Council rookies reflect on contribution

BY KRIS DANDO
Last updated 11:18 05/02/2013

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Not all five of Porirua's first-term city councillors are expected to seek re-election in October. Reflecting on their time on council, they spoke with KRIS DANDO .

Anita Baker from the northern ward has relished her first stint around the council table.

The only councillor who lives in Whitby, she has been an advocate for the suburb's issues, along with sewage reticulation in Pauatahanui.

"I've realised early on that there's only so much money to go around, so you can't win everything.

"It can be frustrating but you can't keep everyone happy all the time."

Ms Baker has attended as many public events as possible, along with her council meetings, an attitude she will maintain if she retains her seat.

She is not taking a bright first term for granted, with all three Porirua wards having one fewer councillor for the elections in October.

As for "super-city" considerations, she has not thought too far ahead, but whatever happens, she says she is dedicated to being "community-based".

Wayne Poutoa is sitting on the fence. A strong voice in eastern Porirua and for youth, he is concerned for the future of Porirua's council under a super-city arrangement.

"I will always be involved in my community; that won't change. But I have no interest in [super-city deliberations] whatsoever. So, do I want to be a councillor if so much will change next year or the year after? That's a very good question and something I have to think about with my family."

Mr Poutoa says his first term on PCC has been a "treasured" learning experience; seeing how a council works from the inside with risk, finances and operations to consider.

Bronwyn Kropp, PCC's youngest councillor, is keen for a tilt at retaining her northern ward seat.

She has enjoyed the juggle of studies and council duties, and feels it would be "a waste of all that learning" if she didn't stand again. Ms Kropp has high expectations of herself.

"It's been both terrifying and exciting to be involved but I feel I am giving a voice for young people on council. I also want to push our focus on infrastructure and good utilities - we can't lose sight of that, as well as the environment."

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Faafoi Seiuli will put his name forward again after an "eye-opening" first term.

"I'm still learning, the council jargon doesn't come easily to me.

"I'm getting more confident with speaking and understanding the processes from amazing people like Nick [Leggett], Litea [Ah Hoi] and Ken [Douglas].

"At the end of the day, though, it's not about me - I'm standing for other people's values," he said.

Mr Seiuli is pushing for an Ascot Park residents' association and he wants to be a voice for young and old in Porirua.

He is modest about his chances, even though some of his eastern ward colleagues may not be standing. Whether it be him or others, he just wants to see his ward represented by the best people.

'Ana Coffey is committed to holding on to a seat in the western ward. She says she is "not sold either way" on a super city but wants to be involved in any discussions.

She has enjoyed being an advocate for families around the council table, helping to increase engagement through social media, and is looking forward to the city centre upgrade taking shape next triennium.

"I've met some very cool people and got to know how Porirua works, the different views and values is something I love hearing."

- Kapi-Mana News

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