Who to vote for?

For many years, Axel has compiled voting recommendations as he’s politically interested. The only difference is that he is, for the first time, a candidate himself.

Table of contents


Many people would like to exercise their democratic right but beyond the mayor, many voters simply don’t know who the candidates are and what they stand for. All candidates provide a political statement, but words are cheap; to him, actions speak much louder than words.

Axel Wilke

What you can read below isn’t from “The Common Good”, it’s not Axel and Lan’s policy, but it is Axel’s personal reflection. If your values align with Axel’s, you could consider the following recommendations.

How to vote

[Added on 10 October]. If you have yet to vote, you need to physically drop your voting form off at one of the city council offices or one of their libraries. This has to be done by 12 noon on Saturday (12 October). Only voting forms received by that deadline will be counted. Posting your form back is now too late; it won’t get there on time.

Please note that if you don’t want to vote in one of the elections (your community board, say) then you can just leave that part of your voting paper blank. If there are two positions available but you are sure about one candidate only, then vote just for that candidate. The most important thing is that you vote at all in the election; it’s perfectly fine to not vote for every single position that is available.

Christchurch mayoralty

The Christchurch mayoralty is an interesting race and rather than a simple and straight recommendation, Axel shall give you some context and advice on strategic voting. Knocking on people’s doors, you certainly get the sense that there is an appetite for change. That’s at least true in the more conservative parts of town where he has done most of his door-knocking. There are 13 candidates for mayor, and 10 of them will have nothing to do with the outcome of the election. Three of them are likely to get double-digit (or at least near double-digit) results: Lianne Dalziel as the incumbent, Darryll Park as the main challenger, and John Minto.

At the last election, there were three candidates: Dalziel, Minto, and perennial candidate Tubby Hansen (who has stood in every election since 1971!). In 2016, both serious candidates were on the left side of the political spectrum and Dalziel got 84% of the vote, with 15% going to Minto. Their votes this time are likely to have similar proportionality. In other words, Minto will trail Dalziel by a large margin.

Therefore, the mayoralty will be decided between Dalziel and Park. Axel suspects it will be a tight race (but is glad to read in The Star that their, albeit unscientific, poll has Dalziell in a clear lead). And he predicts that the mayoralty will be decided by how many people will vote for Minto. How come?

If you want Park to win, vote for Park. If you favour Minto’s policies, then vote for Dalziel. If you vote for Minto, you will split the vote on the left. If enough people do that, Park will win. In other words, a vote for Minto will help Park get the mayoralty.

There is no way Park should ever become mayor. The two most compelling reasons, for Axel, are these: Point one, he is either a climate science denier or so disinterested that he does not even have the most basic understanding (whichever it is, either is totally unacceptable). Point two, he thinks that being mayor is like being the chair of a company board, and nothing could be further from the truth. The skills required are entirely different and Park doesn’t even start to understand that this is his major shortcoming. Should Park become mayor, it will result in a worse and more dysfunctional council than what we had under Bob Parker. What we had under Parker was bad, but at least he had a local government background.

Lianne Dalziel for mayor is the only sane choice.

Christchurch city councillors

There are 16 wards in Christchurch and each ward will elect one representative as their city councillor.

Banks Peninsula

Andrew Turner (neither of the two candidates seems to be any good in responding to the various surveys but with the incumbent, we at least know his voting record)


Glenn Livingstone (has done a good enough job during the last three terms)


Tim Scandrett (has represented his community well and makes sound decisions)


James Daniel (note this has changed upon some feedback from people who live out East)


This is the most difficult one. Until I became aware of the allegations against the incumbent, it was a very straightforward matter, as Deon Swiggs has done a fine job. In fact, we’ve worked closely on a few issues. But now we are having those allegations and that changes everything. The Press issued an update on the situation on 3 October and we learn that a full investigation will be launched.

If you are in the Central ward, there are options for you:

  1. You could adhere to the principle of “innocent until proven guilty” and therefore go with Deon Swiggs.
  2. If you don’t want to go with the incumbent, my recommendation is to vote for Clive Antony.


Jamie Gough (the incumbent)


Anne Galloway (good enough track record during her first term)


Scott Franicevic (I’ve got a lot more time for the incumbent than most people but some of his decisions really grate with me.) 


