Anti-suburbia fighter

17:00, Aug 31 2010

SUPERCITY candidate Mike Lee believes Waiheke Island should have no more than 10,000 permanent residents to stop it turning into a "suburban sprawl nightmare".

Mr Lee has lived on Waiheke since 1972 and is standing as councillor for the Waitemata and Gulf Ward.

He says while people are always welcome to come to the island he doesn't want a "social engineering project".

"I am adamantly opposed to the idea of putting another 20,000 to 40,000 people on the island that was touted a few years back. If you want suburbia don't vote for me.

"I believe that in terms of permanent residents 10,000 should be the maximum.

"Anything over we should say absolutely no – that's just going to turn Waiheke into another suburban nightmare."

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Mr Lee believes he is the only candidate standing for the Waitemata and Gulf Ward councillor seat who knows Waiheke and the needs of the community.

Endorsed by the centre left City Vision ticket, Mr Lee is standing on "his own record".

A founding member of Forest and Bird on Waiheke Island in 1982 he was part of a core group that began the re-vegetation of Tiritiri Matangi Island.

As Auckland Regional Council parks chairman and later chairman of the regional council he worked towards securing Whakanewha as a regional park and protect it from becoming an airfield.

He also lobbied for rat eradication on Rakino, Motutapu and Rangitoto islands and helped secure the purchase of Kaikoura Island for conservation purposes.

He was elected chairman of the regional council in 2004 and worked to ensure rates increases were kept to a minimum. He also stopped Waiheke from being included in the public transport rateable area.

Mr Lee believes in sustainable development that enhances the unique qualities of the island. Waiheke development should be based on "quality not quantity", focusing on enhancing the environment.

He suggests urban renewal in the village and enhanced beautification and habitat repair around the island working in unison with the viticulture, arts and tourism industries.

He is not keen on the many blue signs around the island, saying the three signs at the Rocky Bay turnoff are "absolutely over-the-top".

Mr Lee says he does not want to discourage people from making the island a Unesco biosphere area but says he is concerned that only the land on Waiheke Island, not the sea, would be protected.

He feels the entire gulf should be protected under laws which "we develop and manage like the Hauraki Gulf Marine Park Act and the Resource Management Act", and that the island shouldn't pass control of its assets to others.

Mr Lee says the most important thing is that Waiheke residents "turn up and vote" because the more people who vote, the more say residents will ultimately have in their future.

Other candidates for the Waitemata and Gulf Ward are Janis Marler, Tenby Powell, Craig Thomas, Alex Swney and Rob Thomas.

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