the hut dared come out following this incident. All, including a young boy, were incinerated.  

What are you views on the call to change these street names? 

Totally support the name changes for Bryce & Von Tempsky streets, need to do more study on Grey Street.

Would you invite mana whenua to propose new names for these three Hamilton streets? 

I would support tangata whenua proposing new names – is this what you meant to say?

Do you support Hamilton City Council having Maaori ward(s)

Only IF tangata whenua support that – at this point they support HCC only going as far as Maangai Maori on official Council committees. I don’t support pushing tangata whenua into political positions that they are not happy with, and nor should anyone else! My position for 20 years has been to support tangata whenua’s proposals in this area.

The Hamilton City Prostitution Bylaw 2009 is currently being reviewed. The “Soliciting of Commercial Sexual Services” section of this bylaw bans sex workers from working in all public spaces of Hamilton. This section of the bylaw:

– makes independent sex workers less safe, as it creates a situation where workers are less likely to report violence to police, as the workers can be prosecuted and fined $20,000.

– forces sex workers to rely on brothel owners and pimps.

– contradicts the Prostitution Reform Act, and in doing so exposes the city to expensive legal battles.

– stigmatises sex workers.

Will you vote to overturn the Soliciting of Commercial Sexual Services section of the bylaw? 

No. Your assessment above is factually incorrect – allowing sex work to be promoted in public places demeans women. It is not illegal to restrict that in the way that HCC has done – allowing it in commercial areas. The Prostitution Bylaw has been tested in Court and found to be correct, and you are doing a disservice to the argument to suggest otherwise. I understand the Prostitutes Collective arguments around safety and health, but do not believe their suggestions change the Hamilton situation – where there is, in fact, no public health or sex worker safety crisis.

[Comment from OA : Our reading of the court case referred to here (Conley v Hamilton City Council) is that it only rules on the “Location of Brothels” section of the bylaw. Our concerns are with the “Soliciting of Commercial Sexual Services” section of the bylaw.  The City Council’s own Corporate Policy Specialist reported to the council on 28 February 2019 that “under the Prostitution Reform Act 2003, Territorial Authorities can only regulate location and signage. The HCC Bylaw also includes a clause on solicitation which was not permitted by the Prostitution Reform Act 2003.” Macpherson was present at this meeting.]

A few years ago the council discussed not being able to continue to provide its current stock of social housing citing their being unfit for use and a lack of funds to upgrade them. Three blocks were then sold with the funds received intended to provide for continuing ownership of the remaining stock. In 2014 legislation changes made the councils ineligible for the Income Related Rent Subsidy for social housing. Hamilton City Council took this as an impetus to vote to sell their remaining 366 units, despite most councils across Aotearoa findings ways to continue to provide some social housing. In 2014 the cost for land and construction of 366 units in Hamilton was estimated at around $60million, but HCC sold the 366 homes for $19.5 million. The low level of social housing in Hamilton has contributed to our high rate of homelessness, food insecurity, and poverty-related illnesses.

Would you vote to fund more social housing, even if it meant raising rates? 

Again, you are a little behind the times here. Firstly, HCC got about $24m for the sale. Secondly, HCC has already voted to set up a community housing trust to get back into the area of both social and affordable housing, putting a start-off $2m back into this area (from rates). This was the motion of myself and the Mayor several months ago. We are currently looking to vest ownership of surplus Council general housing, and housing-suitable land in that Trust. The Mayor, myself and some others will be campaigning on increasing that amount, as we believe HCC has a major responsibility in this area.

The Council’s “Your Help may Harm” campaign stigmatises people by conflating homelessness, begging and drug addiction. The campaign is not based on solid research, and it promotes the myth that people begging in Hamilton don’t buy food.

Vague wording in the Safety in Public Places Bylaw leaves vulnerable people open to being arrested and fined $20,000 for sleeping in public or asking people for money.

City Safe have just received $230,000 in funding, which will lead to the police being called on the city’s most vulnerable people more often.

What will you do to reduce the stigmatisation of the poorest members of our community? 

There is considerable argument among progressive people as to this issue – I think you are wrong to take a one-sided view – I come from a community work background, but for instance don’t believe that giving $s to homeless is the answer – the homeless/housing issues can be better tackled by HCC supporting groups that are working in the area (as we are – but probably not enough) of finding quality shelter, and supporting social services, for the homeless – including the mental health issues that are most often related to the homeless person’s situation, and also by HCC getting back into being a player in that area (see above).

What will you do to help end poverty and homelessness in Hamilton? 

Continue to work with Western Community Centre (voluntary work for 20+ years), and considerable amount of unofficial voluntary work as a mental health advocate (4 years +), plus continue to advocate for HCC taking socially progressive stances.

