Questions for Dunedin City Council candidates

The Municipal Chambers building in the Octagon. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
The Municipal Chambers building in the Octagon. PHOTO: PETER MCINTOSH
What do the candidates in the 2019 local body election stand for? The Otago Daily Times gave nominees for the Dunedin City Council the opportunity to answer the following questions:

1   What are your goals and what should the priorities be for your council?

2   How can the council best manage the pressures from growth now facing the city?

Sophie Baker
Sophie Baker
SOPHIE BARKER

Council: Dunedin City Council.

Age: 52.

Occupation: Marketing manager, Otago Peninsula Trust.

Question 1: My goal is "Helping Dunedin Grow Smarter". The council is a very complex organisation with many decisions to make which affect the way we live and the future of our city. The role of a councillor is to act as a wise representative for our city's inhabitants. As well as addressing climate change my key priorities are to ensure that the council delivers on strategies which have already been agreed and paid for but not executed.

Question 2: Dunedin needs to decide how much and what sort of growth we want rather than a haphazard reaction to outside forces. Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance should be a mantra for the city with more emphasis paid to strategic planning and engaging consultation with residents. An example is the rapid growth of tourism which has effects upon natural resources, congestion and resident satisfaction - finding an agreeable and well-planned balance is vital.

 

David Benson-Pope
David Benson-Pope
DAVID BENSON-POPE

Council: Dunedin City Council.

Age: 69.

Occupation: City councillor, chairman DCC planning and environment committee, chairman Dunedin Heritage Fund, chairman Te Ao Turoa (Our Natural Environment), DCC representative on New Dunedin Hospital Advisory Group.

Question 1: In addition to providing quality services, the city council has a responsibility to protect, promote and enhance the unique features of our city, and to do so in a way that is affordable for all our residents. The council must continue to be the strongest advocate for the protection and retention of government services, especially our education and health services, and continue to assist with home insulation and initiatives to improve the quality of our housing.

Question 2: We must ensure development happens in appropriate locations, improve our management of existing and developing transport options, support more inner-city intensification, make our shopping precincts even more attractive, and introduce real-time information for drivers about where parking is available. Introducing the free, low or no-emission inner city bus loop circuit, is a key part of the solution and should be a priority. The review of inner-city parking capacity will inform council decisions in future budgets.

 

Sarah Davie-Nitis
Sarah Davie-Nitis
SARAH DAVIE-NITIS

Council: Dunedin City Council.

Age: 42.

Occupation: Community Board chairwoman, business services consultant and mother.

Question 1: I believe there are three principles underlying our residents' vision for Dunedin and these should be considered across all council processes and decision-making. 1) Engagement and community involvement; local knowledge and user experience can add invaluable insight in project development. 2) Resilience; strong safe communities, supported businesses and a robust city infrastructure are essential. 3) Liveability; council decisions should reflect the user-friendly lifestyle we residents value as we go about our daily lives.

Question 2: I am passionate about our city. Our user-friendly lifestyle is unique and, as detailed above, liveability is incredibly important to residents. Growth, while generally positive, poses several challenges that relate directly to liveability. The council will best manage the pressures from growth by focusing expenditure in areas that mean the most to residents, ensuring housing options are available, the ease of our commute is not compromised, and ready access to facilities and services is maintained.

 

Hugh Forsyth
Hugh Forsyth
HUGH FORSYTH

Council: Dunedin City Council.

Age: 62.

Occupation: Landscape architect.

Question 1: My goals are a compact and walkable city that has taken a sensible and planned response to its changing environmental context and provided opportunities for all of its citizens to enable them to live in Dunedin.

My priorities are:

•Infrastructure - water, waste, and roads.

•Social housing and jobs - council housing strategy and support for small to medium business.

•Change projects - city centre and harbour.

Question 2: Growth pressures include:

•Sea rise.

•Insufficient land supply.

•Inefficient land development model.

Council should respond by:

•Release of public land for social housing (under way).

•Implement a plan change to allow for urban intensification - preferably via structure plan, to ensure amenity.

•Freeze urban boundaries.

•Implement run-off and impermeable area rules.

•Provide public/private land swap and development options for urban renewal.

 

John Guthrie
John Guthrie
JOHN GUTHRIE

Council: Dunedin City Council.

Age: 67.

Occupation: International marketing strategist.

Question 1:

•Sustainability best practice.

•Sensible infrastructure action plan.

•Expand the ratepayer base - more people, more homes.

•Secure Dunedin as a "must do" tourism and event destination.

•Make Dunedin the heart of New Zealand sport - finish Logan Park development.

•Make Dunedin the "music centre of New Zealand" again.

•Regain the "heritage capital of New Zealand" title.

•Make the harbour the focus of "beautiful Dunedin".

