Candidates for Palmerston North City Council on music, books and growing pains

The civic and cultural precinct is one of the issues Palmerston North’s next set of elected officials will need to address. Photo /

These are summaries of filmed interviews with candidates for Palmerston North City Council conducted by Local Focus.

Brent Barrett.
Brent Barrett.

The Ministry for the Future is Brent Barrett’s favorite book and ska his favorite musical genre. He prefers Palmy to Palmerston North and if he ran for Parliament he would be with the Greens.

The biggest problem facing Palmerston North is the crisis of growth – rapid expansion, sprawl and transportation, and that too in the face of a climate crisis. He wants to see more downtown life and increased use of active transportation as well as public transit.

Barrett wants Palmerston North to move out of the pancake sprawl model and more into a cupcake model where we are a nice narrow town with a bit of elevation.

He comes from a family that is very involved in the medical world, so he thinks he comes from a care and support perspective. Being a scientist gives him a strong evidence-based approach and a willingness to ask why, why, why.

Vaughan Dennison.
Vaughan Dennison.

Vaughan Dennison’s favorite book is The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else In Business by Patrick Lencioni. He enjoys jazzy, bluesy laid-back music and Christian worship.

Palmy is a love of the city and if he ran for Parliament, Dennison would be with the National Party.

Palmerston North is growing and council needs to invest in infrastructure, roads, sewerage and all the good things a town needs. Developers are frustrated with the time and cost of obtaining consents, and the board needs to up its game in this space.

He is a board member of Softball New Zealand and has worked in business and the community. “I proudly served 21 years for the city and never took that for granted.”

Dennison says he has a listening ear, a positive approach and is happy to talk when he thinks things aren’t right. He is a clear communicator and willing to work with others. “Local government is too small to be confrontational and you have to work around it to get a majority at the table.”

Patrick Handcock.
Patrick Handcock.

The last book Patrick Handcock read was Labor Saving: A Memoir, by Michael Cullen.

He prefers Palmy to Palmerston North and his favorite evening meal which he cooks himself is massaman curry.

Handcock would likely be Labor if he stood for Parliament.

The city has many projects stacked up for the years to come. There are big plans around the civic and cultural precinct, the Palmerston North Integrated Transport
Initiative, and issues around housing.

It’s a mistake to keep pulling out of parking lots and waiting for people to change their minds and walk or cycle. There aren’t enough places where people can leave their bikes and know they’ll be safe.

Asked about the life experiences he has had that make him a good adviser, Handcock replied, “You can tell by looking at me that I’ve been here for a few years.”

He moved to Palmerston North in 1997 and was the Police Zone Commander from 2003 to 2014. In 2016 he was awarded the ONZM for his community and police service. “So obviously I’ve accumulated tons of leadership and governance experience over many, many years. »

Hussein Pierre Kikhounga-Ngot.
Hussein Pierre Kikhounga-Ngot.

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens is Hussein Pierre Kikhounga-Ngot’s favorite book, and his favorite musical genre is jazz and blues.

“Palmerston North for formal. Palmy for informal. Plus it looks good.”

When asked if he was a candidate for Parliament, which party would he be with, he replied: “That’s a tricky question. Well, at the moment I don’t know.”

Housing, traffic and safety are the big issues facing Palmerston North.

He was born in Congo-Brazzaville and his father was a deputy and minister. Kikhounga-Ngot came to New Zealand as a refugee. Before that, he had worked in the Department of Transportation, the Department of Science and Technology, and the Presidential Cabinet.

“If you don’t vote, you are responsible for your future, you destroy or improve your future because it’s up to you. It’s up to you to say I want X or Z.”