Martin Gallagher

Read Martin Gallagher's responses

When was the last time you used public transport?

Martin-Gallagher-West-Ward-1-1About a month ago. I live central city most amenities I visit are within walkable distance.

What would make public transport an attractive option for you?

Increased service to minimize wait time, also affordability. I fully supported the move to increase free bus access to under nineteen’s on weekends and those with disability at all times. 

Do you support water Fluoridation in Hamilton?

As per the referendum result I support water fluoridation. Councillors personal views are of no relevance. I believe this issue should be a central Government issue not a local issue. 

Do you support Hamilton City Council elections changing to a Single Transferrable Vote?

Yes, have strongly supported this fairer system of voting and campaigned for it previously.

Do you think vaccines cause Autism?

No. 

Do you support the Living Wage being implemented for all of those employed by Hamilton City Council?

Yes and this journey has commenced.

Procurement question

Bus drivers are contracted to Regional Council not HCC. I have supported a living wage for bus drivers. I strongly supported Dave Macpherson motion to increase contract cleaner’s wages to the Living Wage. I support this being extended to other contractors. 

What are your views on the call to change these street names?

I would not support the street name change at this time, but acknowledge we need to have a healthy discussion around this issue. I support the erection of plagues to explain their history. 

Do you support HCC having Maaori wards?

I support the current model of Maangai Maaori representation on council standing committees. 

Will you vote to overturn the Soliciting of this Commercial Sexual Services section of the bylaw?

As this matter is before council in a formal hearing process, I do not intend to pre-empt the outcome. Any council decision must be evidenced base. 

Would you fund more social housing even if it meant raising rates?

I and Councilor Dave Macpherson strongly opposed the sale of social housing. This current council has voted to set up a community housing trust to help provide both social and affordable housing. 

What will you do to support the stigmatisation of the poorest members of our community?

Council is already supporting groups working in this area. I commend the excellent work of the People’s Project as an example.

What will you do to help end poverty and homelessness in Hamilton?

Continue to work in partnership with all relevant agencies and voluntary groups. Central Government has a crucial role in helping local communities to fund and provide adequate social housing. Partnership with Central Government is imperative.

Ewan Wilson

Read Ewan Wilson's responses

When was the last time you used public transport? 

I’ve just finished working and living as a volunteer Manila Philippines on a Canadian and EU government-funded development project. I took the bus to work each day (a 1-hour journey each way) for about 6 months. It was efficient and affordable., but I have to be honest a little noisy, congested and uncomfortable at times

What would make public transport an attractive option for you? 

I love public transport I studied both in the UK and Canada over the last 2 years and happily used both the bus, underground and light rail.

It’s affordable, and in most cases it’s efficient

Do you support water fluoridation in Hamilton?

Yes, I do support fluoridation of the city’s water. 
In fact, I successfully lead a referendum to get fluoride back in the water when the council voted to take it out.

I think it’s a successful and safe health initiative. I, however, do respect the views of those who don’t and would continue to support making non treated water  available for  pickup in a centreal location

Do you support Hamilton City Council elections changing to a single transferable vote (STV) system?

I would support a move to  STV voting system. We use it for all DHB  elections, and it is designed to achieve proportional representation .Any introduction would need to be accompanied by an education and promotional program.


This year a Hamilton City Councillor caused great offence to the autistic community and severely damaged public health efforts by promoting a widely discredited theory about vaccines causing autism. 

Do you think vaccines cause autism?

The science shows that vaccines do not cause autism.
The world is facing multiple outbreaks of diseases that we had eliminated
Because individuals and so-called experts have miss understood science and have then encouraged others to follow their poor decision putting millions of people lives at risk around the world.

When I worked in Manila ,I encountered first-hand a huge measles outbreak due to a significant reduction in vaccinations — having someone sitting around the council table with these anti-vaccine views would be a Clear and Present Danger

The official 2019 New Zealand Living Wage is $21.15.

Do you support the Living Wage being implemented for all those employed by Hamilton City Council?

I support the Hamilton City Council paying a living wage. From my point of view and experience, the council must lead the way and set the example. The citizens of Hamilton expect Council to be best-in-class at everything we do this surely must start by respecting and rewarding staff with at least the living wage.
I accept the private sector has multiple pressures that come to bare on their businesses, but when it comes to both levels of government, we need to set the benchmark. We don’t achieve this by having our workers struggling to make ends meet.

Do you support the Hamilton City Council procurement policies being changed to ensure that all contracted workers who are delivering a regular and ongoing service, such as bus drivers and cleaners, are paid a living wage?

Contract workers who are delivering a regular and ongoing service to councils should be paid a living wage.
Our procurement process should reflect the above council requirement.