Sara Templeton (one of my easiest decisions; she’s got a superb track record)


Jimmy Chen (The incumbent has an alright track record and is much preferable over somebody who does not see the climate emergency for what it is.)


Mark Wilson (I’ve done a lot of work with Mark since the beginning of the year and he is deeply embedded in his community.)


Yani Johanson (Has done an ok job.)


Mike Davidson (Another very easy choice; top performer on council.)


Anthony Rimell (This is a strategic decision at my end as my personal preference is someone who won’t stand a chance of winning, so it’s best to go with Anthony who has a good chance of coming out on top.)


Melanie Coker (clearly the best of the lot)


Zahra Hussaini (has much more solid policies than her challenger)

Christchurch community boards

Due to a huge workload, Axel simply could not devote the time that is needed to do a proper assessment. So for the community boards, the list below was crowd-sourced via Google Docs that anybody was able to edit. Axel looked at it once or twice a day, and if after a cursory check he agreed, he transferred the recommendations to this article; this process is now closed. His expectation is that chosen candidates reflect his values.

There are 16 wards in Christchurch and with the exception of Banks Peninsula, each ward will elect two representatives as their city community board members.

Banks Peninsula

Akaroa Subdivision (2 required)

Lyttelton Subdivision (2 required)


Wairewa Subdivision (1 required)

Marcus Puentener: He was involved for many years in organising big community music events before moving to Little River where he now organises the drum festival on his land which is also a nature reserve. He is a strong community advocate, visionary thinker and environmentalist. He has always been respectful and endeavoured to be very fair to everyone. A great communicator.

Mount Herbert Subdivision (2 required)

Only one person (Howard Needham) put a nomination forward and he has been declared elected unopposed. There will be a by-election held to fill the vacancy.


Bebe Frayle and Greg Sugrue: Both good people with solid values and who work hard and quietly in their areas. Both really concerned about the environment and doing something about tackling climate change.


Lee Sampson: have consistently heard good things about him. One of those boards where you might want to consider casting one vote only.


Simone Pearson: Axel regards her as the stand-out candidate, much like Sara Templeton six years ago. One term of community board and then she’ll be on the city council.


Cathy Sweet: Strong community advocate. Will be cooperative on the board and good at getting consensus and working with people with diverse views while still standing for the environment and the interests of the local people.




Ross McFarlane and Andrei Moore and Adele Geradts: Sorry, that’s three recommendations for two positions (you decide). The first two are recommended by someone who is in the know. The latter is a champion for the environment, appropriate decision making and social justice.


Aaron Keown: Not my recommendation for city council this time. Has heaps of experience and works hard for his community.


Tim Lindley: Is a champion for the environment, appropriate decision making and social justice.




Jo Byrne: Supports cycling and walking, understands that community boards are about fostering a sense of community, has been a successful activist for the neighbourhood in relation to the Flockton floodings, seems to endorse the Common Good, which shows good judgement.

Emma Twaddell: Pursues two related causes: saving the neighbourhood from the DEMP [downstream effects management plan, i.e. the city council’s strategy to mitigate the effects of the Northern Arterial], and doing what is possible at community board level to make a shift to a more sustainable, lower-emission Christchurch.




The Papanui recommendations didn’t come with a rationale, but Axel concurs with the suggestions as put forward.

Simon Britten: [rationale missing]

Emma Norrish: [rationale missing]


Luke Chandler: Young guy with the right attitude. Has all the potential to become a great leader.
Gamal Fouda: The Imam is full of wisdom. He can bridge gaps across ethnic groups.


Callum Stewart-Ward: Young guy; honest and genuine. Has set up the urban farm.


Zahra Hussaini: just in case she misses out on getting elected to the city council; strongest candidate.

ECan candidates

Let’s look at the ECan (regional council) candidates. For the first time, Axel is covering all of Canterbury. As he’s a candidate himself, he’s had a close look at all the candidates. There are seven constituencies (voting areas) for ECan and each of those will elect two representatives. That is, every voter has two votes for ECan. Three of those constituencies are rural and four cover Christchurch.

