After a grueling two months of campaigning on the streets, at the shopping centres and practically every waking hour taken up with communicating with people, one way or another, everything suddenly slowed down when the results were made public. This was seemingly a nano-second after I received the phonecall from the Electoral Officer informing me I was the only new candidate to succeed. The phonecalls, texts and emails since then have been wonderful and from all over the world too.
Like many other candidates though I am disappointed at the level of voter apathy, yet again. For all the calls for “a change” Napier voters have returned all the incumbents, including Mayor Barbara Arnott. In effect I have replaced Harry Lawson who has retired after more than 20yrs of continuously re-elected service – a hard act to follow indeed.
Since the ‘big day’ I have been welcomed by my new colleagues and there are briefing sessions and of course the Triennial Meeting of the new Council to be held in the next couple of weeks. The Triennial Meeting is when the new Council members will be sworn in and I am looking forward to that ceremony with immense pride and anticipation as many of my family will be present.
Although there will only be a few meetings before the Christmas break, I am sure I will have plenty of reading material to bury myself in so I can get up to speed with my colleagues on all Council business, particularly the issues highlighted in the election campaign.
I expect 2011 to be a very busy year in terms of resolving many of the outstanding issues of the last term, many of which need decisive leadership and a vision for the future. Marine Parade encompasses many of those issues – what to do with Marineland? What to do between the playground and the Aquarium? What form of transport link from Marine Parade to Ahuriri? Where to divert trucks to from Marine Parade?
I’m very keen to start the new year discussing the issues that intersect with the HB Regional Council – Westshore beach erosion and the city’s residential leasehold land issues being two that are obvious starting points. The ongoing and rising social impact of the leases, from financial stress on lessees, especially for many elderly lessees on cross-leased properties, cannot be over-stated. The city’s commercial lessees are faring no better and that situation is a threat to the jobs we do have, let alone the jobs we want created here in the future.
I wish to sincerely thank everyone who has supported my journey onto the Napier City Council and make only one promise – that I will continue to do my best to represent people through thorough research and open community connections. I feel privileged to be elected and I take this public show of faith in my skills, knowledge and abilities very seriously.