De 'andere' kanshebbers: 10 Christchurch burgemeesters hoopvolle dingen waar je weinig over hoortoktober 3, 2019
Christchurch voters are spoilt for choice this election as 13 people have put their names forward to become the city’s mayor. Today, The Press council reporters TINA LAW and DOMINIC HARRIS profile 10 of the lesser-known candidates.
There are 13 people in this year’s mayoralty race in Christchurch, but 10 of those are not so well known.
A climate change sceptic, a security systems installer, a social housing advocate, a dog trainer and a man with “confidential” policies – these are the lesser-known candidates who want to be Christchurch’s next mayor.
The 10-strong group of men, aged from their early 30s into their late 70s, are a mix of first-time and perennial low-polling candidates.
They include someone who wants the people of Christchurch to be happy and another who wants to bring in gangs to remove chlorine and protect water wells.
All have paid their $200 nomination fee to join the race and have their policies heard – and while some admit they are unlikely to be successful, others insist they can do the job.
Anderson has proposed perhaps the most outlandish suggestion of the mayoral campaign so far – “I will use iwi and gangs to remove all chlorine and protect our water wells while we install UV treatment to secure our future”.
His adversarial approach saw him brand fellow candidate John Minto a “joker” and Lianne Dalziel a “fallen leader” during a debate in Burwood last week.
Then on Wednesday he was asked to leave a social housing debate hosted by the Tenants Protection Association after he allegedly abused a staff member for refusing to let him play a video apparently ridiculing other candidates.
It is not clear if Anderson is his real name – or what his first name is. While he is listed as Anderson on the official nominations register and his website, on social media he goes by JT Rutherford and says he is 37.
His website suggests he lives in Southshore, and the page has links to an online pawn business, cabin hire and an initiative supporting “cannabis entrepreneurs”.
Anderson’s policies are wide-ranging and appear at times contradictory.
Among them are proposals to pay back “in full” a “$2 billion loan” the council “owes”, to halve rates for those over 75, offer free buses to workers and students, offer home deposits, have the council pay off homeowners fighting for earthquake insurance money and offer free Wi-Fi.
It is not clear how these ideas would be paid for, however, as he would freeze rates and said there would be no asset sales.
Other policies include the council “rolling out” solar power over the next decade, investing in bio-fuel, planting one billion plants instead of trees to help tackle climate change, “coming down hard on child and animal abuse” and creating a “legal skid pad” for car enthusiasts – that would be backed by the police and have its carbon emissions offset.
Anderson vowed to remove chlorine from water supplies within seven days of becoming mayor and “prosecute whomever is to blame for this travesty”.
Asked online about this policy, he said he would be “bringing all gangs into [the council], having a sit-down meeting and offering them all [an] opportunity to work with us at council”.
Gangs should have cannabis licences “fast-tracked”, he suggested, “so they can earn money to help the war on meth” – and they will also be asked to provide lunches at primary schools.
Blair Anderson, 65, canine behaviorist from Dallington
Blair Anderson admits he does not expect to get elected as mayor, but insists he is a serious contender.
Anderson, a red zone stayer, has stood four times before, never winning more than 900 votes.
A long-time drug reform campaigner, he supports legalising cannabis. He wants to see light rail and four-lane roads enhanced. He is concerned about climate change and how the council will mitigate it.
As someone who has trained more than 2000 dogs in Christchurch, he wants dogs allowed on public transport and believes canines should help shape urban design and has lobbied for better facilities for dogs and their owners.
“A 5-year-old child with a dog is less obese than a 5-year-old without a dog.”
He has also put his name forward for the Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB).
Jim Glass, 78, former real estate agent from Merivale
Jim Glass is a first-time candidate and was spurred into action when the council declared a climate change emergency.
He wants the “nonsense” declaration rescinded.
“I could not believe they [the mayor and councillors] could be so dopey because there is no emergency for a start. Any remedy would not make the slightest bit of difference.”
Glass said there was no doubt there had been some change to the climate because of people’s activities, including removing trees, but it did not warrant “fiery hysteria”.
He wanted to downsize the office of the mayor “enormously”.
When we first asked Glass to describe himself in five words, he said “elderly, successful and very keen on intellectual environment”. He later emailed and ask it be changed to a family man with an interest in climate.
Tubby Hansen, 74, retired of Spreydon.
Tubby Hansen has been a regular feature on the local body election voting papers since the 1970s.
The reason he keeps standing is because “no-one was doing anything about the use of masers (devices that emit electromagnetic waves) against third party candidates”.
“It’s been going on for years.”
He wants more houses for single people and wants to build two bridges – one between Southshore and Ferrymead and another across the Avon at the end of Breezes Rd.
He wants to ban night classes from May to August because it is too tiring for people to attend in the colder months and wants the Antarctic programme moved to Invercargill.
“The Invercargill airport floods, get the Americans to rise it up.”
Despite never getting close to being elected Hansen believes it is possible and if it happens says he is equipped for the job.
“I know how to run the city. I’ve done book keeping at Xavier College. I did a tax consultant course.”
He would manage the workload by delegating as much as he could: “Bob Parker got burnt out burning the candle at both ends.”
He is also standing for the Spreydon Cashmere Community Board and the CDHB.
“I want to put an end to Saturday morning work too.”
Robin McCarthy, 63, bus tour owner from central Christchurch.