Rural constituencies

North Canterbury-Ōpukepuke: easy choices as there are two progressive candidates
#1: Greg Byrnes
#2: Grant Edge (some concerns about his decisions on the Waimakariri zone committee but he can certainly be worked with)

Mid-Canterbury-Ōpākihi: clear choices here as well
#1: Sarah Walters
#2: Allen Lim (basically the best of the farmers)

South Canterbury-Ōtuhituhi: clear environmental options
#1: Elizabeth McKenzie
#2: Phil Driver (aka ‘Climate elder’)

City constituencies

Christchurch North East-Ōrei: one of the tough ones for me as there are three good candidates, but we only have two votes. I shall list them in an order of preference (with apologies to the third candidate)
#1: Iaean Cranwell (critical to have him on the regional council)
#2: Jenny Hughey (my toughest choice; it’s not a strong preference over Roy)
#3: Roy Knight

Christchurch West-Ōpuna: another tough one for me, with three good candidates (and a fourth one who’s thinking very much aligns with mine, but I shall keep it to three)
#1: Chrys Horn (I’ve long been friends with her but she’s in number 1 spot because I rate her very highly, not because she’s my friend)
#2: Craig Pauling (also outstandingly good credentials; someone who walks the talk)
#3: Aaron Campbell (also good; a strong voice for Aotearoa Water Action – AWA)

Christchurch Central-Ōhoko: ok, you may think I am biased, but we have (privately) been endorsed by many sitting city councillors, representing the breadth of the political spectrum. That says something.
#1: Lan Pham (the strong voice for safe water)
#2: Axel Wilke (the only candidate who knows transport inside-out; nearly half of ECan’s budget goes on that item and there’s never been an expert at the table)

Christchurch South-Ōwhanga: one clear choice and one preference
#1: Vicky Southworth (master’s in resource management, environmentalist)
#2: Hamish Keown (the best of the remaining candidates; also brings a youth voice)

So, there you have it. If you are a candidate and your name is not on the above list (or you are in a #3 spot), please PM me and express your disappointment. I do reserve the right to change my mind so if you put compelling arguments to me why you should be in a #2 spot (sorry, the #1 spots are not negotiable), please do so. Either way, good luck to my fellow candidates.


There will be 7 members elected. The voting system is Single Transferable Vote (STV) so to favour your chosen candidates as much as possible it is best to rank all 23 candidates. The CDHB is the largest organisation on the South Island and is the largest employer (over 9,000 staff).  Has an annual budget of $1.4B. Axel’s personal preference is for candidates not running for multiple positions (e.g. council and CDHB). There are concern they won’t have adequate time to devote to the CDHB as the role of a city councillor is more than a full-time job already.

The survey by the Public Health Association of NZ (PHANZ) has some useful info, although only 11 of the 23 candidates responded. They have published a summary graphic and individual answers.  The Christchurch Youth Council has also published a useful survey.

The story here is the same as with the community board candidates. The list below is crowd-sourced. Somebody who has done a lot of work on this sent an amended list to Axel with an adjusted ranking and that person’s list & ranking has been adopted on 9 October.

