Meet the next generation of elected leaders in Auckland and Northland

ActionStation are profiling inspiring young independent candidates who are standing in local elections around NZ.

7 min readSep 24, 2019
A collage of seven young people in different outside settings
Young independent candidates standing for local councils in 2019

For the 2019 local council elections, we are profiling and promoting young (under 40 years old) independent candidates who agree with the vision and values outlined in our community’s crowdsourced vision Te Ira Tāngata and have demonstrated a commitment to climate solutions and Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

We asked candidates in an online questionnaire if they agree with our community’s vision and to tell us how they will work towards it. We’ve only included the people who responded so this is not an exhaustive list and some young independent candidates may be missing. Please email if you think there is someone we should add!

The following candidates are standing in the Northland or Auckland regions.

Amy Macdonald

35, Northland Regional Council

Amy holding her child at  a beach with the moana (sea) and a motu (island) behind them

I am a freshwater ecologist and a mother to three young children. I believe good environmental management benefits us all, and underpins healthy communities and economies. I will be a strong environmental voice, seeking to protect and restore ecosystems and build climate resilience.

A key reason I am running for council is to be proactive about the changing climate and get to work. In my freshwater conservation career, I have worked in partnership with Mana Whenua to protect freshwater habitats and taonga species.

Check out Amy’s Facebook page here.

Shaquille Shortland

25, Whangārei District Council — Denby Ward

Shaquille smiling in the middle of a group of young people
Shaquille, centre, with members of a youth group he mentors

I will be working for and towards creating positive systemic change within our political arenas, public sectors and community organisations. I achieve this through well thought out, well-planned history lessons of our Aotearoa from a Te Ao Māori approach. Using Te Reo, Tikanga, Waiata, Karakia and Whakapapa to create connections between all ethnicities. Inclusion and diversity in thought, age and ethnicity through aroha is what I aim for.

Check out Shaquille’s Facebook page here.

Victoria Tupou

34, Ōwairaka Subdivision, Albert-Eden Local Board, Auckland

Portrait of Victoria sitting on porch with a red bicycle in the background

One of the reasons I’m standing for my Local Board is diversity — we need diversity of thought and experience at the decision-making table.

I’m a firm believer in life-long learning, and I know that I don’t have all of the answers — I’m committed to engaging with and listening to my community and always asking ‘who aren’t we hearing from?’

I’m incredibly passionate about my neighbourhood and want it to be the best it can be: with sustainable connected and thriving communities that meets the needs of our oldest and youngest residents; improved safety and accessibility; reduced congestion; better public transport, parks, places and amenities.

Disclosure: Victoria is running as an independent but is a member of the Green Party.

Check out Victoria’s Facebook page here.

Damian Light

35, Auckland Council — Howick ward

Damian at a local market looking to camera, smart suit jacket and a name badge

I want to live in an Auckland where kaitiakitanga (guardianship) is at the core of how we live. We’ve achieved zero carbon emissions through practical and realistic actions at both a regional and local level.

We must implement an ambitious but realistic plan of action to make Auckland carbon neutral before 2050, including prioritisation of transport which contributes 40% of the city’s emissions. This includes accelerating the purchase of electric buses and investing in walking and cycling.

We need developments across our growing city to be done in a sustainable and future-focused manner, with decisions made to minimise the impact on the environment during and after construction.

Our city is prepared for climate change with resilient infrastructure and robust plans to adapt to the rising sea levels and more extreme weather events. We also need to proactively plan for impact mitigation and for a just transition, acknowledging that it will not impact everyone evenly.

I want to live in an Auckland where we have a wide range of transport options, including public transport, active modes and private vehicles. Instead of a one-size-fits-all solution, we’ve invested heavily in infrastructure that supports people making the choice that suits them.

As an independent, I will work constructively with all parties (regardless of political background) to achieve the best outcomes for our city and its people.

Disclosure: Damian is running as an independent but is also a former leader of the United Future party.

Check out Damian’s Facebook page here.

Dillon Tooth

26, Waitakere Local Board, Auckland

Dillon standing next to one of his hand painted signs with thumbs up

My ultimate goal is to build a lasting relationship of trust between communities and their political representatives.

To facilitate a more transparent, accountable, empathetic and inclusive democracy I will use social technology available to us to make it easier for the public to engage in the political process and enable authentic representation.

I will actively engage with different religious, cultural and social communities and to be more transparent and accountable I will release weekly video diaries to better inform the public about what councillors do and what roadblocks they might face trying to achieve their goals.

Check out Dillon’s Facebook page here.

Isaac Mercer

19, Ōrākei Local Board, Auckland Council

Isaac at a beach with sunset behind him

[I will work toward ActionStation’s vision by] Ensuring the process for the local board to consider the views of their community is accessible and convenient for all. By hearing the views of our wider community and the diverse perspectives, our people feel empowered and involved and proud of where they live.

Check out Isaac’s Facebook page here.

Zoe Brownlie

37, Auckland District Health Board

Zoe smiling to camera leaning on a tree trunk

As an Auckland District Health Board Member, I value the wellbeing of people above everything else. If re-elected, I will continue to work hard to make sure every Aucklander feels supported, listened to, and respected when it comes to their healthcare.

I will co-design health services to make sure they are designed by the people they’re for, and will collaborate with Tangata Whenua and community and health providers to remove inequities in our health outcomes.

I will grow and improve the mental wellbeing services we have, and increase the support and development opportunities we give to all healthcare workers. If our people and their whānau are healthy and well, we can all work together to look after our planet, that will then look after us.

Check out Zoe’s Facebook page here.

Nicholas Hunter Connop

33, Whangārei District Council — Okara ward

Nicolas is behind a sign with an image of a clock and the words ‘vote Connop’; he’s smiling and pointing at his watch.

My passion is the community. I serve them already and wanting to give more.

We need alternative ideas to see us to an improved future and we need to start now. It is integral we are able to have a wide representation on the council, so that many voices can be heard and feel they have a voice.

We need to work together and grow our city to a place we all are proud of and can put forward as a destination that is diverse, inclusive and welcoming.

Check out Nicholas’ Facebook page here

You can see the profiles of young inspiring candidates in other areas at these links:

Want more information before voting?

Generation Zero have released scorecards that rate candidates based on their policies for climate action and liveable cities:

The Spinoff has a great website with profiles on candidates at this link:

Stuff has candidate profiles based on their climate action policies at this link:

How to vote

Voting is open from 20 September till midday 12 October.

If you’re enrolled you’ll receive your voting papers in the post from 20 September. 📮

If you’re not enrolled, or your papers haven’t arrived, no worries!

In Auckland you can enrol and vote at the same time at any of these One Stop Shops, held on different days in different locations:

Enrol and vote at Auckland’s One Stop Shop events

For other areas head to your local council office to enrol and vote in person. 🔍 Find details for your council here:

By voting in the local election, and supporting friends or whānau members to join you, we will multiply the impact of our community and elect councillors that will advocate for the ecosystems that sustain life.




Community campaigning organisation bringing people together to act in powerful and coordinated ways to create a fair and flourishing Aotearoa for all.