Squaring off for Central Ward

CHALLENGER: Linwood-Central-Heathcote Community Board deputy chairman Jake McLellan will look to secure the Central Ward seat at the city council and stand against incumbent Deon Swiggs.

Jake McLellan says the central city needs someone to listen to residents, not developers.

That’s one of the reasons why the Linwood-Central-Heathcote Community Board deputy chairman and full time Labour Party employee will stand against incumbent city councillor Deon Swiggs in the local body elections.

Mr McLellan, who will run for The People’s Choice, said the Central Ward needs a city councillor with strong and honest values.

“We need a councillor that’s staunch on saying no to asset sales that only help the big end of town but put your rates up long term,” he said.

“We need a councillor that’s willing to listen to communities not developers and say no to poorly planned, poorly designed, and poorly built in-fill.”

Public transport and stopping asset sales were also high on his priority list.

“As a community board member I’ve built strong relationships and worked with the community on issues like traffic safety in Addington, a Lime levy to take the burden off rate payers and help maintain our streets and footpaths, and the revitalisation of Linwood Village,” Mr McLellan said.

Cr Swiggs was elected to the city council in 2016, beating The People’s Choice candidate Vicki Tahau-Paton 1400 votes to 1051.

Deon Swiggs

It was the first time the seat could be contested.

He said would listen to all parties involved in any process.

“I listen to everyone to make informed decisions . . . I have listened to residents concerns about developments and have led work by council to investigate the affects the District Plan has on residents,” he said.

It is a tricky ward as there was a high number of transient residents, Cr Swiggs said.

“I’ve worked my backside off for three years . . . I want to keep going on the projects I’ve been working on.”

That included an alcohol ban for Linwood Village and the area’s revitalisation, work on the central city action plan, traffic on Manchester St, regenerating the Richmond area and working to address concerns residents’ concerns about short term accommodation like AirBnB.

But Cr Swiggs said he was “looking forward” to the election campaign.

“This is democracy and anyone can stand. I’m looking forward to good, robust debate about community issues.”

Cr Swiggs lived outside of the Central Ward last election, a block over in the Linwood Ward.

However, he is now set to move within the boundary.