  1. Rochelle Phipps – looks good, GP.  Great scores on the PHANZ survey, and good answers on the youth survey. Priorities: reduce times for under 12-year-old child mental health assessment – currently more than 100 days. Improve equity in health outcomes through evidence based initiatives. Ensure climate change is included as a public health issue and receives targeted action by DHBs.  Has an MBA and governance experience. Priorities: increase primary healthcare to keep people healthy and at home, increase mental health services, improved staff and patient safety by having adequate staffing levels. Why me: wide range of medical experience. Knowledge of the health system. Invested in improving health of Cantabrians, especially disadvantaged.
  2. Naomi Marshall – looks great, evidence based.  Young female with a nursing background. Great scores on the PHANZ survey. Priorities: increase primary healthcare to keep people healthy and at home, increase mental health services, improved staff and patient safety by having adequate staffing levels.  Why me: wide range of medical experience. Knowledge of the health system. Invested in improving health of Cantabrians, especially disadvantaged.
  3. Gray Crawford – early intervention, many others rate him.  Good scores on the PHANZ survey. Senior management experience in the healthcare sector. Priorities: Early intervention, NGOs’ access to health information, staff training/lower turnover.
  4. Jo Kane – Good coverage in fights for more funding for CDHB. Outspoken advocate. Didn’t respond to PHANZ survey. Four terms on the board. After fair and equitable funding. Hospital planning.  
  5. Andrew Dickerson – quite good from aged care perspective. Recommended by several who know him. Didn’t respond to PHANZ survey, but did to youth survey. Good website. 30 years health sector experience. Rebuild of hospital, mental health and cancer treatment.  
  6. Brian Salisbury – mental health nurse Hillmorton.  Good FB page. Young. Sustainability an interest. Great scores on the PHANZ survey. Priorities: Staff well-being, sustainability, and patient-focused services.  Young, passion for health care.
  7. Steve Wakefield – Really good answers in the PHANZ survey.  In spite of being on the board for Foodstuffs he supports sugary drinks not being sold on DHB premises.  Sounds like a strong and effective advocate of fairer funding for Canterbury (sounds like the area is underfunded relatively speaking on a population basis). Priorities: fairer funding, earlier diagnosis of cancer, replace earthquake damaged buildings.  Experience: six years on board. Financial and accounting skills, information technology, and construction and property knowledge.
  8. Robert Read – good FB page, active in suicide prevention, knows the mental health system. In the ‘I’ve been there’ camp.  Good answers on the PHANZ survey but got a thumbs down on equity unfortunately (but partly because of the answer to one of his questions was wrong way around, which probably influenced his score).  Lacks knowledge in some areas but looks like a strong and useful advocate for suicide prevention, mental health and has some good experience in the area of suicide prevention. Priorities: reduced wait list, free hospital car parking, repair broken mental health system. Volunteers around mental health and suicide prevention for six years. Lived experience.
  9. John Edie – daughter with cancer.  Didn’t respond to PHANZ survey. Did respond to youth survey. Some good answers on the youth survey. Priorities: improve funding for blood cancer treatment, reduce waiting times for elective surgery, improvement in public health services in the community.  Secondary school teacher. New face on the board.
  10. Malcolm Lyall – civic minded, also running for Selwyn DC and probably a good chance of getting elected (has before), may be over-committed.  Pretty good scores on the PHANZ survey. Didn’t respond to youth survey.
  11. Blair Anderson – canine behaviourist, very different picture in the pamphlet to what he looks like now (based on Stuff article on ‘the other 10 mayors’). Didn’t respond to PHANZ survey. No response to Policy Local.
  12. Peter Ballantyne – ex government appointee of the financial sort. Didn’t respond to PHANZ survey. No response to Policy Local.
  13. Alexandra Davids – also running for community board and CCC. Didn’t fill out survey from PHANZ.  She would be too busy and not focused on the CDHB given she is running for 2 other offices.  No response to Policy Local.
  14. Sally Buck – also standing for CCC, good chance of causing a by-election if successful (health issues)
  15. Catherine Chu – also standing for CCC and community board.  The word on the street is that she stands a good chance of getting into CCC. If she is successful, she won’t have much spare time for DHB work (hence the low ranking).
  16. James Gough – Likely to get back into CCC as a city councillor and so he won’t have much spare time for DHB work (hence the low ranking). Very brief, business-oriented answers to policy local. Has served three terms on City Council.
  17. Geoff Booth – is in the ‘I’ve been there’ camp.  A grieving father, he himself has an ostomy. Average/ lowish scores on the PHANZ survey.  Priorities: reduce suicide, reduced deficit, create health herbs that Rolliston and Rangiora.  Why me: want to make a positive difference to suicide stats.
  18. Anna Crighton – strong heritage advocate (some say too strong). Anti fluoridation / not evidence based, unequal health outcomes.  Priorities: monitor net operating expenses, free GP consultations for low paid full staff, better mental health services.  Why me: lived in Christchurch and Canterbury for a long time, former CCC counsellor and community board member. Current health board member.
  19. Vicki Tahau Paton – described as “all show, no go”; reported as flippant, not especially thoughtful. Similar to Debbie Mora, seems quick to speak; not great at working things through in a conversation.
  20. Debbie Mora – is on the Halswell-Hornby-Riccarton Community Board and is reported to have been very disruptive. “She is not a bad person but isn’t really cut out for thinking through difficult decisions.”  Seems quick to speak; not great at working things through in a conversation.
  21. Aaron Keown – was on both CCC and CDHB last term. Likely to get back into CCC as a city councillor and so he won’t have much spare time for DHB work (hence the low ranking). An earlier version of this post stated that his CDHB attendance was poor but I retract this with full apologies; this referred to a scheduling clash in 2010 (when he first held both positions) and CDHB meetings were timed to clash with city council meetings.
  22. Peter Wakeman – runs for everything all the time, is running for mayor, CCC and community board.  Has run many, many times. See the Stuff article on ‘the other 10 mayoral candidates’.
  23. Tubby Hansen – the perennial mayoral candidate (continuously since 1971!) with a “slightly alternative reality”.
Lan and Axel casting their votes (4 October)

