A satanist council candidate says Whanganui should turn away from the evil of landfills and instead slash trash and recycle.
Scott Phillips is an “extreme wedding” celebrant who wants to champion waste minimisation, rainwater collection and recycling. He’s standing for Whanganui District Council.
Phillips cheerfully acknowledges that his beliefs and vocation might be confronting for some voters.
“I specialise in dark-themed weddings, including satanic, pagan, Game of Thrones, Viking, heavy metal or even Zombie Apocalypse – the more outlandish the better. It’s theatre. I’m up for anything.
“I also love cars and heavy metal. I am who I am, and I’m not afraid of that, but I don’t want it to scare people off. There’s more to me than meets the eye.”
As well as running his celebrant business Married With Metal, Phillips renovates houses and is a heritage building enthusiast.
He and his wife Trudy own the Heritage NZ-listed building The Braeburn apartments on the Whanganui riverside and the three-storey tower that once supplied water to Lake Alice Psychiatric Hospital.
It’s Phillips’ first tilt at local government. He grew up in Whanganui and left the city for some years before returning in November last year.
“Now that we’re back and I’m self-employed, I have more time. The main reason I’m standing is because I love old heritage buildings and design. I like the UNESCO City of Design status Whanganui has and I want to continue the work to preserve and advance those things.”
He’s also passionate about motor sports and wants more support for motorbike racing, like the Cemetery Circuit, as well as the jet sprints and drag-racing on Heads Road.
“There’s only a few closed-road street drag-racing events in New Zealand – people come from all over the country for it and it deserves support.”
Phillips also wants to champion heavy metal.
“Finally, Whanganui is getting a few bars that play heavy metal. While I support the arts and the art gallery as being great for our town, we can’t just think of arts and culture as the brass band or orchestra playing in the Opera House.
“We have a few good heavy metal bands here and they have a good following.”
Phillips describes himself as a non-theistic satanist – “which means I don’t believe in god but I don’t believe in satan either”.
“It’s easy for people to see the word satanist and think ‘oh my god, he worships the devil’. The opposite is true. For a non-theistic satanist, satanism is a metaphor as opposed to a literal thing. It’s more about the denial of other religions rather than it being an actual religion itself.”
Diversity of representation should not be confined to ethnicity, age, gender or LGBTQ orientation, Phillips says. The broadest range of thinking and attitudes at the council table would better represent the diversity found in the community.
Phillips says he’s not an environmentalist but neither is he a climate change denier.
“There’s no doubt that the climate is changing. It goes up and down, and weather events are having a big impact. But recycling food scraps isn’t going to stop it raining. We need real answers, and to get results you either have to mandate or incentivise.
“There are sensible ways to work through climate change as opposed to just focusing on carbon. People should take practical steps to do the things that make sense.
“Waste minimisation will have more impact, especially on an industrial scale. We should talk with industry and big business about implementing industrial recycling and waste minimisation plans.
“To make an impact on flooding events, you would collect rainwater off your roof, recycle it and have grey water systems, all contributing to reducing demand on the stormwater system.
“All new-built houses should have rainwater retention tanks and grey water systems as well as stormwater soak pits.”
Phillips says he’s all for hybrid vehicles but admits he has a soft spot for big, old gas guzzlers.
“Big cars are my hobby. I’ve got a 7.6-litre drag car, so I burn my fair share of fossil fuels. But I also used to drive a Demio and have a small car now – and I’m 6-foot-2 and 125kg. My carbon footprint is really big every so often, and really small the rest of the time.”
Phillips says he’s not affiliated to Voices For Freedom or any anti-democracy groups.
“Who are they? I have no masters and no gods. I’m not affiliated with any group. I think what I think, I like what I like. I’m quite happy in myself.
“I think I’ll be unusual among the candidates but just as there’s a wedding style for everybody, hopefully there’s a council candidate for everybody.”