There have been calls to rename three Hamilton streets because of the people they have been named after:

Grey Street. Grey talked peace with Maaori while secretly preparing for war. He led the invasions against the Waikato, Taranaki, and Tauranga people and is directly responsible for the confiscation of 3 million acres of Maaori land in the North Island. He acquired over 30 million acres of Te Waipounamu claiming this whenua as ‘waste lands.’ Dr Ranginui Walker described Grey as the ‘Hitman of Colonisation’. 

Bryce Street. Maaori called him Bryce Kohuru (murderer) for his role in leading an attack against Maaori children, killing two and wounding many others. In 1879 he passed legislation enabling the imprisonment of Maaori without trial. In 1881 he led the invasion of Parihaka and imprisoned Te Whiti, Tohu, and other Maaori men for two years without trial. Bryce was the public face of racist policy towards Maaori. 

Von Tempsky Street. At Rangiaowhia Von Tempsky set fire to a house containing elderly, women, and children. Von Tempsky recalled that as fire engulfed the whare one elderly man came out with his hands raised in a gesture of surrender. Despite calls to spare him, the man was immediately shot and killed. None of the other occupants of the hut dared come out following this incident. All, including a young boy, were incinerated.  

What are your views on the call to change these street names? Would you invite mana whenua to propose new names for these three Hamilton streets? 

I would not support calls to change the names of these Street. I accept there are significant sensitivities concerning aspects of our history. But my preference would be to ensure moving forward when naming streets and the construction of historical statues; there is a  balanced that reflects both Maaori history and their prominent leaders and pakeha history.


Do you support Hamilton City Council having Maaori ward(s)?

I do not support Maaori wards. But  I fully support the current Maori representation on  committees within the Council.
I fully support a move to STV would help achieve proportional representation.

The Hamilton City Prostitution Bylaw 2009 is currently being reviewed. The “Soliciting of Commercial Sexual Services” section of this bylaw bans sex workers from working in all public spaces of Hamilton. This section of the bylaw:

– makes independent sex workers less safe, as it creates a situation where workers are less likely to report violence to police, as the workers can be prosecuted and fined $20,000.

– forces sex workers to rely on brothel owners and pimps.

– contradicts the Prostitution Reform Act, and in doing so, exposes the city to expensive legal battles.

– stigmatises sex workers.

Will you vote to overturn the Soliciting of Commercial Sexual Services section of the bylaw?

I would not vote to overturn the current bylaw concerning soliciting of commercial sexual services.


A few years ago, the council discussed not being able to continue to provide its current stock of social housing citing their being unfit for use and a lack of funds to upgrade them. Three blocks were then sold with the funds received intended to provide for continuing ownership of the remaining stock. In 2014 legislation changes made the councils ineligible for the Income Related Rent Subsidy for social housing. Hamilton City Council took this as an impetus to vote to sell their remaining 366 units, despite most councils across Aotearoa findings ways to continue to provide some social housing. In 2014 the cost for land and construction of 366 units in Hamilton was estimated at around $60million, but HCC sold the 366 homes for $19.5 million. The low level of social housing in Hamilton has contributed to our high rate of homelessness, food insecurity, and poverty-related illnesses.

Would you vote to fund more social housing, even if it meant raising rates?

When I was on Council in the past, I voted against selling social housing.

I would vote to fund social housing as I feel the council does have a responsibility but not if it leads to a rate increase above 3.8%. If we manage our priorities / budgets correctly, we can achieve a meaningful contribution to social housing while still enabling us to live within 3.8%.

The Council’s “Your Help may Harm” campaign stigmatises people by conflating homelessness, begging and drug addiction. The campaign is not based on solid research, and it promotes the myth that people begging in Hamilton don’t buy food.

Vague wording in the Safety in Public Places Bylaw leaves vulnerable people open to being arrested and fined $20,000 for sleeping in public or asking people for money.

City Safe has just received $230,000 in funding, which will lead to the police being called on the city’s most vulnerable people more often.

What will you do to reduce the stigmatisation of the poorest members of our community? 

I treat all members of our community with respect and dignity. I would work hard to engarge with the poorest of our  community and ensure they have access to the full range of wraparound services provided by the central government.

What will you do to help end poverty and homelessness in Hamilton?

We will need to engarge more and play our leadership role in ensuring government agencys are providing wrap around service to the poorest members of our community.

Angela O’Leary

Read Angela O'Leary's responses

Do you support water fluoridation in Hamilton?

Yes, and I support the outcome of the HCC public referendum.

[Note from OA: O’Leary was one of the councillors who voted to remove fluoride from Hamilton’s water in 2013.]

