Waikato wāhine: Adele Younghusband

Telling Stories: Waikato Wāhine is an exploration into the lives of trailblazing Waikato women. Over five weeks I will tell the stories of a politician, businesswomen, artist, activist and Te Ao Maori leader.

This week: Adele Younghusband was a photographer, artist and arts advocate who led a fascinating life – making her mark in the Waikato, Whangarei and Auckland.

Telling Stories: Waikato Wāhine airs 5pm Tuesday on Free FM 89.0;
 live streamed via the Access Internet Radio NZ app, via TuneIn or from freefm.org.nz

or listen to the podcast right now via this link
http://bit.do/WaikatoWahine-AdeleYounghusband

This Free FM series is supported by the Ministry for Women, New Zealand Suffrage 125 community fund and Browsers Bookshop in Hamilton.

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The good, the bad and the ugly of local politics this week.

Paul Barlow aka Paul the Other One joined me on Kelli from the Tron this week, for our monthly political korero – and what a month it was! We discussed the importance of researching candidates before voting; how to fire an elected member (spoiler alert you have to wait until election time) and if the role of councillor is a full time job. #WhatDoTheyEvenDo?

Listen to the Free FM89.0 podcast here. With thanks to our sponsor
Hamilton Taxis! for their ongoing support of Free FM. (Hamilton Taxi’s views are not necessarily the same as those shared on this show… obviously).

The first week of April started with what can only be described as a “sh*t storm” with national media interest in the actions and views of two of our city councillors James Casson and Siggi Henry.

If you missed it – Two Hamilton city councillors spark outrage

During the past month Paula Southgate (current east ward Councillor) announced her intention to run for mayoralty. She joined me on the show last week. It was at the same time as a National remembrance service in Christchurch so we decided not to focus on politics, but on inclusive and supported communities. Have a listen to that interview here.

Meleane Burgess announced her intention to run for an East ward seat. As a new candidate (though ran in the by-election last year) I encourage you to follow her Facebook page for updates so you can make an informed vote this October. Read more: Founder of Waikato Pacific Business Network to stand for Hamilton City Council.

Because two councillors managed to make the whole city look bad, I invited elected members to send in a few words about things we can be proud of this week. Because believe me, there is more good than bad – it just doesn’t get the media coverage.

Ryan Hamilton Great to connect with the Rototuna residents last week as multiple parts of council came together to hear from the community and to show parts of the organisation that don’t often get much visibility and to set a new and refreshing standard and means of engaging better with our people in the grassroots of their community (and of course being replicated for Peacockes at the Glenview Wananga today).

Dave Mac Over the last few days I’ve posted several critical thoughts on social media comments by Councillor James Casson regarding the Christchurch terrorist massacre and issues flowing from that.
While I can’t take back what I’ve said – and nor can James – we’ve met face to face today at my initiative, and talked through most of the issues. 
I can see that James is trying to make amends for hurt that he’s caused, and I want us both to be able to move forwards, as we both have plenty of work to do as city councillors. At my own initiative, I’ve therefore deleted my posts relating to James’ comments, to avoid making things worse for him and the Council, who have copped a lot of criticism as well.
I look forward to all of us learning from the conditions and circumstances that led to the Christchurch massacre, and all of us doing our bit to make sure something like that never happens again.

Siggi Henry  I just got some great news yesterday after pushing for two years to have recycling bins installed at Claudelands Event Centre. It’s happening.

Mark Bunting Something we can be proud of is the great work our staff have put into our ‘Play Strategy’. It is a clear vision of how we become a more playful city, how we can enjoy living in Hamilton more and make transport, the arts, our parks, our sports grounds and even our waste and waters more enjoyable for Hamiltonians. It is extremely cool, and I’d love to show it to you. I also think this week’s speed management plan is fantastic, but I have it on good authority that some media commentators might find that ‘boring’! Lol! 

Martin Gallagher. “Wednesday night’s Peacocke and Southeast Hamilton Open Day was an outstanding example of the way our Council and our community can come together and learn from each other.

I was delighted to be there with close to 1000 Hamiltonians, all keen to find out more about what the Council is doing to enable a new neighbourhood in Peacocke. We’ve talked about growth in Peacocke for decades, but now it’s happening. We had 50 staff and partner agency representatives involved at Te Waananga o Aotearoa in Glenview and I have to say they did a wonderful job. They answered hundreds and hundreds of questions about everything from the new bridge over the Waikato River to bus services, roundabouts and what we’re doing to look after our critically endangered long-tail bats”.

Paula Southgate. “I’m happy to be talking about biodiversity in cities at the Waikato Show tomorrow. I’m also pleased about a successful vote to keep the iSite open …even if it has to move”.

Angela O’Leary “The Meteor celebrating their 5th birthday soon, our new approach to engagement with our Peacocke and Rototuna Open Days, the new Play Strategy, Western Town Belt plan, the next stage of Ham Gardens development, our new sustainability strategy, the new fenced dog park”.

SEE!! It’s not all bad! Let me know if you think THAT should be a regular segment of the show.

One last thing… Electioneering Women Wanted.
Women interested in putting their hand up to run in the local elections this year, are welcome to attend a free workshop on campaigning / networking opportunity. Email me politicsinthetron@gmail.com if you have questions about the event or want to RSVP. We’re also interested in women who want to come along to support new candidates. Join the event on facebook for updates.

Ma te wa e hoa maa. Kelli from the Tron airs at 10am every Friday on Free FM89.0.

