Lambton Ward’s councillors being sworn in, as Mayor Celia Wade-Brown looks on

Our new Ward Councillors were sworn in last week as part of the inauguration of the new Council. Of course, all three faces will be familiar to Mt Victoria residents, as Ian McKinnon, Iona Pannett and Stephanie Cook were re-elected – despite strong opposition from a field of high-quality candidates. Congratulations to all three, and we look forward to working with you all on the issues that matter to Mt Victoria.

Tsunami sirens to be tested today

Wellington’s tsunami warning sirens will be blaring in the central city and coastal suburbs on Wednesday 20 October as part of a national tsunami readiness exercise.

Wellington City Council vehicles equipped with loudspeakers will be in action between 10am and 2pm issuing test tsunami alerts. The alerts will be broadcast around the harbour and coast from Ngauranga to Owhiro Bay, and throughout the CBD.

Wellingtonians can expect to hear a jarring and shrill sound – the national Civil Defence ‘sting’ siren – followed by the words:

“This is a test – the next time you hear this siren it could be a real emergency or disaster. Get ready to get through – your local council can help.”

The Council’s Emergency Preparedness Manager, Fred Mecoy, said that in the event of a genuine tsunami the emergency message will tell residents to move immediately to high ground.

“Obviously Wednesday’s event is a test and awareness raising exercise, so there’s no need for people to be alarmed. But it will be a reminder for everyone to consider their own plans and check their evacuation kits,” Mr Mecoy said.

“However, in a genuine emergency people in low lying areas and on the coast need to move immediately at least 1.5 km inland or 35m above sea level,” Mr Mecoy said.

“Tsunamis strike with frightening power and speed. It’s essential that people don’t loiter to rescue possessions but move to higher ground as soon as they hear an alert or feel a strong earthquake. Obviously no one should head to the coast to watch the tsunami sweep in,” Mr Mecoy said.

Mr Mecoy said there will not be enough time to use the loud speaker alerts if an earthquake was centred close to Wellington. This equipment will only be used for distant-source tsunamis.

“After an earthquake a tsunami could roar towards the city in less than 10 minutes. So after a quake strong enough to make standing difficult or for a prolonged time, people situated within the tsunami zone should immediately head to high ground.

“There will be no alarm after a local event – mother nature shaking the ground is the alarm,” Mr Mecoy said.

Wednesday’s tsunami test alert is being conducted by the Wellington Emergency Management Office (WEMO) as part of Exercise Tangaroa, a national tsunami awareness exercise.

WEMO will also be sending test tsunami warning text alerts to those who have signed up to its Twitter-based text alert system, as part of the exercise.

To simulate an evacuation, volunteers will be knocking on doors of some homes in Island Bay, Lyall Bay and Miramar. For the purposes of this exercise they will leave behind information about emergency preparedness and will be conducting a short survey, Mr Mecoy said.

“In the event of a real tsunami, do not rely on us coming knocking on your door – you need to plan to be self sufficient,” Mr Mecoy said.

Also as part of Exercise Tangaroa on Wednesday, two emergency welfare centres will be operating at: the Pacific Islanders’ Presbyterian Church on the corner of Daniell and Constable streets, Newtown; and Toi Poneke at 61-69 Abel Smith Street, in Te Aro.

The centres will be open to the public to highlight the role of emergency welfare centres as the places where those displaced by an emergency can receive help.

“We are encouraging people to visit one of the centres so they understand how the centres will work in an emergency.We’ll be providing some free refreshments plus information about how to prepare for an emergency,” Mr Mecoy said.

A mock evacuation of Owhiro Bay School will be carried out as part of the exercise with some pupils taken to the Newtown Emergency Welfare Centre to be registered.

40 votes!

This morning Wellingtonians have woken to a Mayoral election result that almost defies belief – just 40 votes separate incumbent Kerry Prendergast from her main challenger, Celia Wade-Brown. According to the Council more than 900 special votes have yet to be counted, so the result could easily tip either way given that a mere 0.018% separates the contenders. And the photographs from Stuff tell the story:

Final results are expected by Wednesday, although some commentators are already calling for a recount to ensure the final decision is beyond reproach.

In the Lambton Ward, all three sitting Councillors have been returned – Ian McKinnon, Iona Pannett and Stephanie Cook. Congratulations to all, and we look forward to working with you on the key issues for Mt Victoria over the next three years.

Full results in all Wards are here.

Opinion: Celia Wade-Brown: A last-minute vote

Today is your last chance to get your local vote in!

Polling, door-knocking and analysis of past elections show there is a good chance for change in Wellington.

I stand for local communities, with good facilities such as libraries, pools and parks at their heart.
I stand for good transport choices including better public transport, walking, cycling and safer roads.
I stand for good jobs, especially in the clean technology, arts, culinary, marine, education and IT sectors.

I stand for a different style of leadership. I will take advice from a wide range of sources, involve people in decision-making, acknowledge people who bring good ideas to the table and work with the community.

If you haven’t posted your voting papers, bring them down to Wellington City Council, 101 Wakefield St, before 12 noon today – Saturday 9th October.

Vote 1 for Celia Wade-Brown for Mayor. If you’re the family or supporter of another candidate, put 1 for them and 2 for me. I’ve found Jack Yan to be intelligent, positive and friendly throughout the campaign so consider giving him your second preference.

If you’ve already voted, well done – remind your work colleagues, friends, family or neighbours to have their say too. Even if you live out of Wellington now, I expect you’ll know someone who lives here!

Questions on policy, background or voting record – email me at or look at my website. And thank you in advance for your support!

Residents Association AGM – Monday 4 October, 7:30pm, Crossways

Due to some logistical glitches – the mis-advertising of times for the mayoral debate – the MVRA AGM was deferred until Monday 4 October at 7:30pm, at Crossways. We’ll recap the last year, look forward to the coming year, elect officers and committee, and present the accounts. All Mt Victoria residents (whether members or not) are welcome.