When Malcolm Page finished with the seventh highest number of votes for the Botany subdivision in the October election, he moved on.
“You’re in these things to win, but I knew it was a tough race and I put it behind me,” the Northpark resident says.
“But when the by-election came along, which was very disappointing I have to say, I looked again closely at those results and there wasn’t a lot in it, numbers wise.”
And so Mr Page is standing in this month’s by-election as an independent candidate and he appears just as determined as he was leading up to the October election.
“Not to throw my hat in the second time was not an option for me – that shows how serious I am,” he says.
Mr Page is again campaigning on his strong personal connection to the Botany area and his institutional knowledge of how Auckland Council and local boards work.
He has lived in the subdivision for about 17 years and spent more than 20 years working for Manukau City Council and Auckland Council servicing parks and recreation facilities in south and east Auckland.
He worked on policy strategy, planning and operations and was the hands-on local and sports parks south manager for Auckland Council when he left his job last year.
“So I know the area back to front. It’s my home; it’s where my passions lie. That’s one of the reasons I’m standing,” Mr Page says.
He says he left his Council job because he felt he had something to offer Botany in a decision-making role.
That hasn’t changed.
“I do think I have something to offer and a major contribution to make. Not just because I know how Council works…but also because of my attachment to the Botany area and I think I know what the issues are, what’s important to people and where I can make a difference.”
Mr Page says he has always been interested in local politics, but what really twigged his interest was working for Auckland Council for five years after it came along in November 2010.
He says he saw that the new local boards had the potential to be much more influential and he was fascinated with the way they worked and the way they were finding their feet.
Mr Page decided he wanted to be a part of that and still does.
“It does help to know how it works, how you get things done,” he says.
“Sitting across the other side of the table, I’ll know what questions to ask.”
Mr Page worked closely and regularly with local boards during those five years at Auckland Council and says he saw some boards succeed and some struggle.
He recognises that local boards have direct power and influence over some things and little-to-no direct control or power over others.
“Some of the major things aren’t under their direct control and that’s where they need to advocate and build relationships and get things done,” Mr Page says.
“Some of the big issues facing Botany are those where the board needs to push and advocate and get people on board.”
He says the three main focuses for Botany should be improving public transport options and connections, correctly managing growth in the area and achieving future-focused planning outcomes, and introducing more events and facilities to bring the many communities living in the subdivision together.
Mr Page will be hoping that this time around, the voters of the Botany subdivision agree with him and value his Council experience and local knowledge enough to put a tick next to his name.
By: Scott Yeoman