SHARE

With local elections looming The News spoke to some of Central Otago’s elected representatives about their plans come October.

We put three questions to them  – 1. How many terms have you served on council/community board?  2. Do you intend to stand again in the 2022 local elections?  3. From your experience, what do you see as the biggest challenge facing your community?  4. Anything else you would like to add?

See their responses below.

Neil Gillespie – Central Otago deputy mayor
1. How many terms have you served on the Central Otago District Council?
I was first elected to the Cromwell Community Board in 1998 and then elected to Council in 2001 so in my 8th term on the CCB and 7th on Council.
2. Do you intend to stand for the Central Otago District Council in the upcoming local body election?
Yes, I do intend to stand for CODC in the 2022 elections. I still have the same passion that got me involved in local government 24 years ago and along with the other elected members will strive to ensure the community has the appropriate levels of service, provides for growth of the district into the future while ensuring the costs are balanced against the benefits for ratepayers and make sure that Cromwell and the rest of the District is fit for the future generations – I want my children to be able to come back to a community that will provide them with an environment that’s as good as they had when they were growing up!
3. From your experience on the council, what do you see to be the biggest challenges facing your community at the moment?
We are being challenged by the speed of growth that is taking place within the District and its surrounds. That growth has a cost that current and future residents have to meet and combined with the ever increasing costs of maintaining the current levels of service will need us all to work together to ensure that this costs are as manageable as they can be.
Martin McPherson – Central Otago District Council
1. I was first elected to the Vincent Community Board in 1995, so nine terms I think
That was my first term with the community board. I stood for council in 2001, six years later.
2. Yes. It looks to be the last term of the Central Otago District Council as we know it, and being a bit of an old hand I would like to be there and help the community go through these changes that are being hoisted upon us.
3. I think there are a number. I think there’s a lot of stuff coming out of Wellington – Three Waters, amalgamation, co-governance and as a representative it’s my job to carry the community through these changes.
The unprecedented growth Central Otago is going through and how we manage that and how we maintain the things that make us the community that we are.
4. I enjoy the role that I have had on council and I hope that I have an opportunity to continue on into the future. But I also encourage anybody else who wishes to consider picking up the challenge.
Tamah Alley – Central Otago District Council
1. I’m currently in my first term as an elected member.
2. Yes! I have found local government incredibly interesting, challenging and rewarding, and there are many exciting opportunities and challenges ahead for our region that I would love to remain engaged with.
3. Three waters is definitely the buzz word on everyone’s minds right now, but probably even more important is RMA reform, and what this will mean for how our communities are shaped in the future. We need to ensure a wide variety of interests are championed for our region in these reforms, as we are incredibly diverse here in Central Otago.
Stu Duncan – Central Otago District Council
1. 3 terms
2. Yes
3. Lack of being heard in small rural communities.

 