9 thoughts on “Who to vote for?”

  1. Paton
    Date: 24 September 2019 at 5:23:35 PM NZST
    To: CYC Elections
    Subject: Re: Candidate Maps enclosed – Thank you!

    What are your top three priorities within the Christchurch Youth Action Plan?
    NZ Youth Mentoring Programme will be in Christchurch and Lyttelton next month, from Auckland. I felt it would benefit those from our older generation and youth. With huge financial inequalities when students finish studying, there sharing of knowledge and experience could help equip the youth on their journeys into the employment world.

    I believe that to implement changes demographically and geographically there needs to be equality, the existing structure is broken. There needs to be a more open channel of communication within all groups to achieve positive and successful outcomes moving forward. This can be environmentally or other areas of huge concern. Aiming towards common goals, working side by side, but not in each others shadow.

    I would like to see Queen Mary Hospital in Hanmer re-opened, aimed towards it being self sustainable, for youth that are challenged with addictions and those that are having trouble fitting into society, this can be because of mental health challenges or a result of the post earthquake, the common goal of giving them a tool box make the introduction back into community an easier transition.

    What would you bring to the role that makes you unique?
    I am a solutions person, what makes me unique is I have the confidence to guide others in the directions that help them thrive, I also firmly believe, that to understand something you need to get your hands dirty and muck in. Statistics and paperwork do not help you understand the true hardcore reality.

    What are your top three priorities for change if elected?
    Re-Open Queen Mary Hospital

    If it doesn’t already exist find ways to have a youth voice on the board.

    Address the inequalities and the duplication of services.

    How will you improve mental health support for young people if elected?
    Find out how they do it overseas and work hard to find a solution that would work for us.
    An example is R U OK in Australia campaign I love it. There is no room for egos, elected means we are dealing with lives, I am not there to just warm a seat. Give it a deadline for completion.

    220 DHB board members through out New Zealand, 20 Regional Health Boards, there is only 121 Mps in parliament. It does not make sense, I say give our youth more support that is more important.

    What’s your experience within the health sector?
    I started as an area sales manager at 17 calling on Pharmacies through out the South Island, my boss told me to never disclose my age. I watched the pharmacies adapt to many changes, the lose of the old style community pharmacy got over taken by the corporates, we need to adapt to prevent this happening. Yes there is budgets, but things happened and they needed to be reassessed, they werent.

    How do you think hospitals could be made more youth-friendly.
    I would like to find ways to prevent them from ever needing to go to hospital.
    What’s your favourite song?
    “Whats going on” by 4 non blondes


    I guess if the above makes me a flippant airhead i will live with it.
    I had been enjoying your article until I read mine.

    1. I guess that’s the risk with the CB and CDHB part of these recommendations, Vicki; it’s mostly community sourced. If I had had more time, I would have invested a lot of energy into researching the candidates, talking to people in the know, etc. Instead, these parts are reproduced mostly the way they turned up in the linked Google Doc. Plus a couple of emails that landed in my inbox, including one from a GP.

  2. Thanks for this. Any thoughts on the Waimakariri Mayor and OxfordOhoka councillors.

    1. Sorry, Meredith. No idea. I have a few ideas in Selwyn but Waimakariri is unknown territory. Maybe others could comment here.

  3. Hello Val, you got in touch with us via the ‘contact us’ page about the Christchurch North East-Ōrei constituency. We have replied but the email address you gave us didn’t work. If you see this note feel free to get in touch again.

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