Matthew Small | Hamilton City Council | Hamilton West

This blog is part of a series of blogs profiling all candidates standing for Councils across the region who are 35 or under as we aim to increase youth engagement in local politics. Seed Waikato is non-partisan.

Matthew lives in Nawton and works as a Disability Support Worker.

Matthew grew up in a low income household, that struggled each week living paycheck to paycheck. He grew up seeing domestic violence at home because of the stress of having little money. His mother currently works as a cleaner and his father and sister are unemployed.

With support from his teachers and extended family members, he was the first person in his family to successfully pass NCEA/School Certificate and gain university entrance. Matthew has been in and out of study, but decided to take a long term break, because his mental health/family issues were affecting his grades.

Matthew will be advocating on four main issues if elected: How council can help increase the supply of housing faster, keeping rate increases as low as possible, improving the management of our city assets and making sure Hamilton is an accessible city to live for all residents.

“If you want a future city councillor that will advocate and focus on housing, assets, affordable rates and an accessible city for all then #votesmallthinkbig.”

- Matthew Small

You can keep up with Matthew on his:

Q&A with Matt!

1.     What is your vision for the city?

  • Working together with central government and developers to increase the supply of housing. Rents on average have gone up by $30 in the past year and if there isn't a plan to change that rents and house prices will continue to go up.

  • Improve the management of our city assets so we can save money and invest in more core services around the city.

  • Make Hamilton a more accessible city by focusing on upgrading footpaths and more accessible playgrounds.

  • Make sure rate increases are affordable for residents on low-middle/fixed incomes don't continue to struggle with the high cost of living.

2. Why did you decide to run in this year’s elections?

After coming last in the recent by-election, I decided I was going to have another go, work and campaign harder and go and meet more people, listen and hear what residents have to say.

The four key areas I am campaigning on need serious attention around the city. If we don't do anything about them our most vulnerable will suffer.

Council needs to have a voice that won't go around promising things, they need a voice that will work hard and advocate on your behalf. 

3. What are your top 3 priorities in your campaign?

  • Finding better ways of increasing the supply of housing.

  • Improving the management of our city assets.

  • Making Hamilton a more accessible city for all.

4. What’s been your biggest learning in your campaigning?

Learning not to worry about all of the trolls online, there aren't many of them, the majority of residents I meet like what I have to say.

5. What do you think needs to be done to engage young people in voting?

  • Councillors being more accessible, not just in an election year. All they have to do is make time or go to events where young people are.

  • Have an active social media account for three years and not just in an election year. Councillors should also run it themselves so they can actually talk to the people.

  • Inviting school students for a tour around the council buildings, going to a council meeting and having an event with all local council members.

  6. What skills and experience do you bring to the table?

Having someone that has experienced and knows what hardship feels like will bring better decisions around the council table. I have been a Disability Support Worker for nearly 7 years and have seen the accessibility issues around the city from another angle.

I was the chairperson of a regional youth organisation for a short time and experienced the positive and negative parts of being in a leadership position.

7. What sets you apart from other candidates?

We are all different and all have different values we believe in. I'm not going to say I'm better than them, it's up to the residents to make a judgment call on all of us when they vote.


Click the image to listen to Matt’s 15-minute radio interview on Free FM’s Free Choice show.

Click the image to listen to Matt’s 15-minute radio interview on Free FM’s Free Choice show.