I will not be able to achieve near as much as a councillor compared to what had hoped if I had become Mayor but I will be doing all I can to bring about changes I believe are necessary.
I hope my education, experience, interests, and background provide a unique combination of skills that will enable me to make a useful contribution to council.
Council needs to align its modus operandi to the highly competitive real world, and not be a monopoly provider, shielded from reality by statute. I certainly want more disclosure and greater transparency.
I intend to focus on improving the economy. We remain near the bottom of all key economic and social ratings and there is little evidence of success in lifting our standard of living.
I believe more effort is needed to reduce cost of local government to improve affordability. Unnecessary council charges simply adds to living costs and makes us all poorer.
Enterprise must not be discouraged by unnecessary costs, or council generated impediments. It is the private sector, not Government or local Government that creates most real wealth.
I still believe we must upgrade Hawke’s Bay airport so we can attract other airlines and possibly even direct flights to Australia if we are to prosper.
Our visitor market is in the doldrums and unless we act appropriately it will continue to contract, creating hardship for many businesses. Our manufacturing and other businesses need to communicate and trade freely with the rest of the world. I believe on average Hawke’s Bay travellers are paying as much as $100 more per flight than they should be. If multiplied by the 400 000 passengers passing though the airport this equates to a $40 million annual cost.
We must expect even higher fuel prices and must provide better and more competitive access in the future. As it happens air travel is not as energy extravagant as some would have us believe. Flying to Auckland typically uses less then half the fuel as a person travelling travelling on their own by car.
Construction has a high labour content and is one easy way of boosting our economy at no cost to the community. Council handling of building consents needs improving with more consistency, and helpfulness without compromising standards.
We need the sort of financial boost comparable sized urban centres such as Hamilton. Palmerston North and Dunedin receive from Universities and military bases. I believe Hawke’s Bay fails to gain a fair share of Government spending. For example both the present and previous administrations refused to contribute to the airport development yet do not hesitate to pour billions into projects such as the Eden Park upgrade in Auckland.
Population statistics show conclusively people are leaving in droves. I want to do more to stop our brightest leaving because they perceive we have little to offer them.
The amount of traffic commuting on the expressway between Hastings and Napier shows something is amiss with urban planning. Clearly public transport is not meeting the requirements of most people, yet still requires over $1 million a year in subsidy.
While council planning processes extend 10 years into the future they tend to be simple extrapolations of the present. I think we can do better and I hope I can contribute to better future proofing during my term.