Zone 5 representative/Waipapa Papanui-Innes-Central Community Board Member
Community board member, trail runner, paddleboarder, news-maker
“I'm passionate about contributing to my local community. Being part of local government means I can use my skills and experience to contribute to the community's wellbeing.”
Simon Britten has been working in the community sector for twelve years, mostly with a kaupapa Māori organisation focused on youth and community development.
These days he’s leading a youth employment programme, and in his spare time, runs a community news site – one that aims to increase community connectedness, and raise awareness of the activities of the council and community board.
Overall, Simon sees very close alignment between his paid, volunteer and local government work, and the social, cultural, environmental and economic wellbeing of his community.
He acknowledges that the time it can take for decisions to be made can be frustrating for the public and elected members alike. But he would love to increase overall voter turnout and participation in local government, and advocates for increased localism and innovation in how we encourage public participation – for example, through participatory budgeting and citizens' assemblies.
For Simon, it’s the way his role enables local communities that is most rewarding. He is heartened by the common ground that can be found amongst elected members, even when different perspectives are brought to the table.