I have demonstrated and proven leadership experience and a track record of hard work, honesty and integrity in community governance and Council.
Nelsonians deserve a Council that is committed to them and their needs, with an eye on national and international trends, issues, and best practice. Nelson City Council needs to be united in its passion for Nelson and its commitment to do what’s best for Nelson, today and for the future.
I have championed and lead community projects and infrastructure including the extension and roll-out of broadband and mobile networks, smokefree community facilities, shared planning and service delivery by the Nelson and Tasman councils, enhanced public transport, extension of cycleways, establishment of the Accessibility for All regional forum, and securing external funding from central government and grant bodies to reduce ratepayer contributions to core infrastructure and community facilities.
Our natural resources are essential for our economy, our health and our way of life. A collaborative approach is essential to address some of the critical environmental issues within Nelson City and the region as a whole. In particular, we need to be working with the community, businesses, and our neighbouring councils to address climate change, air quality, and our waterways. Enhancing initiatives and actions to reduce waste production and waste to landfill as well as enhancing recycling, e-waste and green waste services are also essential.
Strategic planning, professional project management and robust financial oversight are critical for good infrastructure management and delivery. Not only do we need to prioritise expenditure, but we also need to look at better use of our existing infrastructure. Strong asset management is critical to ensure money is being spent on the right projects, at the right time, and with the right solutions. We cannot afford to have backlogs of core infrastructure. And when planning our asset management, we need to take a “whole of life” approach – construction, operation, maintenance and disposal.
Rating affordability will continue to be a key driver in Council’s decision-making. It’s a delicate balance between rating affordability and maintaining core services and supporting projects and activities that will reap returns for the region, be it economic, social, cultural or environmental. The rating model is not sustainable so we need to look at disposing of non-performing assets, supporting greater self-reliance within the community, helping to grow our economy and opportunities for businesses, and re-prioritising and reducing expenditure.
Collaboration and co-operation are two key methods Councils can utilise to make cost savings and gain efficiencies. Shared services may be undertaken with our neighbouring Councils, Tasman and Marlborough as well as all-of-Government purchasing and service-delivery arrangements. Shared services may also be best delivered in conjunction with the community or private sector. Saxton Field is a good example of Nelson and Tasman councils working together, but we need to strengthen our relationship so that we can deliver more, deliver better and deliver more cost-effectively as well as learn from each other.
At the heart of everything we do needs to be communication. Not only do we need to “talk to” our residents and ratepayers, but more importantly we need to listen to them. Our communities and communities of interest have diverse needs and interests and we need to ensure that we talk, listen, consult, engage and empower our ratepayers, residents, community groups and businesses, in order to truly understand their needs and concerns. We also need to collaborate, support and work with them to build community resilience.
Thoughtful and strategic planning is critical for building a sustainable future for today, and for future generations. We need to consider where future development takes place, and look at how we can use new and emerging technologies to reduce infrastructure requirements and gain cost-efficiencies. Our planning also needs to protect and value our heritage and natural environment and way of life. We also need to foster safe, healthy, and diverse communities with residential developments that provide affordable housing options.