An expression that I love is "I am not here for me, I am here for WE, and we are here for THEM"
Being mayor is not about me and what I want, to me being mayor is about effectively representing the people of Southland and providing the right level of leadership to create a sound platform for the other elected members to achieve the best for Southland.
The governance of the Southland District Council extends beyond the 12 Councillors. One of the most important aspects of leadership in Southland is the Community Boards, and I will ensure that our Community Boards and Councillors have the best platform to lead both their communities and the district.
Sound leadership requires effective communication, strong relationships and more listening than talking.
I have independence from any political party and this neutrality is important when it comes to advocating for Southland in Wellington, irrespective of who is currently governing the country.
I believe that Southland needs a strong voice in Wellington as we regularly punch above our weight, and this is not often recognised. An example of this is our roading - we have over 5000km of roads, contributing a significant amount to national exports and fuel/roaduser tax take, however we only receive a small percentage back to cover the costs of the infrastructure.
With the multitude of reforms currently being driven from the government, it is imperative that Southland has a loud voice. The first important part of this is understanding the reform. During this current council term I have embraced every opportunity to get my head around all of the reforms and have spent a lot of additional time attending workshops, reading papers and increasing my knowledge wherever possible.
The strength of good relationships and networks cannot be underestimated. I already have strong relationships with a number of key stakeholders and I have the ability and drive to build on these and create new relationships to ensure that council is in the best possible position.
There are so many important relationships required for this role, including but not limited to Iwi, neighbouring councils, central government, partner agencies and importantly those on the coal face in the communities that we represent and serve.
The old adage of it's not what you know, it's who you know is very true!