TheStar Thursday July252019 4 NEWS news online at www.star.kiwi Race for Riccarton Ward ramps up • By Louis Day THE RACE to become the next city councillor for Riccarton is heating up. The People’s Choice have withdrawn one of their candidates from running for Environment Canterbury and thrown him in the now fourhorse race for the Riccarton Ward. The leftleaning political group has put forward union organiser and Catherine Chu John Connelly former pastor of Riccarton Baptist Church Anthony Rimell as their candidate. “I’m running because Riccarton is an amazing diverse community that deserves a progressive voice with a positive vision for Riccarton and Christchurch,” Mr Rimell said. This comes after city councillor Vicki Buck’s decision to not stand again caught The People’s Choice by surprise and left them RUNNING FOR OFFICE: Anthony Rimell has pulled out of the ECan race to stand for The People’s Choice in the city council’s Riccarton Ward. scrambling to find another candidate. The People’s Choice is making a major bid to win as many council seats as it can in the October local body elections. The group is fighting against possible sales of city councilowned assets. It’s main political opponent, centre-right group Independent Citizens is wanting to start a discussion around asset sales. Ms Buck is an independent city councillor, but is a former member of the Labour Party. She has previously spoken against asset sales which The People’s Choice would have been relying on during the next council’s term. The People’s Choice chairman Keir Leslie said a vote for Mr Rimell would contribute to preventing the sale of dividendgenerating assets. He joins Catherine Chu of Independent Citizens who was the only candidate to stand against Ms Buck before she announced she would not be running for re-election. Ms Chu questioned whether Mr Leslie fully understood the ins and outs of their policies. Peter Laloli “We have explained our policy time and time again and it is not what they [The People’s Choice] are making it out to be. We are open to exploring ideas in how we can ease the burden on ratepayers, some assets are completely off the table but we will consider some.” She welcomed Mr Rimell’s challenge. Mr Rimell will also join independents Peter Laloli and John Connelly in the race to become city councillor for Riccarton. Mr Laloli, a former Independent Citizens member, and Mr Connelly say their decision to run was prompted by Ms Buck’s decision to not stand for re-election. Time to ‘throw an axel in the works’ TIME FOR CHANGE: Former technical adviser to John Key, Axel Wilke has set his sights on a seat around the ECan table. • By Louis Day A FORMER technical adviser to John Key has announced he is running for Environment Canterbury in a bid to “throw an axel in the works.” Transport specialist Axel Wilke will contest the Christchurch Central-Ōhoko constituency in the October local body elections as an independent. Mr Wilke was appointed as technical adviser to Prime Minister Key’s New Zealand Cycle Trail which is a $100 million-plus project focused on creating cycle trails all over the country. He has never stood for election before. Mr Wilke said he was motivated to run due to concerns over the climate crisis. “What I really want to achieve is a step-change in public transport provision in Lan Pham getting our greenhouse gas emissions down,” he said. He is running a joint campaign with sitting ECan councillor Lan Pham in a bid to gain the two seats on the Christchurch Central- Ōhoko constituency. They will both run as independents. “We come from very different backgrounds, sure, but we absolutely share the belief that our environment is not, and nor should it be, a political football. The issues facing Canterbury require evidence-based decision making. This leaves no room for party politics and hidden agendas,” he said. Ms Pham was elected in 2016 and gained the fourthhighest number of votes of any local body candidate in New Zealand. She is a freshwater ecologist with a background in the notfor-profit and public sector.
• By Louis Day CITY COUNCILLORS James Gough and Aaron Keown have been labelled “opportunists” for voting against the salary of the city council’s new chief executive. Crs Gough and Keown were two of four city councillors to vote against the $495,000 salary for Dawn Baxendale, who will replace outgoing council chief executive Karleen Edwards. Mrs Baxendale, who is the outgoing Birmingham City Council chief executive, will be paid $80,000 more than Dr Edwards. But left-leaning political group The People’s Choice says the vocal opposition of Cr Gough, who is a member of the centre-right Independent Citizens group, and Cr Keown, who is an independent, since Mrs Baxendale’s appointment is inconsistent with the way they have voted in the past. They voted in favour of controversial former chief executive Tony Marryatt’s $68,000 pay rise in 2013. That took his pay packet to $535,529 and led to a backlash from the community. Crs Gough and Keown’s pre-election billboards were vandalised and plastered with stickers stating they had voted for the pay rise. Said The People’s Choice chairman Keir Leslie: “The way they have voted certainly doesn’t scream consistency. I think there is a degree of opportunism.” He suggested their decision to not support the appointment and salary of Mrs Baxendale was in a bid to gain voters. Cr Gough did not dispute this. “I would hope that my council decisions gain voters, because if they didn’t have the support of my community, then I’m probably in the wrong job. It’s the voters I answer to, not Mr Leslie,” said Cr Gough. He said he felt he was part of a council which made the wrong decision in granting Mr Marryatt a pay rise. news online at www.star.kiwi NEWS 5 Gough, Keown ‘opportunists’ James Gough Aaron Keown Cr Keown said he had learnt his lesson. He failed to gain re-election after supporting Mr Marryatt’s pay rise but was re-elected in 2016. “With protest groups and hate mail and everything when we did it in the past, I know to listen to the public and they were not happy,” he said. Mr Leslie said he also found it inconsistent that Cr Gough cautioned against reducing councillor salaries but voted against the salary of the new chief executive. Cr Gough previously told TheStar salaries would be a factor in attracting high-quality Keir Leslie councillors. Said Mr Leslie: “It seems a bit funny that when it comes to his pay packet, there is a strong stance that pay has an indication on quality there, but on other people’s he takes a different view.” Cr Gough did not see this as inconsistent. “It would be [inconsistent] if a councillor’s salary was set at a pay rate 500 per cent above what it currently is and if it was negotiated by the councillor instead of being set independently by the Remuneration Authority,” he said. •Opinion, page 17 Thursday July252019TheStar Grieving father to stand for CDHB • By Georgia O’Connor- Harding FOR NEARLY two years Geoff Booth has been battling to seek answers from health authorities after losing his 21-year-old son Liam to a suspected suicide. Now he will be running for the Canterbury District Health Board elections in October in a bid to focus on mental health Geoff Booth and raise awareness on suicide. “If I can’t change it (the health system) from the outside maybe I can change it from the inside,” Mr Booth said. He said if he can stop one young person from doing what Liam did, he will have done a good job. In October 2017, Mr Booth laid a complaint with the CDHB after Liam was found dead in Beckenham Park, near his flat, on October 2. The case is still before the coroner. Over the next month Mr Booth will lodge a formal complaint with the Health and Disability Commissioner. 1Occ 7 MARCH LINCOLN 3 CG EVENTS presents ZED MIDGE URE Tickets On Sale Now www.selwynsounds.co.nz The voice of ULTRAVOX THE MOCKERS JED PARSONS AUTOMATIC 80s Southern Response Customers who settled before 1 October 2014 don’t need to join a class action and pay 17.5% to 27.5% + gst? We will fund your claim for FREE if you sign up before 23 July2019* *Free offer is for clients who sign with us prior to 23 July2019. Fee of 10% + gst applies after 23 July2019. Claims Resolution Service Ltd Ph: 03 377 8855 | 130 Ferry Road, Christchurch E: firstname.lastname@example.org | W: www.earthquakeservices.co.nz NO WIN NO FEE