Hamilton City, New Zealand

Melissa Smith

Kia ora tātou, ko Melissa toku ingoa. I envision Kirikiriroa with a modern transportation system, affordable housing, and a sustainable urban environment. With academic experience in mathematics and environmental planning, I bring a unique blend of analytical and socioeconomic thinking to the table.

I am running because I want the Council to give greater focus to transport, housing, and climate change. Kirikiriroa Hamilton will confront a range of serious issues in the coming years, and we need leaders who will make the brave decisions today so that our city can thrive tomorrow. My vision for Kirikiriroa Hamilton is a city with a modern transportation system, healthy and affordable housing, and a truly great urban environment.

As a City Councillor, I would push Council to move faster and harder on the important issues facing the city. I would bring a fresh, youthful voice with evidence-based ideas. Let’s bring our city forward.

Kirikiriroa Hamilton is one of the fastest growing cities in the country. We must plan critically for our expected population growth by ensuring that we have the right housing in the right places and that our new Hamiltonians do not generate an unsustainable amount of congestion in getting around. Therefore, I see transport and housing as the biggest issues facing Hamilton. Seemingly unimportant, these issues touch almost every aspect of our lives. It is the role of Council to prepare for these challenges with strong leadership and evidence-based policy.

To tackle these challenges, I would support investment in high-quality middle-density housing and alternative transport, such as cycling, walking, and public transport.

I am not a member or employee of any political party, and I am running as in Independent candidate.

In the interest of answering the spirit of the question, I voted for Labour (electorate vote) and the Greens (party vote) in the 2020 General Election. I will likely vote again for the Green, but I am also considering the Opportunities Party and Te Pati Maori.

There is no doubt that change is needed to guarantee safe drinking water for all New Zealanders, including Hamiltonians. I support reform, but there must be a clear governance structure that incorporates local representation and strong protection against privatisation. The structure also needs to guarantee that the new entities will not suffer the same challenges as territorial authorities in providing water services, such as debt limits. Nevertheless, transferring assets and debts to new entities provides an opportunity to free up funding for other critical infrastructure projects in Kirikiriroa.

I assume that this question is referring to Maori Wards. While only New Zealanders of Maori descent can vote in Maori wards, candidates of any background can stand.

The introduction of Maori wards to this election is a great reform, and I am looking forward to meeting our new Maori Counsellors. This is a great way of ensuring that Maori voices are heard and understood, which is a part of our obligations under Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

Absolutely. Co-governance is the least of our obligations under Te Tiriti o Waitangi. We must continue to govern with Maori to respect their voices, their concerns, and their understanding of the land.

Local government and central government have different responsibilities – for instance, central government is concerned with big picture issues, local government is focused on local issues, culture, and infrastructure – but both must continue to work collaboratively to benefit the people of Kirikiriroa and Aotearoa. For example, in working towards to Road to Zero, local governments can invest in safe transport infrastructure while central government can change laws around driving to encourage better behaviour.

At this stage, nothing comes to mind.

Local politics does not make its presence and value visible in the life of the everyday Hamiltonian. While local Council certainly plays an important part in city life, infrastructure projects – many things that people care a lot about – it is almost invisible. I believe Council can do more to engage citizens, especially young people, in the political process.

Councillors should be involved and familiar with the city and its issues. This is not necessarily mutually inclusive with living in Hamilton – for instance, many people who use local services may commute into Hamilton from our satellite towns. Those voices are also important to represent, especially as Hamilton grows into a large urban centre. For those reasons, candidates should not be restricted from running if they do not live in Hamilton. That being said, my personal preference when voting is that candidate normally reside in Hamilton.

I disagree with implementing term limits. If an elected member continues to be elected by the public, then I believe that they are entitled to continue serving.

However, incumbent candidates have an advantage so there must be a balancing factor to ensure that new candidates with new ideas have fair opportunity to run against long-serving incumbent candidates. I believe that government, both local and central, should provide funding to candidates to reduce the burden of campaigning.

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