•Protect the Town Belt.

•Our own Loch Ness monster in the Harbour Basin.

•Steepen Baldwin St.

Question 2:

•Make Dunedin City Council a happy place to work.

•Make compliance processes efficient and for, rather than against, growth.

•Lobby government for workable, effective resource management legislation.

•Ensure the council operates as a team with the objective of being for the good of Dunedin, rather than being driven by own goals, or politics.

•Have a council that focuses on excellent governance rather than being experts in operations.

•Have a strong working relationship with DCC staff.

 

Doug Hall
Doug Hall
DOUG HALL

Council: Dunedin City Council.

Age: 72.

Occupation: Company director.

Question 1: Recycling. To get the maximum amount of Dunedin's commercial and demolition waste sorted out for recycling. In the last financial year, our companies have recycled 35,000 tonnes back into a circular economy. This needs the city council's full co-operation to make this happen to maximise all the aspects of recycling.

Question 2: The 2GP should be finalised as soon as possible in the future residential zones. Priority should be given to upgrade sewerage and drainage services to these new subdivisions to bring them on stream as soon as possible.

 

Dave Hanan
Dave Hanan
DAVE HANAN

Council: Dunedin City Council.

Age: 52.

Occupation: Environmental engineer

Question 1:

•I want to see a council-owned and controlled refuse collection service (wheelie bins) as well as a recycling system that is environmentally responsible and economically efficient.

•Keep Green Island Landfill operational for as long as practically possible - (Airspace is worth approx $300million).

•Address contaminated sites in Dunedin e.g. Kettle Park and the tar tank in Hillside Rd.

•Regain control of council-controlled companies - provide better transparency to ratepayers.

•Committed to ensuring that the 3 Waters infrastructure can meet the demands of a growing city.

Question 2:

•I will strongly lobby and advocate for the hospital to be built by local Dunedin companies.

•Remove development contribution levies as this is a barrier to development.

•Investigate inner-city parking developments e.g. turn Harrop St into a three-storey parking building.

•I am committed to quality town planning that is in keeping with the broader heritage values of the city.

•Committed to ensuring a quality spend of the rates take.

 

Mutiah James
Mutiah James
MUTHIAH JAMES

Council: Dunedin City Council.

Age: 52.

Occupation: Supervisor, Space2B and Drop In centre, Church of Christ Community.

Question 1:

Goals -

•Clean and green. It is a positive climate initiative and to create a liveable city.

•Affordable rates by keeping the rates increase to 5% or below.

•Create job opportunities, working with economic development unit of DCC.

•Limit the debt by spending that is needed.

•Economic growth in tourism, sports, art and culture.

•Public engagement and transparency.

•Build a safe family friendly city.

Priorities -

•Clean and green.

•Affordable rates.

•Economic growth.

Question 2:

Housing crisis - As per DCC second generation district plan, rezoning can create 1200 homes and additional 1850 houses is earmarked for future housing. The projected demand of housing for the year 2018 to 2028 is 2850. Depends on demand, more land has to be released for development.

The waiting list on social housing has to be addressed through Ministry of Social Development.

Parking crisis in CBD - If we need more parking, it should be considered.

 

Neville K. Jemmett
Neville K. Jemmett
NEVILLE K. JEMMETT

Council: Dunedin City Council.

Age: 74.

Occupation: Self-employed contractor for 56 years.

Question 1: My goals are to provide a voice in council on several matters. Adequate all-day car parking, green waste bins provided to all householders, public submission on city improvements be held prior to making decisions, more support towards new tourism projects, infrastructure and water quality brought up to adequate standard, immediate attention to climate change programme, review of existing cycle lane construction especially on state highways, and a restructuring of consent application forms.

Question 2: Working as a team for the future growth of the city is the main aim and by attaining the relevant input from professionals and public alike, avoiding mistakes that require alteration and unnecessary extra costs to the city, as recently reported. Good consultation between council and the general public will allow for robust and fiscally secure decision-making enabling future growth and investment, while still maintaining and improving services to appropriate levels.

 

Anthony Kenny
Anthony Kenny
ANTHONY KENNY

Council: Dunedin City Council.

Age: 53.

Occupation: Business owner/general manager.

Question 1: There are many things this city needs. My priories are:

1. Roading; our roads are becoming Third World.

2. Parking supports business. We need to re-evaluate what is needed and provide it at a reasonable cost.

3. Infrastructure; looking after what we have and upgrading what needs upgrading.

4. Reducing council debt; at present we are on track to pay $40 million in interest alone each year on city borrowings. We need to reduce this spiralling debt.

Question 2: We need to embrace our distinctive qualities like the harbour, we need to have a modern infrastructure system including enhanced water and waste, footpaths, efficient public transport system that would cope with an increased population. We need to have better roading, and plan to enable through traffic away from the central city via a bypass. And we need to make it easier for businesses and people to move to and build in our unique city.

