Ajay Bal long time Flat Bush resident is standing for Howick Local Board, Botany subdivision 2022 elections. He represents team #WeknowBotany along with Peter Young. Ajay is a successful entrepreneur and a licensed Immigration Advisor.
Q. What made you gravitate towards a public role in local politics?
I’ve always been community-oriented and have been involved with neighbourhood support work and migrant support services. I’ve hosted several cultural events and have been a member of the New Zealand National Party, and I’ve always felt that I could contribute more towards local communities. This has pushed me to stand for the Howick Local Board elections to keep east Auckland moving forward.
Q. Tell us a little about your background?
My wife and I have lived in east Auckland for nine years, together with our two children. As a dedicated father of two, and an experienced entrepreneur and small business owner, I understand what we need to grow as a community and as a country. Being an immigration advisor and immigrant myself, I know first hand the benefits and values we bring to our community.
I have a Master’s in Business Management and am owner-operator of Novelty Sweets, an authentic Indian Sweets and restaurant with three stores across New Zealand, two in Auckland and one in Christchurch. I’ve got business interests in furniture, appliances retails sector and motels.
Q. In your profession you bring people from different countries. What is the role you play in terms of helping them settle down in a new country?
It is a culture shock for most people who come from different countries to New Zealand as we do things differently – in terms of work culture, business, education, law and order, investments and how the taxation system works. I help my clients to settle down by giving them a further understanding of how systems work in New Zealand.
Q. What are the local issues you are passionate about?
In the last eight to nine years there has been a lot of congestion on the roads in east Auckland. Flat Bush is a newly developed area and it’s been very unsafe as developers have made it very tough to navigate the narrow by-lanes in Flat Bush area with not enough parking spots.
We also need to make our roads safer for our children especially during school runs. There is one particular dangerous school intersection at Donegal Park Drive in Flat Bush and Dawson Road corner in South Auckland with lots of accidents happening … these issues need to be addressed.
If elected in the Howick Local Board, Botany subdivision, I will come up with strategies on how we can work with the Council and Auckland Transport to implement plans on making our roads safer.
There are lots of health and safety issues that we will be discussing on behalf of local businesses that are really struggling with break-ins every day. There is such a feeling of uncertainly and insecurity as they are broken into any time of the night or day. The insurance premiums are hitting the roof and it is becoming increasing difficult for locals to run small businesses. There is no support from Council. We will be looking at how to best protect their interests.
Also, with the alarming number of car thefts and ram-raids in Botany and Flat Bush areas and we’d like to work with the local police and offer close support so that they can take action. More CCTVs need to be connected.
Right now when people complain to the police they are asked if they have insurance. We need to sit down with the Police and come up with an action plan to stop robberies and car thefts in our local areas.
In terms of healthcare our community in east Auckland is not served well by the current health infrastructure. We need better access to healthcare, especially hospitals. I believe taxpayers’ dollars are better invested in new hospitals and drawing in on overseas talent to fill skill shortages than allocating funds for cycling lanes.