 Do you support Hamilton City Council elections changing to a single transferable vote (STV) system?

Yes, this is my personal view.  I believe STV will deliver a more diverse and truer representative Council than it’s alternative – First Past the Post. 

I’ve looked at Councils around New Zealand who use this system, and with the exception of Palmerston North, all Councils on STV have increased their voter turnout over the past three elections.

On the other hand, Hamilton’s voter turnout has been steadily declining for a decade and over our past three years, we’ve lost almost 5% of voters.  This will be one of the decisions the new Council will start looking at in 2020. 

This year a Hamilton City Councillor caused great offence to the autistic community, and severely damaged public health efforts by promoting a widely discredited theory about vaccines causing autism. 

Do you think vaccines cause autism?

I do not.  I am not a medical expert; this is my personal view. 

The official 2019 New Zealand Living Wage is $21.15.

Do you support the Living Wage being implemented for all those employed by Hamilton City Council?

I support the Council Minimum Wage that was implemented in 2018. 

At the time, the minimum wage set by the Government was $20.00.  The Council Minimum Wage is to move the minimum wage of Hamilton City Council employees to $20.00 over a four year period by 2021. 

I think this will need some adjustment at the next 10 Year Plan to keep it in line with the cost of living and inflation. 

[Note from OA: The living wage is adjusted every year to align the cost of living. Adjusting it every ten years will push council workers below the poverty line.]

Do you support the Hamilton City Council procurement policies being changed to ensure that all contracted workers who are delivering a regular and ongoing service, such as bus drivers and cleaners, are paid a living wage?

While Council recently supported a move to do this with external cleaners contracted to Council, and I supported that, we haven’t yet had the wider discussion on the financial impacts of attributing this to all contracted workers. 

It’s important to support Council staff first, but I am keen to have a look at this in the future. 

[Note from OA: Two weeks after answering this question O’Leary voted against paying council security guards a living wage.]

What are you views on the call to change these street names?

This is an interesting issue.  It’s not only names like what is listed above that have caused offence to parts of our community, but also the generalisation and use of Maaori names for streets when there is no connection to either people or land.  That’s of interest to me.  

It’s important to acknowledge all of our city’s history.  I myself am still reading and learning with books like the Waikato Wars, as even when I was growing up there was little in my education system.  We shouldn’t be afraid to tell all our stories. 

This issue has just come to Council’s attention and we await a report.  I am interested in the detail so I can make a more informed view when the time comes. It will be a difficult conversation to have but it’s an important one.

Would you invite mana whenua to propose new names for these three Hamilton streets? 

All residents should have the opportunity to talk about this, including mana whenua.

[Note from OA: Our reading of this answer is that non-resident mana whenua would be excluded.]  

What are Hamilton City Council’s obligations under Tiriti o Waitangi? 

Do you believe those obligations are being met?

Council must have processes that provide opportunities for Maaori to participate and contribute to its decision making processes and I support that. 

I was surprised when I first started on Council that while there was and continues to be co-governance arrangements with Maaori, that Council had no Maaori Advisor on staff.  I thought this was a mistake and made my view clear on that. 

Today Council has Maangai Maaori representatives sit on four Council committees.  It’s still early days but seems to be working well. I think there is room for improvement though with the particular system we have chosen and as Mayor I am keen to sit down with all stakeholders.

Do you support Hamilton City Council having Maaori ward(s)?

When Council worked with Maaori during our recent Representation Review the advice back was that we should look at a different option, and the appointments to committees was the preferred option by all parties. 

During the review Maaori told us they didn’t want a Ward system at this time.

The Hamilton City Prostitution Bylaw 2009 is currently being reviewed. The “Soliciting of Commercial Sexual Services” section of this bylaw bans sex workers from working in all public spaces of Hamilton. This section of the bylaw:

– makes independent sex workers less safe, as it creates a situation where workers are less likely to report violence to police, as the workers can be prosecuted and fined $20,000.

– forces sex workers to rely on brothel owners and pimps.

– contradicts the Prostitution Reform Act, and in doing so exposes the city to expensive legal battles.

– stigmatises sex workers.

Will you vote to overturn the Soliciting of Commercial Sexual Services section of the bylaw?

Bylaws are reviewed every three years and I am supportive of the current Bylaw and would not look to overturn it.

[Note from OA: Bylaws are reviewed after the first five years, and then every ten years.]

Climate change will bring large numbers of new residents to Hamilton and require the city to substantially reduce reliance on fossil fuels. It’s clear that Hamilton’s current public transport system isn’t up to the task. 

When was the last time you used public transport? 

Other than a park and ride to a local event I’ve not used public transport in Hamilton. 

