I just want to write something very quickly to address a conversation some members of our community has had over the past couple of years. Namely, which ward I am standing in.

Back when we implemented Maori Wards I was asked if I would run on the General or Maori Ward. I’ve been told I should run in the Maori ward because that’s “my” ward. I’ve been told I should run on the general ward to increase Maori representation around the council table. The editor of the Gisborne Herald has stated this a couple of times.

If you know me, then you know I’m considered and deliberate. And after a lot of consideration, I have made my decision to run in the General Ward.

I’m running on behalf of urban Māori

One third of Maori living in our region are on the General Ward. As someone who grew up in the urban Maori environment and continue to live in the same environment, I feel like I can still bring that perspective to the table.

One of the biggest reasons for me running on the general ward tho is my community. There is an expectation on me to possibly run for the mayoralty in the future. And if I want to honour the expectation of my community at a later date then I have to run on the General Ward. I need to know that the General Ward constituents at large back me as a Councillor.

Top polling in the City Ward – now what say the region?

I know what the city thinks of me as a councillor, I was the top polling candidate for the City Ward in 2019. I’m pretty certain I know what the Maori ward thinks of me. However, I need to know what the at large General Ward thinks of me; Maori, Pakeha, Pasifika, migrant and especially our collective rural constituency.

Over my terms in council prior to all of the COVID disruption, I had attended some of the rural community meetings even though I wasn’t running in the rural wards because my Wharehinga, Katipa and Cookson family had been part of those communities. However, due to not having a vote on the line there was always a feeling of ‘thanks for coming Josh, but we can’t vote for you so you don’t really have to listen to me’. There was always a sense of disconnection. However this time there is a vote on the line, and I look forward to being connected in and put to the test by our rural community.

Whether you’re critical of me, or support me, you can not doubt that I have dedicated my entire life in service to our region. I’m happy to be offering myself to be of service to our region for another term as a General Ward councillor. I look forward to keep on being challenged by the mahi and held accountable by our community. I hope my proven track record of hard work and dedication to our region is enough to earn your vote.