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The contents of the candidate profile have been provided by the candidate to express their views and is intended to help inform voters. The information in the profile does not necessarily reflect Auckland Council's views or policies.
Photograph of Dani RIEKWEL.


Mayoral candidate

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Photograph of Dani RIEKWEL.

Candidate profile statement

My principal place of residence is in the Auckland Council area.

Half of Aucklanders pay 75% of the median income to rent unstable and unhealthy housing, while the intensification of the city is left in the hands of landlords, with banks profiting at the end. We will make rental housing a city asset and housing a right. We will make public transport free, protect trees, the ocean and empower communities to create localised solutions to climate change. The sea is coming. This sinking ship needs all hands on deck. This queer pirate has experience sailing the storms of chaos. I am a parent, a community organiser and climate activist. I've lived in a van, in poverty, for years. I know how to budget when things seem impossible. Tāmaki Makaurau isn't a business, it's a home of diverse people and those voices need to be heard. Let's make Auckland a buoyant and sustainable city to sail the coming storm.

About me

My name is Dani Shenanigan, I'm a 35 year old Pākehā, transgender Pirate. I was born in Waitākere and grew up in Birkdale on the North Shore. At school I participated in Future Problem Solving competitions and it is hard to believe that 20 years on, those problems are here to be solved. Now I have a child who cries for the trees at night.

I am an activist for Māori land rights, Protect Pūtiki, the climate, mental health and housing reform. I have spent the last 7 years living in poverty, living in a van, dedicating myself to community organisation for these issues. I was an occupier at Ihumātao for 4 months in 2019, where I heard first hand the stories of Tangata Whenua and how colonisation continues to affect them. I spent years supporting lgbtq+ and neurodivergent youth through mental health crises. I marched with students for climate action and I am facing charges for kayaking at Pūtiki to protect penguins and the landing place of Tainui and Te Arawa waka. I have gone to tenancy tribunal 4 times against property managers and landlords who refused to provide a safe and healthy home.

I understand first hand what it is to be in the half of Aucklanders who rent, the half of people at the table who have none of the wealth, and who will see the worst effects from climate change.

I am dedicated to this work, and I will be campaigning and advocating for change for the rest of my life.

Why I want to be elected

I want to be Mayor of Tāmaki Makaurau to empower our people to create community solutions to climate change, colonisation and capitalism.

We are facing losing our beaches in the next 30 years. Many people are going to lose their homes to the sea. I want to be elected so that I can direct council to focus on the most important task of tackling the inequity in housing, that we may then see people lifted out of poverty and kept safe from the coming storms. We will face droughts, fires and floods. And I believe that if we face these issues now, that we can avoid the worst of the consequences of capitalism and colonisation.

I have a vision of a sustainable and equitable Auckland. Where we may have denser housing, but we have more green spaces too. We grow food in Auckland again and reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. Where we have a highly connected city with public transport, cycling and walking. Where housing is a right and no one is forced to live in a vehicle or on the streets. Where we have localised sustainable power and water collection. Where Te Tiriti is honoured, and the iwi of Tāmaki Makaurau are represented in all major decision making.

I want to be Mayor so that I can advocate for Auckland at the national level. I will collaborate with other cities nationwide, in the Pacific, and worldwide so that we all, together, can tackle the major problems we are facing this century.

What I love most about the area I want to represent

I feel incredibly lucky to have been born in Tāmaki Makaurau. Auckland is one of the greenest cities in the world and I love spending time in our nature spaces. I have always loved to go into the bush and spend the day with the manu (birds). I have always loved going to the many beaches, I have even swum across the harbour. I have lived in every part of Auckland. From Pakiri in the north to Mangere in the south, and each place has it's own culture and rich history which is found in those green spaces.

I love Auckland's diversity. People come from all over the world to live here, and we all benefit from the collective knowledge of 1.5 million people from around the world living together. We have a rich blend of cultures here, with a lot to celebrate with each other.

What I think about key issues for Auckland

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What I will prioritise if I am elected

The housing crisis is the everything crisis.

I will prioritise making housing a right in Tāmaki Makaurau. When people have safe, healthy and stable housing, then we have the ability to focus on other aspects of our lives, such as solving climate change.

We will need to intensify our housing. Auckland is likely to grow massively in population in the next 30 years as climate refugees will continue to increase, particularly from the pacific. With intensification comes infrastructure. We will need to consider how to create sustainable solutions to water, power and sewerage. We will need to create a sustainable public transport plan to connect us together more efficiently.

We will also need to move a lot of houses and infrastructure away from flood prone areas such as the sea and the places we have concreted over streams. This will be a huge undertaking, and while we are beginning the process of this, we will strengthen our civil defense responses.

Practically speaking, we will be working towards abolishing profiting off of housing. Empty homes rates will be introduced, squatters rights will be strengthened, and rent controls will be put in place. We will conduct a housing audit so that we can assess who is most at risk of overcrowding and unhealthy homes, and find out what renters want from the new housing regime.

Let's make Auckland the nicest place to watch the end of the world.

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