Tauranga City Candidates Tackle Trust, Transparency and Accountability at Startup Weekend

Tauranga Council Startup Weekend
City Councillor Candidates create a circle of trust with their Community Council app. From left, Heidi Hughes – (At Large), Erika Harvey – (Otumoetai-Pyes Pa), AJ Tohuro – (Welcome Bay-Te Papa) and Suzie Paige – (At Large).

Four Tauranga City Council candidates (AJ Tuhoro, Suzi Paige, Heidi Hughes and Erika Harvey) all of them connected to the entrepreneurial community, knew that Startup Weekend would be an ideal place to workshop solutions to address some of the big issues they each see in the community.

“We wanted to explore how we might work together. It is also a chance to spend time amongst our community, understanding the different needs and challenges” said A.J Tuhoro who is standing as a candidate for the Welcome Bay/Te Papa Peninsula Ward.

Fresh Faces of Tauranga

Our four candidates, nicknamed the “Fresh Faces” of Tauranga, are each active across the community in different areas from diversity to transport; a great fit for this year’s Startup Weekend where over 50 participants are pitching ideas focused on the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Suzi Paige, running for Councillor at Large, pitched the idea to find a solution that would engage youth and other disillusioned communities in the local government decision making process.

“The voting base is not reflective of the wide demographic of communities that make up Tauranga City. This results in decisions being made in favour of the voting minority.”

Attracted by the possibility of having a real impact in our city, on to the team came a developer (Amit Kamble), a teenager (August Marwick) and a graphic designer (Graeme Niksch), and the true value of collaborative problem solving and co-creation immediately started to come into effect.

Meet CoCo

The team went out and talked with members of the community and heard the same issues of trust, transparency and accountability. The message was clear: Tauranga City Council has broken trust with the community.

The team agreed that in order to be effective as councillors, there needed to be change in the way information is shared between the community, elected officials and the Tauranga City Council.

CoCo, a platform designed to improve information flows between the three entities, was born.

Erika Harvey, candidate for the Otumoetai/Pyes Pa Ward, used an example from the Marine Precinct Project to illustrate the problem.

“The information that was first given to council missed key elements, once it had been translated through the consultants, planners and staff; had this platform been in place a lot of time and money wouldn’t have been wasted.”

Coco, short for Community Council, is an idea for an outward-facing platform that not only tracks progress, but also allows the community to see how and why projects may be delayed or over budget.

“Greerton Village, Durham Street, the Marine Precinct, and the Memorial Park Walkway projects are all examples that would have had very different outcomes if the community and elected members had been engaged and informed at of every stage of the project.

By improving accountability and communication in the management of projects there would be significant cost savings to ratepayers” says Heidi Hughes, Candidate at Large.

Startup weekend runs all weekend with pitches being delivered on Sunday in the Trust Power Auditorium on Durham Street. Pop along at 5pm to meet these “Fresh Faces” of the Tauranga City elections, learn more about CoCo and the other wide array of business ideas built to have a positive impact!