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What do the candidates in the 2010 Clutha District Council election stand for? The Otago Daily Times has given all nominees the opportunity to answer two questions.
1: Voters are concerned about the level of council spending. How will you keep rates down while retaining essential services?
2: What are your goals and what should the priorities be for your council?
Hamish Anderson (see mayoralty)
Sheep and beef farmer
1. I, too, am concerned at council spending levels. We need to increase the population of the district to achieve greater efficiency of council operations.
I believe there is some scope to achieve savings within the existing infrastructure through better utilisation of the technology and labour resources currently available. The overriding problem is that we need more people in gainful employment living in the district to lower the per capita cost of council services.
2. My goal is for the Clutha district to continue as a desirable and safe place to live, work and raise a family.
To achieve this, council's priority should be to grow our permanent population by attracting and assisting the establishment of sustainable industries to the district, industry that provides new employment opportunities. This in turn would lead to the population growth the district needs to maintain a cost-effective infrastructure and ensure its future.
1. As part of a team, we as councillors would need to control spending to ensure we provided value for money. Reviewing of assets may reveal an opportunity to offset the costs and possibly reduce rates without compromising the retaining of essential services to the community.
My business experience would be advantageous in achieving the most suitable direction and decisions.
2. The consultative survey conducted with the community in conjunction with the annual plan process has identified and prioritised projects and preferred options on how they should be funded.
My goal is to represent the constituents in my ward and be part of a progressive team, making decisions that are in the best interests of the Clutha district moving forward. My ability to think outside the square will add value to the collective decisions that are made.
Real estate agent
1. As our core services and infrastructure deprec-iates, council needs strategies in place to meet those demands.
If elected, I will ensure that any cost-benefit analysis implemented will show transparency and accountability on all decisions made so rate increases are minimised when replacement of infrastructure and services take place.
Projects that require unnecessary spending will not be a consideration, but I will support any business or enterprise which shows initiative and innovation that will benefit ratepayers.
2. Ensure council is keeping within the constraints of its spending power. All council decisions should be transparent and accountable.
Council's first consideration has to be its core activities. The district's wealth is very dependent on population growth and stabilisation. Therefore, council's support for local businesses to ensure their sustainability and, in turn, job security is paramount.
Gaye Edwards (66)
1. Essential services need to be maintained, so that must be council's priority. Keeping rates down, yet maintaining the level of essential services that everyone expects, is not a practical option.
All additional spending on council projects should be prioritised to meet those options which bring maximum benefit to our district. If elected to council, it will be my first term, so it will take time to fully understand the council's fiscal responsibilities, strategies and policies.
2. Be available for people; listen and ensure the public are fully consulted about council business.
Promotion and support of local industries and facilitation of job opportunities particularly, for our young folk. Tourism, promotion of our district. Making this district an attractive place to live.
Although not council's responsibility, the lack of adequate medical cover is a big concern for everyone. I will encourage council to investigate ways it can assist the Clutha Health Board.
Declined invitation to respond
Chris Hargest (44)
1. The key issue is dealing with a declining population and ensuring that rates stretch to cover essential services. One of the ways to keep rates down is to attract and retain new residents.
With an increasing population, rates would be spread over a greater number of ratepayers. By increasing the population, it allows us to enhance our existing services, as well as looking at initiatives that provide benefit for everyone in the district.
2. My goal would be to grow our local economy through increased employment opportunities that are sustainable. While it is important to maintain essential services, it is equally important we spend money on new infrastructure.
We have some exciting projects which include the swimming pool upgrade, the new Clutha Recreation Centre, Library refurbishment, recycling and main street improvements. Priorities such as these will enhance Balclutha and bring benefits to all residents of the Clutha district.
Kaylene Holland (47)
Public health organisation manager
1. Ratepayers and communities need to know that all services, including essential services, are provided and funded in the most cost-effective way.
Without having had the benefit of council experience, and given the extent of recent rate increases and the difficult economic climate for many of our community, my general comment is I would expect every cost to be scrutinised to ensure the benefit to the community warrants that expenditure, essential or non-essential.
2. My priorities are the maintenance of council-deemed and evaluated priority services. These include roading, water (quality and availability), council-owned housing, and the improvement and beautification of our town centres and community facilities.
