Julie Engelbretsen
March 2002

Julie Englebretsen Click here for Julie's Home Page!

Well the challenge of being a local body politician is hitting home for me. The recent appointment of the four Ward Committees and their respective city councillors came about through processes that I could see no democratic merit in. The four Ward Committees were voted on in blocks of 5 names without discussion of each person. Cr Ray Wallace insisted the names were a result of a straw poll he had conducted but many Councillors would tell you they weren't involved in it nor were they aware a conversation with him indicated a straw poll was being entered into.

A shock on the night was Mayor Terris's proposal, which was accepted by the majority vote that rules our Council, that the City Councillor appointed to each Ward be one from outside the Ward. Essentially sidelining Cr Margaret Cousins, Cr Scott Dalziell and myself. Interestingly, we are the opposition minority on Council, with the three independent Crs usually voting with the City Vision block vote.

I would like to sincerely welcome Shayne McIntyre, Sylvia Stevenson, Athol Greentree and Fred Allen to the Northern Ward Committee, I am pleased to be the alternate City Councillor without a vote at its meetings but able to sit at the table and take part in discussions - a position I had to fight for. Cr Joy Baird of the Harbour Ward was appointed. Nothing personal, Joy, but I do not agree with Mayor Terris's reasons for appointing a councillor outside the ward. Cr Finlayson (Northern Ward) is a member of the Western Ward Committee?

With the shock resignation of Tata Parata just prior to the first Northern Ward Committee meeting at Koraunui Marae, we now have a vacancy. Watch the process with interest. Will there be gerrymandering? There are three possibles: Steve Ritchie, Audrey Misipeka and Peter Pedersen. I wonder whether the Mayor will try to reopen nominations and maybe tag it as a Maori position? Wouldn't that be reverse racism.......? By rights the appointment should be a Stokes Valley person in order to keep the committee balanced in terms of representation.

So much of what has gone on recently gives even stronger reasons to press for Community Boards across the city, voted for by the people.

On Saturday last I observed a meeting which was a follow-up on the research project; Taita/Pomare Needs Analysis. It is great that Council has agreed to take this one step further. This meeting was well attended by a diverse group of locals. Some interesting issues came out of that meeting. Once the report is released I will comment further.

Have you noticed how rough the rail corridor looks from Pomare Station to the power substation? Council cannot work behind the fence? I would like to organise a working bee to clean up that area. There are some young trees coming away that would benefit from the area being weeded regularly. It also would require some topsoil to even it up. The area where the buses used to turn around is currently looked after by Keep Hutt City Beautiful - doesn't look very pretty to me. There are plans afoot for that area to be taken over by a commercial operation for Tag War Games.

The annual plan is coming up for negotiation and debate in a new format which will cover a period of three years, any input from residents would be appreciated There are some quite contentious issues: Walter Nash Stadium, Hutt Park, relocating the War Memorial Library, surfacing Williams Park tennis courts, Naenae Shopping Centre revamp, BBQs for Speldhurst Park, $200,000.00 to beautify Stokes Valley entrance. I would urge you to have your say when submissions are called for.

I am currently trying to get another entranceway to the historic walkway above Horeaka St opposite Maru Street. It is great to see tenders have been called for School Kea crossings, and the Eastern Hutt Rd project that will give the residents a safer entrance to their property and enable the gap in the road to be closed.

This week I intend to touch base with the new group that has taken over the Pomare Community House to get a feel for how they are going. Coming up will be helping the Taita Trust negotiate getting the Taita Community Hall back in the community's hands.

I am enjoying the challenge that a newly elected City Councillor takes on. I would like to hear from you if you have any queries or concerns I could help with.

Thank you

Cr Julie Englebretsen
Manuka Cottage
Ph: 563-5179