I grew up in Wellington, so it was part of my everyday life, but PT is vastly different in that city.

Due to my job as an elected member it makes it difficult.  Like many people I need the convenience of a private car. In any one day I can be travelling to 5 different meetings and appointments across town.  I’m not saying it couldn’t be done with public transport, but it would lower what I could achieve in any one day significantly.

What would make public transport an attractive option for you? 

When I reflect on how I used PT when living in Wellington and my current role, there isn’t anything immediate I could think of to make it an attractive option for me. 

In saying that I will use the new commuter Hamilton to Auckland rail service due to start soon.  That for me is a no-brainer. 

Locally it would be a lot more challenging for a service to become attractive enough for me use.

Do you have a plan to transform our transport system and move Hamilton residents away from car ownership?

I believe that the future will be one where there is no car ownership, that we will all just ‘dial a car’ when we need one. 

This will come with houses being built without the need for garages and city planning will need to change to plan for this.  We need to start having these conversations now and planning for them now. 

I support the continued programme of safe cycling and pedestrian infrastructure. 

School Strike 4 Climate New Zealand have been making the following demands:

– Declare a climate emergency.

– Make a legally enforceable plan to get to zero carbon by 2040.

– Invest in building a renewable and regenerative economy now.

Where do you stand on these demands?

What other strategies and plans do you have for the city to combat climate change?

Isn’t it wonderful that young people are so passionate about an issue and getting involved in their democracy. 

Council has never had a policy to address climate change, and that needs to change. 

My position on climate change is that I absolutely accept that Council must play an important role in leading change in this space.  As Mayor I will help legislate and lead that change. One of my first actions as Mayor will be to establish a Youth Climate Change Advisory Board. 

Local Government is in a unique position to be most beneficial.  It can be the vehicle to reach the most people and to have the most impact, and as Mayor I am excited by the opportunities ahead.

In terms of legislation, as Mayor I will ensure Council plays its part and also lobbys Government to support change to excessive carbon emitting industries. 

In leading change, as Mayor I will ensure that Council’s transport, vehicles and services are moved away from fossil fuel to clean energy options where practical and when costs become beneficial to ratepayers. 

Council must also enable smarter greener technologies and practices in all areas of service.  

There are many initiatives to make significant improvements in this area and for our city to do its part that I will be talking about further into my election.

Would you vote to fund more social housing, even if it meant raising rates?

No I would not.  Many ratepayers are struggling under the weight of a recent significant rates increase already and my rates policy is to keep rates low and affordable by aligning them to the cost of living.

The sale of Council housing didn’t reduce the stock of social housing in the city. 

It lowered the rent for all new residents from $127.00 a week to $57.00 per week, something Council was unable to do. 

The sale also meant that the homes were made available to all vulnerable people in our community, not just older persons. 

I would prefer that Council build a programme of incentives for experts in social housing to enable them to build more houses.   We could do this easily by provided financial incentives and making it easier and quick for them to build.

Ultimately, I believe the problem sits with the Government stopping a continued building of state housing options over the years.

The Council’s “Your Help may Harm” campaign stigmatises people by conflating homelessness, begging and drug addiction. The campaign is not based on solid research, and it promotes the myth that people begging in Hamilton don’t buy food.

Vague wording in the Safety in Public Places Bylaw leaves vulnerable people open to being arrested and fined $20,000 for sleeping in public or asking people for money.

City Safe have just received $230,000 in funding, which will lead to the police being called on the city’s most vulnerable people more often.

The Your Help May Harm campaign was never meant to be on large billboards splashed across our city.  It was a campaign to quietly and respectfully talk about the issue of begging and the harm that can be caused by it.  It was about what everyone can do and what is being done, to help those most in need.

Through my work with Council’s Safety plans over the years I am aware that research from overseas tells us that not all people who beg are homeless, and not all homeless people beg. 

I care about vulnerable people in our community and about public safety.  It’s important for Council to continue to provide support and funding to organisations who are better placed to look after vulnerable people.

The $230,000 budget is to expand the already successful City Safe service to Hamilton suburbs, no one has ever been fined $20,000 for sleeping in a public place or asking for money in Hamilton. 

One of the roles of City Safe are there to connect these vulnerable people to the services and help they need. 

What will you do to reduce the stigmatisation of the poorest members of our community? 

What will you do to help end poverty and homelessness in Hamilton? 

I will continue to support the many wonderful organisations in the city that run outreach programmes and are better placed to provide the services that vulnerable people need. 

Just because someone isn’t dressed like you, or look like you, doesn’t mean they don’t belong.  Everyone has the right to feel safe in our city and this includes people who are vulnerable. 

I will continue to improve public safety for everyone, especially our most vulnerable. 

