Forty people have paid their deposits and put their names forward for seats on the Waipā council or community boards.
So why should we vote for them?
Here are the reasons why in their own words in alphabetical order. Responses have been edited to around 100 words.
Elise Badger (Cambridge Community Board)
I have a strategic mindset, am ready to ask the hard questions and have a proven track record in my first term of taking initiative for the community and advocating for the outcomes the community desires. I will continue to build on the experience I gained over the last three years to advocate for the people of Cambridge.
Andrew Brown (Te Awamutu-Kihikihi)
I’m sensible and committed to making sound decisions for Waipā.
Lou Brown (Te Awamutu-Kihikihi)
I have a strong and lengthy connection to the Te Awamutu community.
I am aware of the current challenges facing our community. I believe that I can offer a reasoned approach to discussions.
Philip Coles (Cambridge)
Going to keep this very simple, but I care and listen. Through my career I have learnt the importance of following up and doing what I said I would do and communicate back, I’m not there to make up numbers. So much more to add, my family have called the town and district home for the past 159 years so it’s very simple to me, deeply passionate for our community.
Jo Davies-Colley (Cambridge Community Board)
During my time on the community board over the last three years, I believe I have been an effective advocate for my community. One of my stated intentions when I ran in 2019 was to abolish library fees and I was thrilled that as a board, we advocated strongly to council on this issue and were successful. I will bring governance experience to the board, as well as knowledge of procedures and processes, and the relationships and links I have established with community groups, council staff and other elected members.
Bernie Fynn (Te Awamutu-Kihikihi)
I am very passionate about our beautiful rural village like district feel, however with recent rising costs, council’s lavish cavalier expenditure and unwelcomed growth, it’s putting all of this at risk – this is why I am standing, to implement change within council’s spending habits and protect what we have – not to price our very own people out of the district.
Roger Gordon (Cambridge)
I stand by my beliefs and opinions even if it requires me to express an opinion against the rest of council. I read information provided and do research to inform my position. I have achieved 100 per cent attendance at council and major council committee meetings. I have been a member of Audit and Risk, Regulatory, Urban Mobility, Housing Group and Maungatautari committees, with 100% attendance. I have been selected as one of three councillors on Connecting Cambridge, the review of the Cambridge transport network. I believe I have listened to the concerns of the community and represented those views.
Marcus Gower (Te Awamutu-Kihikihi)
I’ve been on council a few terms now, I love having a positive impact on my community and helping make Waipā a great place for families to call home.
Norris Hall (Te Awamutu-Kihikihi Community Board)
Being a community minded individual who was born, raised and educated in Te Awamutu, and having worked in retail in Te Awamutu for 42 years, as well being involved in numerous organisations in various capacities, I have a passion for both Te Awamutu and Kihikihi. I would like to offer and share the skills and community expertise for the benefit of both communities and environs in the Te Awamutu-Kihikihi Ward.
Alana Mackay (Cambridge Community Board)
I have enjoyed my first term on the Cambridge Community Board and would like to continue to be an advocate and representative for our town. With a solid work ethic and history of community involvement, I’m a person who likes to get things done. I have experience in local business and event management and a passion for our people and natural environment. Growth continues to be a challenge, as is the government’s programme of reform, but I believe we can work together, alongside community organisations, councillors, and staff to deliver positive outcomes and protect the things that make Cambridge special.
Sue Milner (Cambridge Community Board)
As a community board member, my focus is on what is good for our town of Cambridge and our residents. I support the Board projects such as community gardens, the efforts to get a new library. The role of the board is ensure that our Cambridge is a great place for all of us to live, work and play.
Mike Montgomerie (Maungatautari)
I understand what good governance looks like. I contribute effectively in collective decision making situations. I have a deep understanding of our rural communities.I will help our council to perform at a high level.
Andrew Myers (Maungatautari – Community Board)
My primary aim is a genuine want to make the Waipā and my ward a better place. I know the ward very well and have strong connections to enable me to get into the mahi quickly. I have great teamwork skills and have an aligned vision for Waipā – to be the home of champions.
James Mylchreest (Mayor)
My knowledge and experience in local government will be critical during this current period of unprecedented change due not only unfunded mandates from central government but also challenges created by climate change and our basic democratic rights in relation to co-governance. The importance of local people making decisions on local issues cannot be over emphasised and their elected representatives need to be accountable for decisions that impact on us all on a daily basis.
Ruth Nicholls (Maungatautari – Community Board)
I am a drainage business owner, mother, wife, coordinator, and passionate cook. I would love to represent you as your Maungatautari representative. What has prepared me for a position on the Cambridge Community Board? I currently work with Cambridge Community House and Violence Free Waipā, and am the current board chair of the Cambridge Charities CCOSS. These roles allow me to have my thumb on the pulse of the community I hope to represent.
Selina Oliver (Cambridge Community Board)
I feel it’s my turn to step up and do my bit for the community.