Anna Harrison – Cromwell Community Board
1. This is my second term on the Cromwell Community Board
2. Yes – I intend to stand in the upcoming elections. We are just at the start of some major infrastructure upgrades for Cromwell and I would like to see them through to the next stage of visible action for our community.
3. Population growth continues to be both a bonus and a challenge for Cromwell. Making sure that we have housing and infrastructure to meet the needs of a growing population and the role of the Community Board in this are key considerations. We also have a challenges to get our big-ticket infrastructure programmes (the rebuild of the memorial hall and the redevelopment of the Cromwell town centre) through the important planning phases and then get them progressing along.
4. It is a privilege to serve the community as an elected member of the Cromwell Community Board. Cromwell is a growing, dynamic, and changing town and our community is becoming more diverse. Cromwell is a great place to live, work and play and I want to be part of ensuring that it continues to be for all the people who choose to come and make their home here.
Stephen Jeffery – Central Otago District Council
1. Three
2. Still considering, I gave myself until June to decide.
3. As a councillor my community is CO but I am assuming you’re referring to the community I live in. The Teviot Valley where I live has a high %age of retiree’s with limited income, unfortunately rates along with utilities are rising. There are concerns and uncertainty relating to three waters being removed from CODC control. The viability of CODC once three waters is removed. The removal of Three waters could potentially lead to council amalgamations. Will small communities still have a voice ?. Retaining services is a real concern, examples being the Rest home and medical services, challenging in smaller rural communities. Fibre installation, many residents questioning why this technology is not available across the Teviot Valley. The Lake Onslow project, concerns are being raised about the impact a project of this size will have on a small rural community, obviously there will be positive economic benefits but at what cost ?.
4. Yeah, why didn’t you ask what we saw as the biggest challenges facing council
Nigel McKinlay – Central Otago District Council
1. Three terms.
2. Have yet to decide.
3 & 4
There is a ministerial inquiry into the future of local government that will report back to parliament in April 2023. Based on the speed of change this government has applied in other sectors, if it is returned to power next year in the general election then it is highly likely that local body elections and the composition and make up of councils as we know them will be substantially altered.
A major part of any reforms will almost certainly include centralisation and amalgamation of councils. As part of any such process it is very probable that community boards will dramatically change and be weaker.
Local government reform is being driven by :
— 3 Waters reform.
— Resource Management Act reform.
— The ministerial inquiry into the future of local government.
— Changes in how The Treaty of Waitangi is interpreted by government.
These changes are being applied at speed and in no logical manner with confusing and overlapping impacts.
I think the reform programme in its present form is ill judged and risks having a bad impact on our district. Our system of local government in Central Otago is sound. Reform is needed, especially to our funding model and around the workloads imposed by central government. But If we attempt to do too much too quickly we will lose local control and local democracy. We need evolution, what we are facing is a revolution.
The central challenge that faces both our council and community is that there are fundamental constitutional changes being put forward about how local government is run in NZ. The changes are being driven by central government. They say they are consulting with the community but, as we have seen with 3 Waters, consultation can end up being little more than a sham.
If people have views about what should or shouldn’t change in local democracy and local government, they should make their views known.
Anna Robinson – Vincent Community Board
1. This is my first term.
2. No. I am focusing my time on family and work, so unfortunately cannot give consideration or time required to serve on the community board for the next triennium.
3. Working out how the current community want to work toward their own satisfaction and wellbeing balanced with providing for and planning for the future community.
Looking at aspects such as housing affordability and opportunity to diversify thinking and planning in this space, supporting the changes required to increase resilience in the community while facing climate change, population change, challenges in ‘business as usual’.
4.. Serving the community as an elected representative is one place where people can help make a difference for their community. It is also important to come to these community board and council meetings where possible and appropriate to speak as community to the council, elected representatives, and let your voice be heard!
Shirley Calvert – Central Otago District Council
1. How many terms have you served on the Central Otago District Council?
3 terms
2. Do you intend to stand for the Central Otago District Council in the upcoming local body election? Why/Why not?
No. I have always said I would serve for three terms if elected for three. It is time for someone else to take up the task and bring fresh ideas and enthusiasm to the debating table.
3. From your experience on the council, what do you see to be the biggest challenges facing your community at the moment?
The ability to get good people who will truly represent the voices and interests of their communities and to get those voices heard at both local and national governance levels.
4. Anything else you would like to add?
I am especially pleased to see the achievements and improvements in Cromwell over my time. Many of these have happened as a direct result of actions that have come from the Community Plans and promoted and advocated for through the Cromwell and Districts Community Trust. The access to Lake Dunstan, The Lake Dunstan Cycle Trail, Mokihi Trust plantings, The Lake Dunstan Charitable Trust to name a few, are projects that I am particularly proud to have had a hand in supporting, to bring these to fruition.
1. 3 terms
2. No. I have always said I would serve for three terms if elected for three. It is time for someone else to take up the task and bring fresh ideas and enthusiasm to the debating table.
3. The ability to get good people who will truly represent the voices and interests of their communities and to get those voices heard at both local and national governance levels.
4. I am especially pleased to see the achievements and improvements in Cromwell over my time. Many of these have happened as a direct result of actions that have come from the Community Plans and promoted and advocated for through the Cromwell and Districts Community Trust. The access to Lake Dunstan, The Lake Dunstan Cycle Trail, Mokihi Trust plantings, The Lake Dunstan Charitable Trust to name a few, are projects that I am particularly proud to have had a hand in supporting, to bring these to fruition.
Ian Cooney – Central Otago District Council
1. This is my first term.
2. Undecided. Considerations are the workload involved in the Council role and its impacts upon work and family life. I am a solo father to 3 primary school aged children, and I manage an Aged Care Facility. I also have a spinal condition called scoliosis which can at times impact upon my ability to contribute.
3. Infrastructure affordability. Loss of local representation. Central Government mandates. Operational centralisation.
4. I would like to thank Mayor Tim, my portfolio lead and Deputy Mayor Neil, fellow elected members, both Council and Vincent Community Board, council staff, and members of our communities for being so welcoming and accommodating during this term.
Cushla Aitchison – Teviot Community Board
1. One term
2. No, I am not running again. Stepping down due to other commitments.
3. Onslow Damn Project ‘if it does go ahead’.
4. I have really enjoyed my time on the Teviot Valley Community Board.