 

Marie Laufiso
Marie Laufiso
MARIE LAUFISO

Council: Dunedin City Council.

Age: 56.

Occupation: Dunedin city councillor.

Question 1: My primary goal: support more residents within Dunedin's vulnerable communities, whanau to involve themselves directly in the city's decision-making through meetings "on their own turf" with elected representatives. The DCC's overarching priority should be localism - shifting key decision-making power from central government to local communities. Localism would further strengthen our relationships with mana whenua, accelerate climate change adaptation, enhance community resilience and allow us to raise revenue through means other than mainly rates.

Question 2: While Dunedin is experiencing positive economic indicators and population growth, there are young people as well as whanau and neighbourhoods whose access to opportunities for education without discriminatory practices, living-wage employment, affordable rental housing and public transport remains severely restricted. I sincerely believe that if we took genuine care of our most vulnerable citizens, everyone else's needs would also be met.

 

Jason Lindsey
Jason Lindsey
JASON LINDSEY

Council: Dunedin City Council.

Age: 44.

Occupation: Business owner.

Question 1: My goals for the council are to help Dunedin lead New Zealand in innovation while preserving the things that make Dunedin one of the greatest small cities in the world. We need to grow clever businesses to thrive in future economies, and also to help solve some of our most difficult problems. We need to find ways to empower our communities and give them the tools to thrive.

Question 2: When managing growth in Dunedin, it is critical that infrastructure repair, maintenance and development is prioritised. It is also essential that we simplify the development of housing, not just for developers and subdivisions, but for individuals. It's also important to understand how incentivisation can help growth while getting those who benefit the most from the growth to ultimately pay for it.

 

Mike Lord
Mike Lord
MIKE LORD

Council: Dunedin City Council.

Age: 54.

Occupation: Councillor and animal breeding specialist.

Question 1: In 2018, the council signed off an ambitious 10-year plan. This included $860 million of capital spending over the life of the plan. This will be spent on roads, footpaths and other water and waste assets. While not everyone will agree with the full detail of the spend, I believe it is all vitally important and wish to see it continue. I want Dunedin to continue to be attractive to visitors and residents alike.

Question 2: While dealing with growth may seem like a problem to some, dealing with stagnation is a far bigger problem. We need to continue to reinvest in our city's infrastructure. We need to expand the economic development policy "Red Carpet not Red Tape" right across the city. This will enable and encourage business customers and residents alike who are choosing to invest in this city and make it a better place to live, work and play.

 

Russell Lund
Russell Lund
RUSSELL LUND

Council: Dunedin City Council.

Age: 55.

Occupation: Building contractor and developer.

Question 1: My specific goals are 1) to build more council-owned social housing funded by government. None is planned. 2) Support heritage allowing redevelopment to flourish. 3) Double the planned $50,000 per year on hiking and biking trails. 4) Take control of our huge debt liability and make some hard decisions to avoid the planned massive increases in rates and power charges that will, unchecked, make living in our great city unaffordable to many.

Question 2: We must streamline and be less rigid in the consenting processes for both building consents and land-use consents to relieve the housing crisis. We must be alive to new forms of transport, including driverless vehicles, and more immediately, to innovative ways of increasing parking in the city, such as car park stackers used overseas. A functioning, reliable and affordable power network is also crucial to attract or retain any form of industry, new or existing.

 

Peter Mackenzie
Peter Mackenzie
PETER MACKENZIE

Council: Dunedin City Council.

Age: 59.

Occupation: Stained-glass maker and conservator/sub-editor.

Question 1: I believe delivering Dunedin's core services is the council's most important task, so all citizens can enjoy a functional, clean city with reliable services and amenities. I support safe smooth transport with separated cycleways and would prefer to see the cheap, frequent electric trolley bus services I used as a young citizen returned. I support generous parking provision, especially near hospitals and essential services. Looking after our environmental and architectural heritage is paramount.

Question 2: Reviewing land use rules can encourage better use of existing land, such as denser communities including shared green spaces. Guardianship must be applied to land used for expansion, such that building avoids climate-change flooding or other hazard zones. Proactive drainage work is essential in South Dunedin to maintain its residential capacity, including making buildings easily elevated, or moved, where possible. Decisions need to be based on inclusive listening and evidence, not dogma or emotion.

 

John Marrable
John Marrable
JOHN MARRABLE

Council: Dunedin City Council.

Age: 63.

Occupation: Access adviser and educator.

Question 1: I am passionate about making Dunedin the most accessible city in New Zealand. This is becoming a major concern for many due to the rise in the number of persons identifying as having a disability and the rise in the number of elderly. Money also needs to be used to improve infrastructure and upgrade drainage.

