Final three candidates for council seat

In May the community suffered a tragic loss with the death of beloved Howick Ward Councillor and Olympian Dick Quax. His passing left a vacancy on the Auckland council, prompting a by-election. Nominations closed last Wednesday and six declared they were standing. Last week we featured three candidates – Phil Taylor, Damian Light and Jim Donald. Today we bring you profiles of the other three. Voting documents will be posted to eligible voters from Wednesday, August 22, with voting closing at 12 noon on Thursday, September 13.

Olivia Montgomery

“I’m back! I am Olivia Montgomery and I have stepped up again for the opportunity to be a Howick Councillor. Since the previous local election nothing has stopped the passion and commitment I have for our community. I have been busy working with, and advocating for people with disabilities and accessibility issues. I run a harm reduction organisation focusing on delivering progressive education on drugs, sexual consent and mental health for young people. I continue to encourage the arts and perform with a number of local groups and have been working with residents on cleaning up beaches and holding residential developers accountable for waste. As Auckland is changing we need to be assured transparency on developments affecting our residents. Infrastructure needs improving, our storm drainage system needs to be assessed, public transport needs to be efficient and accessible, and our most vulnerable in the community need to be protectedMy commitment and involvement stands as a testament, I am invested in our community. I represent our community. A vote for me can assure you there will be transparency and accountability on our council and your opinions and concerns WILL be received.”

  • Olivia is 23 years old and works as an in-home carer. She is not a student as was previously printed in last week’s paper.

Jessica Collings 

Jessica Collings, 21, the daughter of Howick Local Board chairman David Collings, wants to stand on her own merits and would never take anything for granted. She hopes she will be able to convey her policies throughout the campaign and just asks that people consider them when voting.

A lot has been conveyed to Jessica from her father over the years. “I’ve had a lot of ear bashing from Dad about what council is doing or not doing, or how it’s wasting money on certain things,” she said.

“I also hate waste, I think everyone does. I think the council needs to be more efficient –  we shouldn’t have become a super city otherwise. I feel council needs to take heed of what the community want, listen to those who pay their wages and get back to core business.”

Again, Jessica is very aware of things, such as the fact that Howick, Pakuranga, Botany ratepayers pay almost $100 million annually. Jessica wants to see that more of this money is spent within our area instead of going to pet projects within Auckland. Important projects such as AMETI and sorting out traffic congestion has taken far too long and she will see the issues get action.

“Library, arts and aquatic facilities need to be developed within our growing community now, not later,” she said.

She also feels that councillors have let down the area through the introduction of things such as the Unitary Plan. Changes around Stockade Hill should never have been allowed to happen. “What were our councillors thinking? If we lose the view shaft, it will be a travesty for Howick and for visitors coming into the area,” she says.

She even has advice for her father and the local board should the view shaft be removed and that is that they should call for their own plan change to reinstate the zoning around the hill to what was in the former Manukau District Plan and Howick Borough Council plans prior to that.

Having lived her whole life in the area, Jessica has been very involved in everything from the local gymnastics club, dance, athletics club, netball etc and went to school within the ward “I feel lucky to live in such a great area, and look forward to the opportunity to give back and work to improve our community,” said Miss Collings

She has experience working in hospitality and retail, and enjoys and prides herself in the desire to deliver what people want. She is currently on an assignment to Camp America looking after and instilling life skills to a group of young people based in the California hills of the United States and looks forward to returning home shortly.

Paul Young

Paul Young came to New Zealand some 30 years ago and settled in Howick where he and his wife Rosana raised two children while he established a marketing, concert promotion and photographic business in Somerville.

At the last election when two councillors were elected for Howick, he came third behind the late Dick Quax and is now making a determined effort to fulfil a long-held ambition to represent the area and take the simple message to “City Hall” that the people of east Auckland should be able to travel easily between where they live, work, shop and play.

By sensible he means shuttle buses to take people from their own streets to bus or railway station transport hubs, so encouraging people to use public transport and, as for cost, the shuttles should be free which Mr. Young argues would be cheaper than building more roads and car parks.

On his other priority of law and order, he believes in a strong police presence in the community.

“We need to know that when we need them, the police will be there.”

He also wants great transparency of council business.