Home' The Wellingtonian : June 30th 2011 Contents 12 THE WELLINGTONIAN, JUNE 30, 2011
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Three cheers for Miramar
Enterprise Miramar Peninsula
chief and veterinarian Allan
Probert talks to Joseph
Romanos about running for
council, arguing with his father
and why he loves Miramar.
Allan Probert on the current Wellington City Council: ''The main issue is it's not functioning.''
Photo: JOSEPH ROMANOS
Did you always love animals?
I was a farm boy, a sheep and beef farm
in northern Hawke's Bay. We always had
pets, the usual dogs and cats . . . anything
we could rescue. I remember one pet sheep
that used to eat our school lunches. Dad
always wanted me to be involved with
animals. When I did a gap year I did
scrubcutting and shearing.
So you decided to be a vet?
Not immediately. I did a science degree
at Massey, and after that I got into vet
study. I wanted to be sure.
Did you embrace university life?
I was a naive farm boy when I arrived. I
knew very little about things like girls or
alcohol. I enjoyed academic study, I played
sport and I met my wife there, so it was an
important time for me.
You ran for the city council in last
year's elections. Has politics always
been an interest?
My father and I were always arguing
about politics. We weren't afraid to disagree
and politics was a discussion point around
the table. He's now in his third term as
mayor of Wairoa.
That sounds like a tough job.
I think he rules Wairoa with an iron fist.
He's very canny and frugal, so the books are
balanced and there are cash reserves. I get
my relatively thick skin from him.
You narrowly missed getting on to
council. That must have been
I was disappointed on the night, but I'm
happy now with how it turned out. The new
Eastern ward councillor, Swampy Marsh,
has been good, and I've had the freedom to
go after new projects -- getting a tourism
brochure for the peninsula, developing the
shopping centre here and so on.
Weren't you initially going to run for
I was, but I pulled out and ran just for
council and threw my support into backing
Celia Wade-Brown for mayor. My wife and
I had some discussions about me being in
public office. She's not such a public person,
and we needed to think things through.
However, I still definitely have political
Why were you seeking a change of
The consultation process, engaging with
the community . . . there was a lot of room
for improvement. You get a much better
result if you work in with people. You have
to take the community with you. Kerry
[Prendergast, previous mayor] knew what
was right, or what she thought was right,
and there wasn't the same level of consul-
How do you think the current coun-
cil is going?
The main issue is it's not functioning,
even when there's a desire by Celia and
others. It's just not happening. There seems
to be a disconnect between officers and
councillors. It comes back to the chief
executive. He's not fronting up to the
media. It's time for a new chief executive.
My feeling is he will see out the Rugby
World Cup, then resign. That's the talk.
Where do you fit on the political
spectrum -- left or right?
I don't think I can be described as red or
blue. Perhaps turquoise.
You head Enterprise Miramar Penin-
sula. You must love this area.
I do. It has so much to offer.
Yet you live in Wilton.
That decision to move was made purely
for school zoning reasons. We wanted our
boys to be in the Wellington College zone.
You're on the panel reviewing the
Wellywood sign decision. What are
I'd like to see something other than a
sign, such as a sculpture. However, it will
be a panel decision.
But the airport is free to ignore the
panel's views, isn't it?
There is a pretty robust public process
taking place. It will be harder for the air-
port to ignore the panel.
Do you think it's really that import-
Actually I do. Christchurch has been in
the news non-stop because of the
earthquakes, Auckland has the super-city
thing. Wellington . . . well, we're losing a lot
of our public servants. So it's a good time to
have something that looks at the essence of
But out in Miramar, Peter Jackson
and the rest of the Weta crew have
been great for the area.
No question. They've been brilliant. They
are also very good at looking after their
pets, incidentally. But the peninsula is
about more than just the film industry. It's
a great place for bringing up kids. You see
kids on bikes here all the time. There's a lot
of potential for business and it's the cre-
ative heart of Wellington. The military area
is very important to us. There's a huge
amount of history in the area that people
don't know about.
How's business as a vet going?
I look at my vet practices as a microcosm
of Wellington area. We have one in the Hutt
and at the moment the Hutt is hard work.
We have one in Khandallah. How can I say
this -- people in Khandallah aren't wealthy
for nothing. They hold on to their money.
Our practice in Miramar is really thriving.
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