Question 2: Statistics show that the population of Dunedin has grown 2.7% in the 18 months to March 2019 (with no increase from September 2018 to March 2019) and the demand for housing in Dunedin has seen an increase in consents for new homes up by 11.4%.

This is putting pressure on the council to improve infrastructure. To cope with this, the council has to prioritise projects and ensure that work is future-proofed.

 

BRIAN MILLER

No response received by publication deadline.

 

George Morris
George Morris
GEORGE MORRIS

Council: Dunedin City Council.

Age: 62.

Occupation: Teacher.

Question 1: My focus will be listening to ratepayers' concerns and hopes, collecting information regarding these and then taking them to the council. The council's priorities should focus on addressing pressing social needs e.g. affordable housing, employment, and environmental challenges. It is also important that the arts, culture, sports and recreation are supported so that Dunedin citizens have quality infrastructure to enhance the enjoyment they experience while participating in these areas.

Question 2: The best way for council to manage pressures is to be as proactive as possible so that appropriate measures are taken before such pressures become problematic. For example, I believe that the building of the new hospital will offer an opportunity to investigate better traffic flow in the centre of the city.

 

Damian Newell
Damian Newell
DAMIAN NEWELL

Council: Dunedin City Council.

Age: 47.

Occupation: Dunedin city councillor and radio broadcaster.

Question 1: My goals for the city are to continue and manage growth, this includes housing, infrastructure and traffic issues. Keeping climate change front and centre of every decision we make. I am also keen to secure a waste management site to replace Green Island as our current site expires in 2023. I will also continue to have respectful debate and make data-based decisions that will ensure our city remains the best in the country.

Question 2: Continue the renewal projects delayed for many decades, while investing in infrastructure for growth areas, i.e. Mosgiel.

Work alongside fellow councillors to form a group of all interested parties to assist the building and land acquisition process.

Continue to encourage tourism growth but ensure it is not at the expense of our local residents or the environment. Also, work closely with the ORC for the betterment of our local waterways and air quality.

 

HADLEY ROBINSON-LEWIS

No response received by publication deadline.

 

Chris Staynes
Chris Staynes
CHRIS STAYNES

Council: Dunedin City Council.

Age: 69.

Occupation: Director.

Question 1: Dunedin is in the best position it's been for many years to grow its economy and improve liveability, yet is facing its greatest challenge, the impact climate change will have on our community. My goals and the priorities I believe the council should focus on are making the most of the opportunities to strengthen our city's economy and financial position while providing the leadership and investment required to address the issues and impacts of climate change.

Question 2: With a growing city there is always a much higher risk that impacts of that growth will cause problems. The council needs to be proactive in both its forward planning of infrastructure projects to support the growth and to ensure those most likely to be affected by these projects are given information and the opportunity to input into them at the earliest possible date. Good early engagement leads to greater support and understanding when issues arise.

 

Callum Steel-Macintish
Callum Steel-Macintish
CALLUM STEELE-MACINTOSH

Council: Dunedin City Council.

Age: 19.

Occupation: Student and board member.

Question 1: My goals are lower rates, fiscally responsible environmental policy, and increased parking around the city. I want to lower the rates by cutting unnecessary spending and investing in external sources of revenue. Our current city council does this but on a smaller scale. I'd also like to decrease the price of parking, while increasing the amount available, to absorb as much of that infrastructure cost as possible.

Question 2: We can assist these pressures by maintaining and updating infrastructure in our city, reducing zoning restrictions to make it easier for new property to be built, and investing in external sources of revenue. Investing in infrastructure and environmentally friendly alternatives to the city's development will save us billions of dollars in the future, and set us up for a prosperous and stable local economy, ready for the challenges of a growing city.

 

Steve Walker
Steve Walker
STEVE WALKER

Council: Dunedin City Council.

Age: 53.

Occupation: Dunedin Wildlife Hospital chairman, company director.

Question 1: Continuing on the achievements I've made as an elected member over 12 years by calling for evidence-based decision-making, embedding social justice and returning trust and transparency to the council. As Wildlife Hospital chairman, protection of our natural environment is critical to me, along with addressing the housing crisis and a disjointed/expensive public transport system. However, all decisions on council must be taken within the context of climate change - THE CHALLENGE OF OUR GENERATION!

Question 2: As a company director I'm well aware of the challenges faced with managing growth. Our city is at an important crossroads (new hospital, city centre upgrade, waterfront development). Dunedin needs to respond to worldwide challenges (climate change, rising oil prices, stressed environments) by developing sustainable urban solutions that integrate social, economic and environmental objectives. This will not only improve how the city works/looks, but also improve how all of us live in this city.

 

Comments

Safe hands needed. NOT agression.

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