Sunday, 23 September 2007

Local Body Election Candidates' Forum

Waikouaiti Coast-Chalmers Ward and Waikouaiti Coast Community Board Candidates

The Waitati Candidates' Forum committee organised a "Meet the
Candidates" evening for 24 September at Waitati Hall. As part of this
forum we requested Candidates written responses to the following two
Question One: "What challenges/opportunities do you see for our
coastal communities?"
Question Two: "How would you, as a Community Board Member/Councillor,
work to improve participation in local democracy?"

Andy Barratt (Community Board)
1: Our communities, like those throughout New Zealand and the wider
world beyond, face the enormous challenges posed by the twin threats
of "peak oil" and climate change. At every level, from national and
local government to formal and informal community groups, we will have
to learn to adapt to what may well be quite radical problems. Oil and
petroleum-based products will become more expensive and eventually
more scarce; changes to climate are more difficult to predict, but
sea-level rise and (in our region) greater proneness to drought appear
to be more or less inevitable.
I believe that we can meet the challenge of living sustainably. I also
believe that the need to work collectively towards that goal must also
be understood as an opportunity for us to build on the spirit that has
sustained our communities ever since they came into existence.
2: I really do not know at present what efforts the Board has made in
this respect. I also know that it is extremely difficult, especially
in these days when everyone complains of having insufficient time to
devote to community issues, to find workable solutions to what is a
perennial problem of any democratic system. That said, I think that
the Board has to overcome the problem of how it is perceived by many
of the local residents I have spoken to. I would certainly want to
help explore ways of communicating with our local people, by making
greater use of available media, through the internet and by opening up
fruitful lines of dialogue with local groups.

Gerard Collings (Community Board)
1: Our community (unique in terms of Dunedin City) with a large rural
area, five distinct and diverse townships in, Waitati, Warrington,
Seacliff, Karitane, and Waikouaiti. All with differing expectations
and aspirations, competing with metropolitan needs.
Managing the potential effects of climate change – we must fully
understand the potential implications of climate change on our
communities so that we can provide informed decisions and direction.
Providing for sustainable growth within our communities – for our
communities to remain affordable we must provide for growth, this
needs to be planned so as not to impact on the existing values we all

2: Participating in democracy means different things to different
people. Some chose to be proactive, some reactive and some inactive,
yet all play a part in our local democracy. The Board need to obtain a
better understanding of how our Community wish to participate.
Increasing participation is an issue that cannot sit with individual
board members; it is something the Board will have to work at as a
whole. To increase the community's participation in local democracy we
must as a Board increase our participation in the community by
engaging dialogue as part of a team not as individuals.

Nancy Higgins (Community Board)
1: Climate change and peak oil are our biggest challenges as a coastal
community. We need to reduce our carbon emissions and our reliance on
oil, while at the same time improve our environment, in order to
mitigate the effects of these challenges. However, this can also be
seen as an opportunity for us to focus away from 'big' expensive
projects and do more things locally, get to know our community and its
strengths. It also provides us with a clear incentive to clean up and
improve our reserves, local waste, water, and transport services.
2: I would work toward making certain that Board meetings are well
advertised through the re-establishment of the Community Board
newsletter, existing newsletters, and local notice boards. I believe
that the beginning of every meeting should be a half-hour forum in
which members of the Community can come to talk with the Board without
having to be listed on the agenda. I also believe that local groups
(for example POWA, Warrington Reserve Committee, Residents'
Associations) should be asked specifically to meet with the Board at
least once during the year so that the Board keeps up to date with
current community issues.

Murray Holland (Community Board)
1: The Waikouaiti Coastal Community Board comprises several diverse
communities, each with their own lifestyles. A magnificent part of the
country - we are fortunate to live in such an area. The Board's
challenge is to provide D.C.C. core services to all communities at
reasonable cost, also to provide good communication services (roads to
our vast Rural Area), zoning issues and town planning currently
underway are of special interest to me.
Solid waste disposal by way of a new transfer station should be
centrally located to cover the Wards area. Roading and Footpaths are
being improved as funds allow. Opportunities – endless! (Eco Tourism,
Arts and Crafts, Forestry).
2: Democracy is "the peoples choice" and their right to vote. I will
always uphold this principal and consult with the Ward's Residents.

Mark Shawn Hunter (Community Board)
1: As elected representatives, we need to be accountable and work as a
team in offering common sense solutions in the best interest of the
wider community. While continuing to deliver essential services that
are of importance to the Waikouaiti-Coast area, we need to satisfy the
wants and needs of the diverse communitites which make up the area
while keeping environmental issue in mind. Assisting to promote
employment opportunities through the development of new and support of
existing local enterprises to keep the community sustainable, alive
and vibrant.
2: We need to encourage and engage more constituents in the local
process, this can only happen if they are advised in advance upcoming
events, what and when they are, this giving them time to prepare and
participate fully. I see my role in this by being visible within the
community and available if and when required.
We need continue the work already underway by the existing board of
advising highlights, recent and future events via the local news
magazines, but adding the representatives contact details so their
issues can be addressed.