[Note from OA: O’Leary has extra questions than other candidates as she is also standing for mayor. Her ranking on this list is based only on the questions sent to all candidates standing in the West ward.]

Matthew Small

Read Matthew Small's responses

When was the last time you used public transport?

Last week.

What would make public transport an attractive option for you?

More incentives to get me out of my car, so cheaper prices for tickets. More efficient as I work different shifts, sometimes I start early and other days finish late.

Do you support water fluoridation in Hamilton?

I support the results of the previous referendum, the public decided and I would have voted for the status quo if another referendum happened.  I do like how there are taps in public areas for people that can use the non fluoride water.

Do you support Hamilton City Council elections changing to a single transferable vote (STV) system?

Yes, the current system is not working.

Do you think vaccines cause autism?

NO

Do you support the Living Wage being implemented for all those employed by Hamilton City Council?

No.

Do you support the Hamilton City Council procurement policies being changed to ensure that all contracted workers who are delivering a regular and ongoing service, such as bus drivers and cleaners, are paid a living wage?

No.

What are you views on the call to change these street names?

I personally don’t think it’s the biggest issue for residents at the moment. If the issue does come up again throughout the next term of council then I will listen to what the public have to say through public consultation and let all residents decide.

Do you support Hamilton City Council having Maori ward(s)?

No, I believe no matter what ethnicity, age, gender you should be voted on to council if you are the best person for the job. I have seen some outstanding Maori candidates that are standing in the Waikato this year, I really hope some of them get elected because they would be outstanding councillors. 

Will you vote to overturn the Soliciting of Commercial Sexual Services section of the bylaw?

No

Would you vote to fund more social housing, even if it meant raising rates?

No, it’s central government’s role to build more social housing. Local government has a role to upgrade infrastructure and work with central government to cut red tape to build more social housing faster. 

I will work constructively with whatever government is in charge to create a comprehensive plan for the future of all housing in Hamilton.

What will you do to reduce the stigmatisation of the poorest members of our community? 

Advocate and work as hard as I can to make sure critical infrastructure such as playgrounds continues to be invested in all areas of Hamilton.

Have community clinics every few months in all areas of the West Ward, so residents have access to discuss any issues positive/negative with their local councillor. 

What will you do to help end poverty and homelessness in Hamilton?

Not introducing any unnecessary new taxes including a regional fuel tax or water meters. 

Not increase rates higher than 3.8% and work hard to lower them if it’s possible to reduce unnecessary costs. Investing in things Hamilton needs and not wants.

Work with central government to come up with a comprehensive plan on housing in Hamilton. Rents have gone up $30 on average in the past year in Hamilton and it’s important for council to work together with all partners, so there are more houses are available. If we have an oversupply of housing stock then rents could potentially stall or could go down.

David McNab

Read David McNab's responses

When was the last time you used public transport? 

Buses 3 years ago

 What would make public transport an attractive option for you? 

Overall, until intelligent self-driving vehicles become safe and economical, Hamilton’s small and spread-out population do not offer the opportunity to provide economically sane but widely appealing public transport options.

Do you support water fluoridation in Hamilton?

No way! Personally, I consider fluoridation of the water supply to be a form of forced mass medication, and thus, a grievous breach of human rights. My wife suffers Hashimoto’s Disease, a degenerative condition for which fluoride ingestion is a known contributor. At home, I use a reverse osmosis water filter for fluoride removal, and resent having had to incur time and expense to set this up.

Do you support Hamilton City Council elections changing to a single transferable vote (STV) system?

Very much so. As a believer in democracy,  I consider all voting systems to be deeply flawed. However, the degrees of defect vary, with First Past the Post being one of the most defective, and STV being one of the least defective.

This year a Hamilton City Councillor caused great offence to the autistic community, and severely damaged public health efforts by promoting a widely discredited theory about vaccines causing autism. 

Do you think vaccines cause autism?

As someone lacking medical training, without access to a large body of credible, peer reviewed longitudinal research data, I cannot comment on this.

The official 2019 New Zealand Living Wage is $21.15.

Do you support the Living Wage being implemented for all those employed by Hamilton City Council?

If this could be achieved without inflicting further rates rises on the population, many of whom are themselves living below the Living Wage, and are right on the edge of being forced out of their own homes, then yes.

Do you support the Hamilton City Council procurement policies being changed to ensure that all contracted workers who are delivering a regular and ongoing service, such as bus drivers and cleaners, are paid a living wage?

Same as previous answer.