Waikato Wahine: Mary Innes

Telling Stories: Waikato Wāhine is an exploration into the lives of trailblazing Waikato women. Over five weeks I will tell the stories of a politician, businesswomen, artist, activist and Te Ao Maori leader.

Podcast link http://bit.do/WaikatoWahine-MaryInnes

This week: Mary Innes was one of Hamilton’s first businesswomen – she saved two breweries from bankruptcy and passed on a business legacy for her sons and the city.

Telling Stories: Waikato Wāhine is on throughout April on Free FM 89.0 at 5pm 📲 live streamed via the Access Internet Radio NZ app, via TuneIn or from freefm.org.nz

or listen to the podcast right now via this link
http://bit.do/WaikatoWahine-MaryInnes

This Free FM series is supported by the Ministry for Women, New Zealand Suffrage 125 community fund and Browsers Bookshop in Hamilton.

Waikato wāhine: Hilda Ross

Telling Stories: Waikato Wāhine is an exploration into the lives of trailblazing Waikato women. Over five weeks I will tell the stories of a politician, businesswomen, artist, activist and Te Ao Maori leader.

This week: Dame Hilda Ross was Hamilton’s first politician – a National Party MP known for lecturing parents, I looked into her story to find why she was so influential, well liked and what we can learn from her story.

Telling Stories: Waikato Wāhine debuts today on Free FM 89.0 at 5pm
📲 live streamed via the Access Internet Radio NZ app, via TuneIn or from freefm.org.nz

or listen to the podcast right now via this link
http://bit.do/WaikatoWahine-DameHildaRoss

This Free FM series is supported by the Ministry for Women, New Zealand Suffrage 125 community fund and Browsers Bookshop in Hamilton.

What will it take for us to panic? Call to action

<Published first in the Hamilton News 8 February 2019>

If we smell smoke, we have a quick look around the house and if nothing is out of order, go back to what we were doing.  There’s no perceived need to panic.  If the smoke alarm goes off and we see smoke or flames, we evacuate and call emergency services.  We are aware of the danger, and act to minimise loss of life and property.  We panic. 

Greta Thunberg a 16 year old Swedish climate activist, told leaders at Davos last week that she wants us to panic in response to the danger we are facing with climate change.  Lately I too have been wondering why we are so complacent when it comes to the biggest threat that modern humans have faced.  The science is overwhelming, the timeline to act is narrowing – the smoke alarm has gone off and yet we still aren’t panicking, some of us aren’t even looking up. 

When it comes to climate action many of us do nothing more than sign the odd petition, nod in agreement with David Attenborough and leave it to those with economic or political interests to fumble around for solutions that won’t impact their bottom line.  A process that is taking too long and falling far short of what is required.    

Climate change is already happening, D-day is getting closer.  In fact, the world’s leading climate scientists have given us 12 years to limit a catastrophe when life as we know it won’t be possible.  Doesn’t that worry you?  Climate change isn’t just about sunny days and warmer summer swims, it’s loss of ecosystems, frequent devastating storms and droughts, the inability to produce enough food and urupa falling into the ocean.  Why would you let the house burn down if you could lessen the damage by not leaving your cooking unattended?    

What will it take for more of us to be assertive and demand real change?  When will acts of civil disobedience take over from the polite yet ineffective acts we currently do to make ourselves feel like we’re part of the solution?  I like to keep hope as much as the next person; I like to sign petitions and make submissions, but we have to do more.  How will we look our children in the eye when they ask why we ignored the alarm?

Youth are taking climate action in Kirikiriroa on March 15th alongside tens of thousands of others around the world. Join us!

Time to decrease election spending limits

Just for fun, a colleague and I trawled through the electoral expenses declared by Hamilton city council candidates in 2016.  One thing was clear.  It’s a rich mans game.  Literally.  Only 20% of the players are women and the average election spend is $5000. That’s $5000 you’ll need to put on the table to play.  It’s a months income for most homes in Hamilton.  Do you have that much to lose?  I don’t.  It means not everyone can play, and the outcome contributes to an out of touch council.  

With my rough calculation, given the number of candidates who put their name forward there is a 20% chance being elected.  Can your household risk that money if you don’t get in?  When I think of the average Hamiltonian statistically, they are in their 30’s with a young family and more focused on making sure they can eat, pay the rent and buy school uniforms.  It’s hard to justify gambling thousands even if you had access to it.  Why am I likening an election campaign to gambling?  Well, because when you look at candidates, and the results – there is a huge element of luck, and no clear way of knowing who will win a seat.  Does it matter if only those with money can afford to put their name forward?  Of course it does.  How well can elected members represent residents if the life they live is so different to the people they make decisions for?  If you can risk thousands as a candidate, and if successful are then on a $70,000 a year job – you might quickly forget what its like to struggle to find the money for bills.  Enter a 9% increase to our rates bill.  That decision ignores the reality for most Hamiltonians.  If I hear one more councillor tell me rates are good value, compared to the same we pay for electricity I’ll lose my mind.  All I care about is that I now have less money for other bills, probably food.  It’s an example of elected members being out of touch.  The limits for election spending are based on population. For Hamilton West it’s $40,000 for Hamilton East $50,000, the mayoralty is $60,000.

We need Councillors from all walks of life.  The spending limits set by central government for elections need to be decreased.

  • Of course there are examples of candidates who didn’t spend that much. Max Coyle was very close, paying only the $200 nomination fee. James Casson, spent $700 and was successful. Geoff Taylor was a big spender at $32,000.