Susan O’Regan (Mayor)
We need energetic, experienced fresh leadership to drive us through a challenging but exciting time of change. Our district has much to offer but I believe we can do better as a council. That’s why I’m standing for mayor. I’m energetic, experienced and have the independence to shift Waipā up a gear. I’m a natural communicator and collaborator with a record of delivering for the community. I have leadership skills, having chaired the Strategic Planning and Policy committee and presided over our Long Term Plan, several annual plans and strategic plans crucial for the progress and development of our district.
James Parlane (Te Awamutu-Kihikihi and Community Board)
Waipā needs people who are forthright and direct in their approach to governance. Pretty faces and life members of clubs are not good council leaders. People should vote for brains and people who can promote the district and not people who will give council staff everything they want at the expense of the public. I should be elected as I have a conservative approach, do not support boring and wasting public money. I am not into building monuments to the council. I support only spending what is prudent to do the council’s work.
David Slone (Cambridge Community Board)
We need people who have a passion for their community, who will put the community ahead of their own egos and those who will work constructively with others. We need long term, strategic thinkers who are interested in all aspects of the community and not those who are focused on single issues or a single solution. People who want to make the community an awesome place for their great, great grandchildren.
I believe that I fit that criteria and honestly feel that my quiet yet determined style will ensure that my views are heard in a constructive manner.
Delwyn Smith (Cambridge and Community Board)
I believe council needs to ensure its core responsibilities are met; rubbish, roading, recreation and democratic elections. Even though the council has a contract for rubbish disposal, they can’t just abrogate their responsibility for disposal of all rubbish. The roundabout at the white church, Cambridge, has not improved the traffic flow. Council should have a satisfaction survey before using the same designer or supposed improvements.
Clare St Pierre (Pirongia-Kakepuku)
I’ve been on council for nine years and have proved I have what it takes to be an effective councillor. I care about the future of this district which I grew up in and have demonstrated commitment, proactive engagement on issues and the ability to work within a larger team. With my finance work experience, academic qualifications in management and sustainability, analytical and information processing skills, and success leading community environmental restoration projects, I am the ideal person to be your representative at the council table as we face central government reforms, climate change and environmental challenges, and economic headwinds.
Corilin Steel (Pirongia-Kakepuku)
I will strive to do the best for our community to keep services functioning and concentrate on minimising the burden on ratepayers.
Takena Stirling (Māori)
I have seen first-hand the challenges met by our whanau/families, Māori, business owners, farmers and our locals, giving me the confidence to make practical and informed decisions for our rohe. As a trustee on the Pūniu River Care Board, and chairperson on our Wharekura, I have a great appreciation for the hard work, in our local environment and education space. Finding common ground between what is best for our rohe and progress is a challenge, and I believe I have the necessary technical skills, appreciation for te ao Māori, and compassion for people in general to get the job done.
Liz Stolwyk (Cambridge)
I am committed, hardworking and proud of our district. Working with many organisations is a strength and I possess strong interpersonal and organisational skills. Advocating for social and economic balance is important. I manage Mighty River Domain at Lake Karapiro and Sir Don Rowlands Centre. My Cambridge history includes managing Cambridge i-Site and Chamber of Commerce. Steady leadership has seen my third term on council finish with a healthy business district and controlled growth whilst still striking sensible rate increases. As the deputy mayor my portfolio includes being an environmental commissioner and chairing the urban mobility and CCTV camera committees.
Jill Taylor (Te Awamutu-Kihikihi Community Board)
Having been a member of the Te Awamutu Community Board for the past three years, I am passionate about listening to and consulting with local residents – and make a point of following through commitments I have made and getting results when seeking to have community wishes met. At meetings I seek answers to questions from council staff and officials – while also ensuring that they have a full understanding of the feelings of the local community when implementing decisions.
Bruce Thomas (Pirongia-Kakepuku)
I have a lifetime of experience with the Pirongia ward which has now been merged with Kakepuku. I bring a farming and business perspective to council. My many years of community service has meant listening to ratepayer concerns and providing information to them in return. It is important that Waipā District Council has elected stability and has elected representatives who strive to make our district better than it is now. Yes, there will be big decisions in the future but with an open mind and good planning, our district will grow in a controlled manner for the better of everyone.
Bernard Westerbaan (Mayor, Te Awamutu-Kihikihi and Community Board)
I’m people oriented. Having lived in the Waipā district for 41 years I know the district well (need more involvement with Cambridge though).
I am a family man and know about the struggles families are going through. High inflation, high rents, work opportunities and options for youth are barriers to lots of people. Waipā has a greying population and as part of Grey Power I want to look after that part of the population. Getting senior council going again and listening to them is important. As I’m only one person I will delegate but stay involved as much as possible.
Chris Woodhams (Mayor)
Our district is facing a growing range of issues; “steady as we go” and “we just have to navigate” is not the style of leadership we need. I am a leader with vision and aspiration, capable of growing a stronger Waipā. I’m not a politician, and for this I will not apologise. I have a proven record of real-world delivery and achievement. My business management and governance record holds me in good stead to execute the management and oversight required in the mayoral role. I will be the voice championing your concerns and needs, connecting our district as never before.