Wellington Scoop

VUW students’ president, 22, standing for city council in Lambton

Report from Ian Apperley
The Victoria University Students’ Association president Tamatha Paul has launched her campaign to become a city councillor in the Lambton Ward.

The 22-year-old appears to be independent, and her promises are unsurprising. She’s playing on her age and told the NZ Herald that much of Wellington City and the Lambton Ward are made up of young people and students but their voices are not represented…”They don’t see anyone who looks like them, talks like them, or cares about the same issues they do.”

Being up against councillors twice her age didn’t bother her, reported the Herald. She said her experience working with an institution as big as Victoria University and representing 22,000 students helped.

According to Newshub, Tamatha Paul’s focus areas are:

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.

Newshub reports that Paul says the city needs a fresh voice. “There’s no reflection of young people in the Council, there’s nobody who looks like us, there’s nobody who rents their house or knows 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.

I don’t think she’s met Iona Pannett yet. Iona has tirelessly pushed the climate agenda, often to her detriment, and as far as I know, she uses public transport to travel pretty much everywhere in the city.

Then there is Brian Dawson, who’s had his hand in every Living Wage discussion there has been, pushed hard for increased wellbeing of the city’s vulnerable, and sits firmly on the left.

It’s tough competition, and Tamatha is going to have to rely on getting the youth vote to vote and to vote for her. That’s hard because that age group is generally not at all engaged or interested in local politics and as we know, they have a wide range of political views.


  1. michael, 15. May 2019, 19:02

    Good on you Tamatha.
    The council needs someone with vision, who will have a stake in Wellington of the future.

  2. Ruz, 15. May 2019, 20:13

    It’s important to elect fresh people onto the council. Hopefully she will stand as an independent and keep away from party politics. I am not interested in what Pannett and Dawson say they will do. What they have achieved is more important.

  3. Concerned Wellingtonian, 16. May 2019, 15:16

    “What they have achieved” is nothing.