We asked candidates what change they would drive in Waipā if they were elected and to sum up anything else. Plus, we asked what they thought Waipā council does best and what needs to be improved on.
Responses have been edited to a maximum of 100 words
Elise Badger (Cambridge Community Board)
Petition council to bring the build of a new library for Cambridge forward in the long term plan and secure funding for a state of the art library that adds vibrancy to the CBD and meets diverse needs of the community. Improve pedestrian and bike access to rural schools. Support initiatives that support youth to flourish.
I think Waipā staff work hard to ensure our district is the best it can be. My interactions with staff have always been positive and I believe it has the best interests of this region and its people in their work and decisions.
Krystie Brickland (Cambridge Community Board)
Partner with Sport Waikato to help them role our a more active Waipā to encourage our youth and adults to be more active.
I also love the concept of communal fruit trees and planting more of these, so we can do better by supporting those that can’t afford fresh fruit and veges, we are also teaching our children the importance of growing our own food.
Staff have done well to keep projects moving forward during Covid times, but now it is time for face to face conversations. To be out in the community more, have more community days and events.
Andrew Brown (Te Awamutu-Kihikihi)
I have no specific agenda.
Staff genuinely put Waipā and its residents at the forefront of their thinking and actions. Council staff have a focus on continual improvement which is a great culture for any organisation to have.
Lou Brown (Te Awamutu-Kihikihi)
Continue to hold rates fees and charges as close to the projections in Waipā plans and control expenditure. Everyone needs to consider the effects of inflation and interest rates on council operations, rates, fees and charges.
Council and staff work hard to produce the best outcomes for our community under the constraints of central Government legislation. Communication is the biggest problem especially when central Government policies are announced, and submission periods are often only a few weeks. Public are often unaware of effects of policy until it placed into legislation. Local media are the main source of information and communication.
Philip Coles (Cambridge)
I use every opportunity that comes my way to promote our town and community. I’m committed to enhance the opportunity for business community to grow while enhancing our residential.
Our council overall are amazing, in fact our council that includes staff are highly respected nationally, I see and hear this when attending regional and national events. I believe with the climate created from the pandemic and the climate we are currently entering we are in a better position than most and of course there can be improvements, but we need be grateful.
Jo Davies-Colley (Cambridge Community Board)
I am not seeking re-election to the board to advance any specific agenda, but to represent the great town of Cambridge and be an advocate for its community groups. If it’s an issue for the community, it’s an issue for the community board.
After working with councillors and staff for three years, I can say the people who make the decisions and carry out the work in Cambridge care deeply about our community. Council staff have excellent systems in place to serve our community and they have done a great job navigating through the pandemic and the challenges it brought.
Bernie Fynn Fynn (Te Awamutu-Kihikihi)
Change the focus on population growth, through promoting inward migration. This council and Hamilton and Waikato district want a transport system around this area, and their obsession with cycle trails/lanes, shows they are falling for this climate change rubbish and want vehicles off the roads. They bought land at Karāpiro for $5 million for a cycle trail, this is where our rates go.
Roger Gordon (Cambridge)
The transportation network for Cambridge is an area where we need to put more effort and I am looking forward to being part of that. I would like to see less discussion in public excluded sessions. I believe in transparency in local government even if it is sometimes difficult. I would like to see a greater role for the Cambridge Community Board in adding more localism to decision making about matters that affect Cambridge.
I believe we have a very good council operation and there is a good relationship between the councillors and the management team.
Marcus Gower (Te Awamutu-Kihikihi)
More services for youth, re-engaging with our young people and make them a valued part of the decision-making process. Engage with our local arts communities and beautifying our buildings and town spaces.
It’s been a really trying few years for everyone at council, people are trying their best in difficult circumstances.
We need to improve working with our local community to support people in need more. It’s been really hard to employ staff in these times too.
Norris Hall (Te Awamutu-Kihikihi Community Board)
More parking, particularly in Te Awamutu, bearing in mind the new subdivisions springing up and the pressure by vehicle users placed on parking facilities. Also, more provision of disabled car parks would be advantageous. Footpaths and pedestrian crossings in the main central business/retail districts be made more user friendly. With the Council purchasing the old Bunnings building space could be set aside for an art gallery.
