After overseeing a range of initiatives to support rural
communities in North Otago during a three-year stint as Ahuriri
Ward councillor on the Waitaki District Council and four years
on the Ahuriri Community Board, Craig Dawson will bow out of
local politics this year.
Mr Dawson, who has strongly supported the Alps 2 Ocean cycle
trail, the Otematata buildings upgrade and the planned Kurow
street upgrade, said he will not stand for re-election in
He said ''unfair'' changes to expense allowances for
councillors had made it hard for him to juggle the demands of
sitting on the district council with the demands of running
his own seven-days-a-week business in Omarama.
''The biggest problem is travel. Every time we have a
meeting, you basically have to get in the car and drive an
hour and a-quarter.
''The other thing is they pay me 35c a km after the first
5000km. That's been pretty tough, and it basically means that
I am subsidising council for going up and down the road.
''It's not that the council is at fault, it's the
Remuneration Authority. You don't want to go out there and
make a lot of money, but you do want to cover your costs.''
Mr Dawson said the change could dissuade people from serving
as a local councillor.
''Cumbersome'' red tape had been been a constant frustration,
he said, but he enjoyed ''pushing the barrel'' for the
district's rural communities.
''I do find the council process frustrating as well. When
you're in business, you can get up in the morning and say:
`Yes, I'm going to do this', but you can't do that in
''Basically I have been there to put my hand up for funding
when we can get it and try and push the barrel for small
towns. It's been enjoyable and I have learned a lot.
''I find the community service awards very rewarding. There
are a lot of people in the small towns that work very hard
and do many many hours of unpaid work simply to keep their
small towns going and to keep them vibrant. It's been fun
working with those groups.''
Mr Dawson will continue as chairman of the Omarama Residents'