My name is Sunil Kaushal. I am standing for the Henderson-Massey Local Board (HMLB) in the 2022 Local Body elections.
I am committed to being a strong advocate for our West Auckland community. My focus is to make Henderson-Massey a Safer, Healthier, Cleaner Thriving community.
I spoke to journalist Jade REIDY about why I’m standing and what I bring to the table.
Over the two decades I have resided in Henderson-Massey I’ve seen our community expand rapidly – some 18% growth since 2006. We are more diverse than ever. Yet, aspects such as safety, health, parks and who gets a say on the local board haven’t kept up with the changes.
Waitakere Hospital is a key example where the upgrade is needed NOW. Both health workers and patients are suffering.
And with Covid, businesses need support with town centre upgrades to get people back for shopping. They need to feel safe from the new wave of crime targeting them and to have someone on the board who can speak their language.
To succeed in business, especially in Covid times, you have to be willing to change, to come up with new ideas and act fast, to innovate. You must understand what people need and how to provide it. You must understand how finance works. I have the experience to do exactly that. And I get things done.
When I have advocated for community projects and new ideas with the local board I have seen they are stale and complacent. There is little accountability for ratepayers’ hard-earned money. The current people have been there for many years and do not bring innovative ideas or represent the changing face of Henderson-Massey. I am an advocate especially for the 30% of the community that are ethnic and are under-represented. I listen to their concerns and want to be their voice at the decision-making table.
My values and personal qualities are:
I’m hardworking – to succeed you have to put in the hours. As Vidal Sassoon said, the only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary
I’m honest, trustworthy and have integrity
I’m relatable and approachable to everyone, I listen to diverse points of view
I’m a family man and committed community leader
I’m a leader and a problem solver, which makes me accountable also for the impact my decisions have.
With me, voters will get someone who is independent and not run by party politics. Too many decisions get made in central Auckland. Local people need to feel part of the community but don’t know how to reach out. I will be a local candidate who understands local issues and provides local solutions.
I have held leadership roles on many community boards and organisations. I can say with confidence that I bring Hope, Vision and Leadership which is missing, having had runs on the board in corporate and community sector projects.
I am willing to be held accountable for the values I stand up for.
Because of Covid, the Council has no money to fund projects. What ideas or private initiatives can you bring to the table?
I’m all for public private partnerships to get vital projects done.
CLIMATE CHANGE: In Henderson-Massey, we need to almost halve our carbon footprint by 2030. Planting trees using new entrant kids from primary schools would be a good initiative that builds on the previous successful Trees for Babies programme. We planted two trees for our little ones and they feel connected to their tree.
Businesses could pay for 100 trees a year, and if every primary school planted 25 trees each year, we will plant 2250 trees by 2024. The council will look after them and our local board would project manage.
SAFETY: I will ensure our volunteers patrol our community and advocate for more resources to grass root organisations to patrol our streets. We could also get more seniors involved.
GETTING YOUNG PEOPLE INVOLVED: I co-chair Auckland Council’s elections panel. We are introducing civics into high schools and there’s already a project for young people to talk about elections and how they affect their lives. I use TikTok to put across the message that if you don’t vote now, you’re missing out on changing the future.
I mustered locals to protest about the changes Auckland Transport was proposing to make to parking and cycling. The board washed their hands but we as residents got the majority of the changes we wanted. Hence Vocal for Local.
There are almost 10,000 businesses in Henderson-Massey.
We need to work with the Police and other local boards to break the chain of violence that has formed across our communities in west Auckland. This is particularly affecting businesses, with ram raids and frequent robberies. They don’t feel safe. Recently I talked to a takeaway owner about safety. His local dairy had been robbed at knifepoint and didn’t report it because it happens so often. There were no streetlights operating and still no cameras.
I am a successful migrant and a role model for new immigrants. When I first came to New Zealand I tried so hard to prove myself, that I’m as Kiwi as they come. I understand what new Kiwis go through.
The more diverse voices on the board means we can bring a world view to the local table.
The majority of the community’s ethnic make-up is Chinese and Indian. Just as one example of walking my talk, I am President of the Waitakere Indian Association. We initiated the Diwali Festival 22 years ago and are still running this multicultural festival.
We’ve been working with local Asian organisations to partner on community issues. For example, with Nepalese and Chinese.
Some other of my current and past volunteer roles include:
Member of Waitakere Health Link Inc
Current Committee member for Community Organisation Grants Scheme (Waitakere)
Member of Neighbourhood Support Waitakere
Board Ready Director at Super Diversity Institute NZ
Waitakere Community Patrol for Ranui-Swanson
Former Chair of Auckland Council’s Ethnic Peoples Advisory Panel and member of its current board
Former Board member of Waitakere Ethnic Board
Board member of TU Manawa Active Aotearoa Fund
Board Member of Global Haryana
Former Trustee of Auckland Diving Trust
Former Chair of India New Zealand Business Council and current Head of Strategic Relations for its current board
Former Secretary General of New Zealand India Trade Alliance.
I have created a petition to save Waitakere Hospital.
The government has decided not to approve the master plan to upgrade the hospital, even though our current hospital has the lowest number of beds per thousand people of almost anywhere in the country.
The buildings are at the end of their life, and under pressure from increased emergency department admissions. Public transport to other hospitals in the region is also inadequate.
As my children have grown, I have seen the amazing work of our healthcare staff and the challenges we all face with limited resources. The current pandemic has really underscored the importance of an excellent health system. Sadly, Waitakere has been in need of an upgrade for some time and it is most disappointing to see another deferment.
We chose West Auckland as our home to settle and raise a family, as West Auckland provides:
great parks for kids to play at
good local schools with local teachers (some of whom have even studied there)
a safe neighbourhood for children to play and walk to school
accessible sports clubs including West Wave where my kids are now diving
community where families and parents like us live, work and play.
Being an immigrant, West also has a large number of diverse families like us, which makes it easier to relate to.
I am a parent of four children with my amazing wife Cherie, a slave to four rescue cats, and a best friend to our dog, Scooby. As a local business owner, I balance my time between business, family and community.
When I have a break from assisting locals through EverBright Finance, I am usually running kids around to diving or dance, or serving the community through patrols or in local organisations.
I’m a Financial Advisor and Mortgage Broker for EverBright Finance. www.everbright.co.nz We’re a family of dedicated professionals with extensive knowledge across the range of financial services we provide.
Before that I worked in managerial roles in the banking sector, for ANZ and BNZ.
I am approachable so drop me a line on social media or email/text me and let’s chat about the things that matter to you the most in our community.