Further, I would anticipate investment in programmes and initiatives to create, develop and support new, robust business opportunities that will potentially grow our population, our local economy and the domestic wealth of our community.
Mary Johnstone (51)
Electrician, company director
1. As a councillor, I am aware I share the responsibility of minimising your costs while retaining and maintaining essential services for now and the future. As a tradesperson and businesswoman, I have a good understanding of infrastructure, its workings, its cost and value.
The success of the Kaka Point sewerage system using ground-breaking technology with savings of over $200,000 is an example of how our council saves money.
2. We need to make our district more attractive to retain you, and encourage new residents. The lack of doctors and the significant increase in employees commuting from Dunedin, are some of the indications that we need to act.
People today look at the whole package - jobs, growth, recreation, retail, restaurants, health services, culture. With an increased population, individual rates costs are reduced, and the value in our property is retained.
1. It is very difficult to keep rates down while trying to maintain our assets and still move forward for the benefit of our district. Unfortunately, sacrifices need to be made in order to achieve this.
We need to continue regular maintenance on our assets to keep everything in good condition, to avoid a large capital outlay or having to do total replacements of essential assets.
2. To represent our communities at council to the best of my ability. To continue consulting with the community to enable me to receive their ideas, priorities and opinions and try to implement any changes or ideas.
Council priorities need to be to listen to what our communities need and want, while trying to attract new business and people to our district to halt the declining population. Having more people will divide the rates.
Douglas Keen (54)
1. In order to keep rates down while retaining essential services I would ensure that all members of council are actually worth the money they are being paid. I would also look at ways of rationalising all core services of council to avoid duplication.
2. My goals are to listen to the wishes of all constituents, and wherever possible action them. One of my major priorities in Bruce ward is to ensure proper kerbing, channelling and footpath placement is completed, as these have already been paid for through the rating system.
Also to ensure that other major infrastructure, such as sewerage and water, is upgraded as required under the current Resource Management Act and comply with said Act requirements.
Bruce McCorkindale (50)
Investor, agricultural consultancy
1. I believe the council has been very good at keeping spending under tight control and at seeking and gaining non ratepayer funding support for some essential infrastructure (eg water supply upgrades and fluoridation). We have taken a calculated risk in setting up a biofiltro plant at Kaka Point to deal with sewage, which is proving very successful and saving a huge amount of capital investment and will now be looked at for other communities.
2. To continue to make Clutha a better place to live, work, play, raise families and to set up and operate businesses. We need to make some changes to the rating system so that significant community facility expenditure is rated to better match with those who benefit (as proposed for the new Clutha Recreation Centre).
Finding cost effective solutions to waste minimisation and recycling is a high priority, as is looking after and improving our roading.
Bruce Vollweiler (55)
1. I am, as I think all councillors are, very conscious of the impact of rates increases. Every year, as part of the annual/long-term plan process, we scrutinise proposed expenditure line by line.
Council decision-making is about weighing up the need and desirability of services and facilities and their costs and affordability, so as to achieve the best overall results for our district. The community has a major role in articulating this vision.
2. My goal is to be an effective representative for my community and the district as a whole - being aware of local issues, listening to residents' concerns and taking these to council, and helping shape council decisions and explain these to the community.
Priorities for council are to maintain and, where possible, enhance existing services. Council also needs to help identify opportunities that will attract both people and business to our district, and facilitate development.
Declined invitation to respond.
Kevin Thompson (73)
1. To keep rates at an affordable level, I believe, is a team effort by councillors and staff, all of whom I have great respect for. Continue to support the tender system for services where practical.
Continue to pressure the New Zealand Transport Agency for a high subsidy for major works such as new sealing. Be practical and sincere when considering applications for extra rates funding subsidies for projects being investigated.
2. Continue to support and work closely with Enterprise Clutha, the Chamber of Commerce, Agricultural Development Board and the Four Trades Apprenticeship Scheme. Promote and maintain jobs and businesses in the Clutha district and attempt to halt population decline.
Attract finance from central government to counter the costs of infrastructure upgrades to provide for tourism needs, and sewerage and water upgrades. Keep roading maintenance to a high standard while being efficient in the process.
No election required in the Clinton, Clutha Valley and Kaitangata-Matau wards