Why I think women say no to politics

In 2013, I watched the election campaign of father and son Nick and Paul Ravlich. I liked seeing people who weren’t politicians putting their hand up to make decisions for our city. Councillors always seemed the same and they certainly weren’t hanging out where I did, or making decisions congruent with my priorities. So, in 2016 I thought… ‘I’ll give it a go’ and stand as a Hamilton West candidate.

Apart from wanting to prove that you don’t have to be a rich old white man to be elected, I love this city and want to look after the things that are important to me and my family, like the environment, our community and arts and heritage. I saw local politics as a way of doing that. I changed my mind the day the nomination forms were available… there were lots of reasons – I’ll break them down.

Here are 10 reasons I think women don’t run for council

  1. It looks boring. Have you watched a council meeting?
  2. The vagueness of expected time commitment makes it hard for people with young families to decide if they can do it or not.
  3. We don’t have thousands of dollars to risk on a campaign.
  4. The job is one thing, but putting together a campaign and trying to sell ourselves to strangers is terrifying.
  5. Public speaking
  6. Being vilified in media, abused and threatened while doing ‘our job’. Particularly the stress on our family when this happens.
  7. The other councillors don’t look like ‘my kind of people’.
  8. Even if I do vote one way, the rest will vote against and I won’t be effective. What’s the point?
  9. I’m not sure I want to participate in a broken political system.
  10. Rinse and repeat.

Tomorrow I’ll be meeting with other women who want to change politics, and support other women to campaign in the election. Watch this space.

If you want to come along 10-12pm Saturday May 4th. YWCA Hamilton (Pembroke Street).

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Situation vacant: Female city councillor

Kelli from the Tron

Published first in Hamilton News 30 November 2018

Situation Vacant: Hamilton City Councillor.  Fixed term role starts October 2019.  Remuneration starts at $71,638.  Job description:  To represent and lead the community, set policies, make regulatory decisions and review council performance.  Preference: Female.

Women hold a mere 25% of the seats in our current city council.  Did you notice?  Probably not.  We’ve become used to our local government lacking diversity in gender, ethnicity and socio-economic background.  But, imagine how different the dynamics and decision-making process of a council that truly represented our city would be.  I’m not asking for quotas to achieve diversity, we don’t need them – but we do need to support more women to put their name forward for next year’s local elections.  Will you join me?

Are we lacking strong female community leaders?  Are we short on ambitious, strategic professional women?  Would Mums with young families prefer…

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Cycleways, infill, foamy rivers and the Tron express. Episode #130

Listen to the podcast www.bit.do/kellifromthetron

I read through some local news, before being joined by Paul Barlow for ‘our own political opinions’.

What makes a good campaign? Who sets the agenda? Does it even matter?

Music: the NEW track from Cheshire Grimm, the latest from Strangely Arousing and a tribute to dDub.

This Free FM show is supported by Hamilton Taxi’s so please show your thanks by flagging them when you need a taxi.

Listen to the podcast www.bit.do/kellifromthetron
or tune in to Free FM89.0 at 9am Saturday for the encore.
http://player.wizz.co.nz/freefm89/

Waikato Wahine: Louisa Higginson

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: In this special Anzac commemorative episode historian and author Jane Tolerton talks about the role of women in the war – before Kelli uncovers the story of Louisa Higginson, a Waikato nurse who paid her own way to London before signing up to serve in Malta and Egypt.

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/WaikatoWomen-LouisaHiggonson

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



Waikato wāhine: Eva Rickard

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: Eva Rickard worked tirelessly for land rights, social justice and for the government to honour Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

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/eva-rickard

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

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.

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.