Melody sales@mangawhaifocus.co.nz 021454814
Nadia n.lewis@xtra.co.nz 021677978
Reporting: Julia news@mangawhaifocus.co.nz 0274641673
 Accounts: Richard info@mangawhaifocus.co.nz 021678358



First candidate meeting plays out to full house




5 Sept, 2022


thumbnail 17 MF-Candmeet1 copy-437As the local body elections shift into higher gear, brave Kaipara individuals are starting to personally front up to the community, laying out their views, principles and future ideas in a bid to win a seat at the council table and to effect change.

Mangawhai’s first ‘meet the candidates’ engagement attracted a full house to Mangawhai Community Centre [Citizens Hall, Fagan Place] on August 21, for an event organised by new social advocate group Unity in Community.

Four nominees attended – local mayoral candidate Craig Jepson, Maori ward representative Phillip Johnson and Mangawhai/Kaiwaka ward hopefuls Rachel Williams and Jonathan Larsen – with Mike Howard and Mike Ferguson offering their apologies. In their five to ten minute speeches, the candidates covered their views and answered questions on the major concerns currently facing Mangawhai including Three Waters, wastewater disposal, development and growth, council expenditure as well as changes they want to advocate and their future vision.

In outlining his bid for the chief seat, Jepson says the mayoral role has ‘quite a bit of control in terms of setting the agenda and driving change that we need’, and with some important cards on the table over the next three years such as legislated ‘government dictates’ like the RMA, Three Waters and requirements on councils, says ‘we need councillors with an attitude of serving the community first and foremost… the people at this table are excellent candidates’.

“We need a council that is run by its councillors through its CEO to the staff, not the other way around. I’d like to have control over the selection of the next CEO, who understands their role is to listen to the elected councillors who are representing their community,” he says. “The community also needs to have more say and to be heard.”

If successful, Jepson says as mayor he will seek a review of the staffing levels and expenditure of council, a statement which received applause from the floor.

“Today we have 214 council staff compared to 2015 when there was 65, I also do not support the prolific expending of feel-good or nice-to-have projects.” he says. “If elected, the one thing I’d like to be judged on after the three-year term, is that I’ve kept the council viable.”

Infrastructure is a major concern, ‘everyone has the right to have a reasonable road to their doorstep’ and ‘EcoCare is one of the most important local issues’. In a summary of Mangawhai’s waste water debacle and the impacts of the Mangawhai Central development, Jepson ‘took his hat off’ to community watchdog group Mangawhai Matters, Kaipara Concerns’ Clive Boonham and councillor Jonathan Larsen for their work on highlighting and debating the issue.

Questions from the floor included his stance on sandmining and representation for the entire Kaipara district not just of Mangawhai.

“I’ve visited Dargaville recently to engage with the community and hear their concerns… think we really have to get rid of the east and west thing,” Jepson says. “We need to work as communities and keep our democracy… and not be prone to government centralisation, I want our community to be doing a good job, standing up for itself and saying ‘go away we’ll do it on our own’.”

For the first time, Maori wards are part of local elections across the country, although according to ‘Vote 2022’, to vote for a Maori ward, a citizen must be listed on the Maori electoral roll. Standing Kaipara Maori ward candidate, Mangawhai local Phillip Johnson, says it is an opportunity to strengthen both Maori and community representation on council.

“We’re in a time of change. I’m hoping to bring some experience and knowledge from my work in the government sector to support Maori and Pakeha communities, to have a voice at the council table and to support the other nine councillors and the mayor with any project and issues we’ll identify going forward.”

Johnson’s iwi is Te Rawara and marae is Matihitihi. He currently works as a senior advisor in the Maori partnerships and communities team for Oranga Tamariki - Ministry of Children, has served in the New Zealand Army and is a committee member for The Mangawhai Club.

“If elected, I’d like to bring forward Maori views and aspirations, and contribute to decision-making which benefits everyone, Maori and the community in general, I welcome the opportunity to do that.”

One question from the floor directed to all candidates asked that in order to make a stand on behalf of the community, how can people support councillors, ‘especially when you’re being pushed into a tight corner’.

To answer, Larsen drew on his two-term experience, stating first it was a very important question ‘as it can be a lonely place being on council when you have big bureaucracy and central government pushing agendas’.

“What I’ve found helpful are the ratepayers associations and I’ve worked closely behind the scenes with Kaiwaka Can and Mangawhai Matters, who make submissions and dig into issues. There are some very talented and highly-educated people in our communities and I’ve been able to draw on their knowledge and experience which has made my job much easier and more effective,” he says. “If you want to support councillors, do exactly what you are doing today, engage, take an interest in democracy and elect good people who will listen to you.”

n Mangawhai/Kaiwaka Ward candidates outline their views and visions in the Mangawhai Matters column this issue. 


Candidates covered their views and answered questions on the major concerns currently facing Mangawhai including Three Waters, wastewater disposal, development and growth, and council expenditure. PHOTO/SUPPLIED


“We need a council that is run by its councillors through its CEO to the staff, not the other way around.

– Craig Jepson, mayoral candidate

The Mangawhai Focus is the only 'Mangawhai' community Newspaper and is the paper of choice within the local area.

For more information on distribution and circulation please 
click here



Contact Us





facebook   twitter   174855-378


Sales: 021 454814
Editorial: 027 4641673
Office: 021 678357