Green Party Mana branch chooses Robyn Smith to run for regional council

On Thursday April 14, the Mana branch of the Green Party unanimously chose Titahi Bay resident Robyn Smith to represent the Porirua-Tawa constituency of the Greater Wellington Regional Council.

Robyn joins a list of Greens representing regional and city councils in the Wellington area.

Robyn Smith Statement: Why I’m Running for Regional Council

“Ko ahau ko te taiao, ko te taiao ko ahau (I am the environment and the environment is me). He kawenga ki te whenua, ki ngā uri o ngā ātua
(we have a responsibility to the natural environment

I want to be an elected representative from Porirua-Tawa Constituency for the Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) because I support Ngāti Toa’s vision to restore the mauri of Te Awarua-o-Porirua. I want to avoid further loss of biodiversity and reduce carbon emissions from our region.

To achieve these goals, local government, Ngāti Toa and communities must work together to protect existing biodiversity and increase the rate of priority plantings across the watershed.

There is an urgent need to prevent environmental pollution by repairing infrastructure, to ensure that the negative effects of land use are kept in place and to increase the use of public transport.

We also need to educate the general public on how protecting and enhancing biodiversity will help mitigate the effects of climate change and build community resilience.

Robyn’s 3 key campaign themes

  • Prevent excessive and unnatural sedimentation of the Porirua and Te Awarua-o-Porirua waterways. Sedimentation and pollution impact the mana of Ngāti Toa Rangatira and the plants and animals that depend on aquatic habitats for food and shelter.
  • There is an urgent need for additional funds to plant identified high priority areas in the watersheds to prevent sedimentation.
  • Consent conditions are required to prevent off-site impacts from large-scale earthworks and logging activities.
  • One of the most important roles of the regional council should be to improve the reach and access to public transport
  • Shifting people’s transportation choices to convenient, inexpensive and reliable public transport is helping Aotearoa/New Zealand achieve its climate goals.
  • We must also ensure that there are enough operators by increasing the salaries of our public transport operators.

The Porirua region has only 15% of its original forest extent and barely 2.3% of wetlands remaining. We need to protect the remaining areas of biodiversity.

As Regional Councillor, Robyn

  • Advocate for the regional council in partnership with city councils and private landowners to identify and protect our remaining natural habitats from pests and degradation. We can reduce sedimentation in Te Awarua-o-Porirua by increasing our rate of planting native species and reducing runoff from large developments.
  • increase funding for partnerships to control environmental pest plants and animals at biodiversity sites.
  • Implement and fund local Porirua City Council strategies, Whaitua Expert Panel recommendations and Ngāti Toa to increase planting on erosion-prone lands, river corridors and public lands.

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Elna M. Lemons