I have lived in Lumsden since 2006 with my wife Jane and 2 kids (Levi and Mia), I run two businesses and am a current Southland District Councillor along with my other community interests.
Previously I worked in IT and Finance in Wellington after graduating from Otago University with a BCom, and was drawn to Southland for its people, its place and its potential.
My passion for the communities of Southland has been an enduring feature of my role as councillor, and has progressed to a strong desire to lead Southland and its great communities into the future. I care deeply about the people, I care deeply about the place and I care deeply about the potential!
I know about business. I have worked in business, I have worked on business, and I have built up two successful businesses from the ground up including Route 6 Cafe in Lumsden.Read more...
Since moving to Lumsden in 2006 I have been very involved in the community, volunteering across a wide range of groups including the local Fire Brigade and the Lumsden Heritage Trust.Read more...
Although I may appear to be a townie, I also understand farming and the importance of the rural voice and the role it plays in Southland's success.
There are many aspects of local government that impact our rural communities and I will ensure that rural Southland is not overlooked.
I believe that LOCAL IS BEST. Nobody knows their towns better than those that live there, and I am a strong believer in keeping things local.
I describe the current system around Community Boards as "being full of untapped potential." There was a representation review done prior to the last election, which didn't quite hit the mark on enabling our community boards to thrive
From my experience on the ground in a Community Board, I know exactly what is required to ensure that Southland can have the blueprint model for really effective community led governance across our wonderful district.
Probably the most controversial component of local government, and also the most campaigned on. I have a strong understanding that rates are not a golden tap for councils to turn on as they see fit.
My view is that every hard earned dollar collected from ratepayers needs to be invested wisely and transparently. It is very easy to spend someone else's money, and council needs to understand the source of the money and the importance of:
My business experience comes in handy here - prudent financial management is key to a successful business, and the same applies to council.
Quite simply I am allergic to it! I am a realist who is results driven and I think in solutions rather than barriers. I believe that council should be a lot more enabling for it's communities, whilst still working within the legal frameworks and processes.
I am not afraid to challenge and/or question the system, especially when it results in better outcomes for the community.
Whilst accepting that change is required in this area, I do not support the 4 Entity Model in its current form. Primarily I am concerned about the loss of local voice and local control. I am disappointed in the process that central government have taken around this reform and feel that democracy has been ignored.
In my view, any form of significant change needs to involve a journey with the community in a transparent and well communicated fashion.
The reform is now in a position whereby the true reasoning behind the need for change has been polluted with very poor communication, mistrust and lack of clear and concise information. The end result is that there are many who are not sold on the direction that it is heading in.
With me as Mayor of Southland, I will be a loud voice advocating for what is best for the people of Southland. I will not accept any shortfalls in proper process being followed, especially around transparency, communication and consultation.
An example in the paper from my frustration...
I am not afraid of change, and this reform provides an opportunity to have a generational reset to ensure that local government best delivers for the needs of the people.
Southland needs a mayor who understands local government - both the pitfalls and the successes. My experience at both the Community Board and the Council level provides the perfect platform for me to advocate strongly for Southland to ensure an outcome that is best for our people.
A lot of mayoral candidates campaign on "All the changes that they are going to make," forgetting that they are just one vote at the table alongside 12 other councillors.
I view the role of mayor differently to this. To me, the role is about leadership, advocacy and relationships.Read more...