There have been calls to rename three Hamilton streets because of the people they have been named after:

Grey Street. Grey talked peace with Maaori while secretly preparing for war. He led the invasions against the Waikato, Taranaki, and Tauranga people and is directly responsible for the confiscation of 3 million acres of Maaori land in the North Island. He acquired over 30 million acres of Te Waipounamu claiming this whenua as ‘waste lands.’ Dr Ranginui Walker described Grey as the ‘Hitman of Colonisation’. 

Bryce Street. Maaori called him Bryce Kohuru (murderer) for his role in leading an attack against Maaori children, killing two and wounding many others. In 1879 he passed legislation enabling the imprisonment of Maaori without trial. In 1881 he led the invasion of Parihaka and imprisoned Te Whiti, Tohu, and other Maaori men for two years without trial. Bryce was the public face of racist policy towards Maaori. 

Von Tempsky Street. At Rangiaowhia Von Tempsky set fire to a house containing elderly, women, and children. Von Tempsky recalled that as fire engulfed the whare one elderly man came out with his hands raised in a gesture of surrender. Despite calls to spare him the man was immediately shot and killed. None of the other occupants of the hut dared come out following this incident. All, including a young boy, were incinerated.  

What are you views on the call to change these street names?

I would seek the opinions of the voters and go with the democratic majority.

Would you invite mana whenua to propose new names for these three Hamilton streets? 

Ditto

Do you support Hamilton City Council having Maaori ward(s)?

There are 12 elected member seats on Council. If the number of Maori Roll voters came close to 1 in 12, or about 8.3%, then I would support a single Maori Ward for Hamilton City Council, which would vote to elect a single Maori elected member. Fairness lies in proportionality.

The Hamilton City Prostitution Bylaw 2009 is currently being reviewed. The “Soliciting of Commercial Sexual Services” section of this bylaw bans sex workers from working in all public spaces of Hamilton. This section of the bylaw:

– makes independent sex workers less safe, as it creates a situation where workers are less likely to report violence to police, as the workers can be prosecuted and fined $20,000.

– forces sex workers to rely on brothel owners and pimps.

– contradicts the Prostitution Reform Act, and in doing so exposes the city to expensive legal battles.

– stigmatises sex workers.

Will you vote to overturn the Soliciting of Commercial Sexual Services section of the bylaw?

I dispute the accuracy of the statement that the ByLaw 2009 “bans sex workers from working in all public spaces of Hamilton”. It only prohibits them working in proximity to schools and other child-sensitive areas, and also prohibits them from actively soliciting. For me, I consider the ByLaw as striking a sensible balance between the right to pursue a lawful profession and the right of the community to go about its business without harassment or exposure of children to this line of activity before children are ready to become aware of these things.

[Note from OA: McNab is referring to a separate part of the bylaw which restricts brothel location. This question is about the Soliciting of Commercial Sexual Services section.]

A few years ago the council discussed not being able to continue to provide its current stock of social housing citing their being unfit for use and a lack of funds to upgrade them. Three blocks were then sold with the funds received intended to provide for continuing ownership of the remaining stock. In 2014 legislation changes made the councils ineligible for the Income Related Rent Subsidy for social housing. Hamilton City Council took this as an impetus to vote to sell their remaining 366 units, despite most councils across Aotearoa findings ways to continue to provide some social housing. In 2014 the cost for land and construction of 366 units in Hamilton was estimated at around $60million, but HCC sold the 366 homes for $19.5 million. The low level of social housing in Hamilton has contributed to our high rate of homelessness, food insecurity, and poverty-related illnesses.

Would you vote to fund more social housing, even if it meant raising rates?

Even as someone who has himself been homeless, and risen out of that with the aid of hand-ups from the public purse, I would have to say no. Social Housing is the responsibility of Housing New Zealand. I am running for Council to keep rates rises in check. The more rates rise, the more vulnerable people are being forced out of their homes because they can no longer afford to live in them. The 10 year plan of Council threatens to increase total rates on the average home to nearly $100/week. I will not be a part of allowing this to happen.

The Council’s “Your Help may Harm” campaign stigmatises people by conflating homelessness, begging and drug addiction. The campaign is not based on solid research, and it promotes the myth that people begging in Hamilton don’t buy food.

Vague wording in the Safety in Public Places Bylaw leaves vulnerable people open to being arrested and fined $20,000 for sleeping in public or asking people for money.

City Safe have just received $230,000 in funding, which will lead to the police being called on the city’s most vulnerable people more often.

What will you do to reduce the stigmatisation of the poorest members of our community? 

I would encourage the creation of work opportunities, such as a van which in the morning picks up willing workers, gives them a day of low and semi-skilled work, and drops them off at the end of the day with debit cards loaded up with a day’s pay.

That, and intensify lobbying efforts to central Government to upgrade the provision of mental health services, given that mental health struggles are a major contributor to homelessness.

