Wellington student president on why she's running for city council

Wellington student president on why she's running for city council
Photo credit: Newshub.

Victoria University Students' Association President Tamatha Paul is stepping out of the lecture theatre to launch her campaign to be a Wellington City Councillor.

Running in the Lambton Ward, 22-year-old Tamatha Paul told Newshub she has four major focuses that include making Wellington the first living wage city.

Tamatha Paul's focus areas:

  • Making Wellington New Zealand's first living wage city;

  • Getting Wellington central's waste system working again;

  • Investing in community building to help with local wellbeing, mental health, and resilience;

  • Making Wellington a city for the future, one that is safe, green, and moving that will last for the youth of today.

Paul says the city needs a fresh voice, telling Newshub: "There's no reflection of young people in the Council, there's nobody that looks like us, there's nobody that rents their house or know what it's like to catch public transport.

"From what I've seen in the last three years, no one's really focussed on making commitments to saving the planet and issues that young people care about. I want to see that reflected and who better to do it than someone who's already representing 22,000 young people.

Making Wellington a living wage city is a top priority for Paul. She believes local businesses need to be encouraged to become living wage accredited.

"The Council is living wage accredited - but Council owned and operated venues aren't. I want to make sure that not only they're living wage but Wellington City Council works with local businesses and bigger businesses to encourage them to be accredited companies too."

Paul is the first Maori female to lead the student association in Victoria University's 122-year history. She says being a student is a "strength rather than a weakness".

"It's important democracy represents the people and a large amount of people in Wellington are under 25. We saw that in the climate strike, so many young people are passionate about politics and having a say in the way our country and city is governed."

Paul is confident she has a shot at winning a seat. She believes the current council isn't as representative as it could be and wants to change that.

Voting for Local Body Elections close on October 12 2019.