Alasdair Morrison (Community Board)
1: Mitigating effects of climate change, particularly regarding
coastal erosion, exploring more efficient waste disposal methods, more
efficient use of water supply, including some use of rain water, safe,
sensible and sustainable policies regarding land use and development,
Exploring the establishment of new and sustainable businesses,
building on the establishment of the Orokonui Ecosanctuary to increase
public awareness of our natural environment, fostering a greater sense
of 'community', providing more facilities and opportunities for our
young people, improving traffic and pedestrian safety and comfort,
improving our community civil defence preparedness.

Ron Park (Community Board)
1: Problems to be sorted are sewerage, water, transport, law
enforcement, the attraction of new local business.
2: Work under the current Government Regulations, but locally the
forum needs to be held later in the meeting. Better reporting in the
media of the meeting's proceedings plus a newsletter for the notice

Geraldine Tait (Community Board)
As Geraldine is also standing for Council, we have chosen to place her
responses later

John Nielson (Council)
1: Natural Challenges: coastal erosion, protecting sand dunes. Human
Challenges: coping with a static/declining population, urbanisation of
low lying coastal areas, establishment of new industry, for example
tourism associated business (ecosanctuary), intensive horticulture
(grapes) and aquaculture, expansion of existing industry for example
poultry; possible SH1 re-alignment (Waitati, Waikouaiti, Leith
Saddle), treatment of human generated effluent in small urbanised
communities viz sewage treatment plants v septic tanks; seal extension
and widening of Shortcut Road Waitati, upgrading Green Road, Waitati,
making sure the area is not forgotten by the urban city councillors.
2: Having been on the Chalmers Community Board for 11 years there
seems to be a lot of public apathy to use the council facilities
already provided to improve public participation in local democracy.
Very few members of the public bother to attend the local Annual Plan
meetings even though these are well advertised, relevant material is
presented professionally and the public are encouraged to use the
community board's Public Forum to address local concerns. This is not
solely an elected member's responsibility to improve public
participation in local democracy it also requires a positive response
from the public to make it happen.

Andrew Noone (Council)
1: One of the greatest challenges I see for our whole ward, and
particularly the coastal areas, is effective administration of the
District Plan, to support and cater for appropriate development while
retaining our key characteristics. The Waikouaiti Coast-Chalmers Ward
is spread from Logan Park to Flag Swamp and each of its different
areas are facing the same challenge.
Effective and grounded consideration of those key characteristics is
vital especially when we consider the potential impact of climate
change. Our vulnerable coastal settlements need robust decision making
when it comes to building and maintaining infrastructure and assets.
2: I believe the most effective way to encourage such participation is
to ensure opportunities to take part are widespread and easy to
access. It is always up to individuals whether they choose to voice
their opinion on local government matters, but I work hard to ensure
everyone has an opportunity to be heard, at least by me, if not
through a formal process. I am available around the clock and always
take care to listen to the community when I am out and about, even if
residents don't wish to make their comments official.

Geraldine Tait (Council)
1: Global challenges: climate change, rising transport fuel prices and
the resulting economic and environmental impacts.
Dunedin challenges: the climate will be drier with more frequent heavy
rain events, coastal erosion, cost of living will rise hugely creating
stresses for many families, need to find better solutions for waste.
Local challenges: providing good public transport so people can get to
work and school, finding local solutions for cheaper energy, good
quality water and food
Local opportunities: great environment, many resources, a community
which is able to work together, exciting projects like Orokonui
Ecosanctuary, which help to protect and enhance biodiversity.
2: Democracy is best fostered by firstly people being well informed
about issues which may have an impact on them. Both the Community
Board and the Ward Councillor have an important role letting local
people know about actions and polices of council. I have a long
history of organising public meetings, putting up posters and
generally sticking my neck out. Once people know about the issues then
they must get an opportunity to have their say, to be consulted and
listened to! I have encouraged many people to bring concerns to the
Community Board and write submissions to the DCC.

From the Candidates' Forum organisers: Please make an informed choice
and exercise your democratic right! It is time to vote!

Questions and answers compiled by Sue Hensley, Darryl Short, John
Kaiser, Wendy Harrax, Derek Onley, Rosemary Penwarden and Scott
Willis; edited by Peter Dowden

From and 'Blueskin News' published by Blueskin Media:
voluntary/non-profit community publishers in Blueskin Bay (Seacliff,
Warrington, Evansdale, Waitati, Doctors Point), Dunedin, New Zealand.
All our material is "copyleft" and may be freely re-edited and
republished. If you want to credit the source it's "".

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