Nominations have (finally) opened for people wanting to represent our communities in local government. In this episode we are joined by Dan Armstrong, who announced his election campaign for a Waipa-King country seat at the Waikato Regional Council. We talk about his motivations, what he sees the opportunities (and challenges) for the region are, and what he has to offer. Have a listen – and follow his page for updates on his campaign. (Note: if you are a Hamilton resident, you can’t vote for him -but you can support him by sharing his page with people you know in that region). You’ll hear more from him in the upcoming Seed Waikato “Let’s give a shit about local politics” event.
As well as a chat with Dan, we are joined by Mukuka – a local singer songwriter who released a new single on Friday! “Time + Space” is the first single from her EP Autumn. We chat about what she’s been up to since “Just Fine” which as it happens was one of the songs I shared on the first episode of Kelli from the Tron! Mukuka uses her music to celebrate and explore her heritage. As well as sharing Mukuka’s new track, we’ve got the new one from Date Month Year – “Haunted” and it really is. Check out the video for that track.
On the first Friday of every month Paul (the other one) Barlow joins me on Free FM to recap the month in city politics. We talk about the players, the game and the issues. In this podcast (from 17min) we round-up the candidates who have announced their intention to campaign in the upcoming election. Candidates for Hamilton East have been coming through thick and fast (and I’m excited by them all!) – West and Regional Council a bit slower – but hey, its over a month until nominations actually open (July 12th).
If you’re specifically interested in finding out more about the women campaigning – and want to support them – Political Women Waikato.
In terms of our city’s low voter turnout and lack of diversity, its been exciting to see new and diverse faces announce. Which took us to talking about diversity, and what “f##k the status quo” actually means.
About 25% of women in Aotearoa have had an abortion, yet we don’t talk about it and it still comes under the Crimes Act.
In this Free FM podcast I speak to Terry Belamak from ALRANZ (Abortion law reform). I ask why this matters (human rights), the current process to access abortion in NZ, whether there is equal access across New Zealand and the process to change a 40 year old law.
In this podcast I wrap up the week in local political news (Hamilton NZ). Have a listen or check out the summary below…..
grey wall of shame is about to get a make-over (at long last). The $100,000 price-tag will be fundraised by
Beyond Tomorrow Trust – who we don’t know much about except that Councillor
Ryan Hamilton is a trustee. According to
the Charities register the purpose of the trust was religion and education… regardless,
I look forward to the design being one that recognises the cultural significance
of that site for Maaori.
Go Eco presented their ‘State of the Environment’ report which included a presentation by a Hillcrest High Student – who is a first time voter this year – asking for urgency in response to the climate crisis. He’s involved in the School strikes for climate movement who you can find out more about here.
However, it was the attempt
by Mayor Andrew to censor a couple of paragraphs of the report that attracted
nationwide media coverage. You can watch
the live streamed video
of the meeting here. In my opinion,
councillors who were uncomfortable over words like ‘colonisation’, ‘privilege’,
‘pakeha’ or ‘oppression’ need to start reading history books, getting out into
the community they claim to represent and need to reflect rather than get
defensive and upset about facts presented.
We’ve got to acknowledge the problem before we can find workable
Friday the 17th
was the last day to send in a submission to the Gambling Commission to oppose Sky
City swapping three blackjack tables for 63 pokie machines.
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
It looks boring. Have you watched a council meeting?
The vagueness of expected time commitment makes it hard for people with young families to decide if they can do it or not.
We don’t have thousands of dollars to risk on a campaign.
The job is one thing, but putting together a campaign and trying to sell ourselves to strangers is terrifying.
Being vilified in media, abused and threatened while doing ‘our job’. Particularly the stress on our family when this happens.
The other councillors don’t look like ‘my kind of people’.
Even if I do vote one way, the rest will vote against and I won’t be effective. What’s the point?
I’m not sure I want to participate in a broken political system.
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).
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
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.