What will you do to help end poverty and homelessness in Hamilton?

Help to streamline the approval process for new and renovated construction of residences, such that supply of housing increases faster than demand, and helps drive down the cost of housing.

Matt Shea

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Matt Shea didn’t respond to our emails. We had a look at his website and the librarian in our team was slightly alarmed by his plan to downsize the library by replacing all the old books with e-books. He hasn’t done any basic costing of how much it would cost to provide access to the back catalogue electronically, and our initial calculations show that the cost would be much higher than the commercial rent the space would bring in. Council workers don’t need a governance team who think they know more about how to do their jobs than they do, and they don’t need a governance team who will make plans and promises without research and consultation. Sorry Matt but your plan stinks.

Geoff Taylor

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Incumbent Geoff Taylor didn’t respond to our emails.

Leo Tooman

Read Leo Tooman's responses

Incumbent Leo Tooman didn’t respond to our emails. Tooman voted against raising cleaners pay to $20 per hour, an amount which is still below the living wage. More recently he voted against security guards being paid a living wage.

He voted against the council doing anything about climate change saying it had “less substance than a cow’s fart”. He peddled some pseudo-science that was called “complete rubbish” by a climate scientist.

Rudi du Plooy

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Rudi du Plooy responded to our email saying we had “some very deep questions” but unfortunately never got around to sending his answers in. Like many people associated with Hamilton City Council, he is well-known for putting Hamilton on the map for all the wrong reasons. Rudi has been hosting The Day of the Vow in Hamilton, a South African white supremacist celebration of the slaughter and colonisation of the Zulu people. The celebration was abolished in South Africa years ago as a racist relic. Rudi du Plooy has been using the celebration to promote a widely-discredited theory of white genocide. When asked for comment by a journalist he said “I have a lot of black friends”.

Siggi Henry

Read Siggi Henry's responses

Incumbent Siggi Henry didn’t respond to our emails.Siggi Henry

To many Hamiltonians shame, The Spinoff asked the country “Is Siggi Henry New Zealand’s most dangerous city councillor?” Let’s take a look at the evidence:

  • Before she was elected Siggi Henry successfully campaigned to remove fluoride from Hamilton’s water and promoted a myth that fluoridated water causes ADHD. This has caused untold damage to young people’s dental health. After she was elected she said “smarty pants” scientists have brainwashed the public over fluoride.
  • Cr Henry told a council briefing that many migrants didn’t know how to use toilets.
  • Cr Henry claimed in the council debating chamber that overweight people were a health risk because they could fall on you.
  • Cr Henry tried to cancel the free flu jabs for council workers. She then promoted to council workers a flyer called “Flu Shot Facts” that erroneously linked the flu shot with Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Cr Henry told the public that whooping cough doesn’t kill babies so there is no need to vaccinate against it. Tens of thousands of people die from whooping cough each year. This year there has been a sharp increase in the number of whooping cough cases in New Zealand. This is most likely related to the popularity of myths around vaccines and the disease, as promoted by public figures such as Cr Henry.
  • Despite promoting herself as an environmental activist, Cr Henry has actively thwarted programmes to protect biodiversity and native birds by campaigning against pest control. During her term as a councillor she illegally took her dog on to sensitive conservation land. She defended the practice by saying “in my heart I didn’t mean to do anything bad or wrong.”
  • Cr Henry’s public statements on measles include “Good on the Germans for finding out there is no measles virus!” and “What is wrong with getting measles??? Seems like the vaccine is much worse.”  New Zealand is going through a potentially deadly Measles outbreak which has been linked to declining vaccination rates. Measles kills more than half of NZ children with low immunity who contract it. 
  • Cr Henry publicly stated that “We have to stop the polio vaccine!!!” Polio has been eradicated here thanks to vaccines, but beforehand it killed and paralysed hundreds of people in Aotearoa.
  • Cr Henry claims her anti-vaccination views are as a private citizen, even though she promotes them in the debating chamber and when on council business at external events.
  • Cr Henry promotes beating children.
  • Cr Henry promotes the myth that vaccines cause autism. She upset a number of families by turning up to an autism awareness event as a council representative wearing an anti-vaccine t-shirt.
  • Cr Henry has allegedly denied the holocaust, a crime that could lead to five years imprisonment in her native Germany.
  • Cr Henry doesn’t have a mobility parking permit but has still parked her car badly in a disabled parking spots. When confronted by a journalist she said “I’m German. I hate being late.”

Siggi Henry shouldn’t be in a position of power and should have no place in public life. Her public statements are dangerous and will kill people. Make sure you are enrolled to vote at your current address and vote to ensure Siggi Henry doesn’t make it back in to council.

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