Under Robin McCarthy’s mayoral vision, every Christchurch resident over the age of 18 would pay a $200 “community charge” to spread the rates burden.
McCarthy believes the council has become bloated, and would drive change to make it more business-centric.
A former commercial pilot, he grew up on a South Canterbury high country station before spending decades in the tourism industry, most recently as owner of Mini Bus Tours.
A repeat candidate – he stood in 2001 and 2013 – his manifesto outlines 45 policies. They range from selling stakes in Christchurch Airport and Lyttelton Port and offering shares to residents, to forcing the stadium to be privately funded after giving the land to a developer.
McCarthy would refuse to obey “United Nations agenda policies”, and push through a bylaw banning donations to street beggars. He would have only “one personal assistant, one researcher and one media staff member” as mayor.
His key policies involve cutting debt by partly selling assets and heritage buildings and shedding council staff.
Asked why he should be mayor, he said: “I believe that you need someone who is entrepreneurial. You don’t want a management wonk.”.
Stephen McPaike, 34, a retail worker who lives in Linwood.
A single parent, Stephen McPaike was inspired to stand for the mayoralty after being flummoxed by his 6-year-old son during a stroll through central Christchurch.
“He kept asking, ‘Why is this site empty, why is this site empty?’.
“I thought then that the rebuild had slowed down and needs to be put into higher gear and quickly finished.”
McPaike, a former West Coaster, moved to Canterbury in 2010 to manage Domino’s pizza parlour in Rolleston, before working in a plastics factory and a supermarket.
A passionate advocate of improved social housing since being forced to live with bubble wrap on his windows to keep out the cold, McPaike wants energy-efficient heating put into homes while the council begins replacing older houses with newer units – a move the authority approved on Thursday.
He would also like a rates freeze, an audit, and greater investment into the “neglected villages” of Linwood and New Brighton.
“People just drive through, they don’t stop or shop there anymore.”
Parking in the CBD “needs to be sorted” to encourage the city centre’s revitalisation, while “embarrassing and unacceptable” horizontal infrastructure in the east must be fixed.
“If half of the stuff I’ve promised isn’t completed by the first term, I’m not running again.”
People might struggle to figure out who Sam Park is and what he stands for, but he says is “the best person in Christchurch for the mayor.”
He would not divulge his age, what he does for a job and which suburb he lives in. He said these were confidential, but did say he lived in the city’s west.
When asked about his policies, he said he wanted to “enhance citizens”, but what that meant and how he would to do it was, in his words, “confidential”.
He said he is originally from South Korea and has lived in Christchurch for about 25 years. Park stood in the general election in 2014.
When asked to send a photograph of himself, he sent a picture of a black beanie. When asked again, he sent one of a mannequin wearing a black beanie. “This is a sample of me,” he said, followed by a smiley face emoji.
We downloaded his mugshot from the council website.
Adrian-Cosmin Schonborn, 43, telecommunications technician from Hornby.
Adrian-Cosmin Schonborn wants people to be happy.
In Schonborn’s view, Christchurch’s cheery nature has been gradually eroded in the 14 years since he arrived in the city.
“Now everybody is fighting to pay their bills by the end of the week, everybody’s stressed out. You don’t see relaxed people any more.”
He is standing on the twin policies of safeguarding water supplies and improving mental health by “getting people together”.
Originally from Romania, he moved to New Zealand after working in Scotland to take up a job in the electronics industry. He has a partner and 4-year-old daughter.
Schonborn believes Christchurch’s water infrastructure has been neglected for too long, though he acknowledges the council’s recent efforts.
He says New Zealand has become too “corporate”, and feels people are less concerned about reducing rates than mental health and clean water.
Peter Wakeman, 59, a retired businessman from Merivale.
He describes himself as “enthusiastic and energetic”, but “enigmatic” might also be a suitable label for Peter Wakeman.
The 59-year-old last had a full-time job in 1991 but believes he is the right person to lead Christchurch.
Wakeman appears to have an unshakeable desire to hold public office. He ran for Christchurch’s mayoralty in 1998, 2007, 2010 and 2013 – when he stormed the stage and heckled Dalziel during her campaign launch – along with standing for Parliament three times and as Waimakariri mayor in 2010.
This time he’s casting his net wide, also aiming to be Fendalton councillor and for a spot on the CDHB.
Wakeman says he was a pilot for Singapore Airlines, ran tourist flights around the South Island, and had a short spell trying to sell massage equipment before retiring at 32.
Since then he says he has supported himself by being a “money manager” and through an inheritance. He divides his time between the occasional foray into politics through submissions to the Government and council on issues such as the Zero Carbon Bill and Christchurch’s water and playing bridge, going for walks, tending his garden and enjoying the occasional massage.
Wakeman believes the Government should “bail out” the council to protect its water supply against nitrates. To help reduce rates, he argues the council should stop spending on tourism.
Aaron White, 31, security systems installer from Linwood/Bromley.
A first-time candidate with no local body experience, Aaron White said he decided to stand because he was sick of broken promises from city leaders about the east.
“It’s been 10 years without anything really happening.”
One of his first priorities as mayor would be to get roading and infrastructure repaired in the east. He wanted to get the law working better to deter boy racers in the central city. He wanted the council to build more social houses and increase rates on vacant land to stimulate growth in the community and CBD.
“We need to find alternatives to cycle and bus lanes as they do more harm than good.”
He would bring a fresh look from the younger generation.