Staff do very well, theirs is not always an easy job, especially when unpopular decisions have had to be made. The library staff excel themselves in both centres.More counter staff in both service centres.
Alana Mackay (Cambridge Community Board)
Stronger connections between the council, community boards, and community. I think that we can work together more collaboratively. Engaging with the community in a collaborative and meaningful way so people feel that they have input and ownership of decisions. The last three years have been challenging with the limitations Covid-19 placed on face-to-face consultation opportunities and I look forward a return to more of these.
Council and staff have done a great job to deliver a high level of service, provide and maintain infrastructure and assets, and manage finances to achieve a mix of essentials and the nice to have.
Sue Milner (Cambridge Community Board)
A new library. Our library is one of our most important and used community buildings and is far too small. Our community and the library staff deserve a better building sooner rather than later.
We have wonderful staff members who do a great job for our residents. The library staff, the parks and garden staff are probably the most visible, but there are other teams which do a great job for Waipā. It has been great to see council staff at the Saturday market talking to locals about dogs and other issues. Long may this type of communication continue.
Mike Montgomerie (Maungatautari)
My drive would be for continuous improvement, effective and accountable leadership, engaged communities and a council which is responsive to the needs of those communities.
I think both council and staff have done a good job. They have been happy to engage and have answered our questions openly. There have been some controversial initiatives (for example Streets for People) and some lessons learnt about community consultation (for example the Hamilton Road cycleway). We need to continue driving community engagement. The community boards have a role to play and should be more effectively utilised to provide an avenue for local advocacy.
Andrew Myers (Maungatautari – Community Board)
I’m not standing for change; I’m standing to continue to lift Waipā’s attributes as a fantastic place to live work and play. I have a strong interest in urban growth and the effects of this. Also, I have interest in the structure of governance proposed under the likes of Three Waters.
Overall, I believe the operation is well run. Rather than the staff, it’s the councillors who adopt the strategy – this is where some of the onus needs to be focused. Reminding the council that red tape and lengthy decision making processes are detrimental to people getting things done.
James Mylchreest (Mayor)
The independent decision-making powers of local government being strengthened to ensure local communities can develop their unique identities. I have had a major impact on the development of most community facilities over the past 40 years either in strategic planning, project management or fundraising. It is important to see these facilities being developed but understand that often resistance is concern over the ability to pay or that individual may not use the facility.
Staff work in the best interests of the community. The vast majority are members of the community and have a real affinity to Waipā.
Ruth Nicholls (Maungatautari – Community Board)
The rates structure for rural landowners. My first would be to have the sewerage rate dropped as we provide our own sewerage. I would also like to reduce speeds around rural schools and villages.
Our members have the best of intentions to improve our community in a quickly changing environment. I think they need to stop allowing so much growth. Our current infrastructure cannot handle it.
Selina Oliver (Cambridge Community Board)
One issue I would like to push is recycling next to our CBD rubbish bins and around public parks and sports clubs. Investing in community spaces. The rubbish and recycling situation.
Susan O’Regan (Mayor)
We need to make it easier to deal with us, to listen and take care of our diverse populations. I would seek to develop a more collaborative, transparent community-centred culture.
Our organisation has many hard working and passionate community focused staff. We need a council which is easier to deal with – council needs to be more enabling. Council should simplify things to make customer experiences enjoyable. We need better communication. This means we can better understand what people want Waipā to look like now and into the future. With active listening and better communication, we’ll get it right more often.
James Parlane (Te Awamutu-Kihikihi and Community Board)
Adopt a business model of researching the needs of the district and doing feasibility studies before any major work. Three Waters is a done deal. That means a significant reduction in executive salaries. I would focus on making sure the building code is made sufficient to ensure ultrahigh density housing is safe.
What do council do best? Taking long lunch breaks and if they do know what a shovel is, they lean so hard on it they bend or break the handle. Most staff are not able to use their initiative to spot something that might need doing.
David Slone (Cambridge Community Board)
We need to hear the voices of people who live in our communities. Engagement shouldn’t be a tick box exercise that reaches only those who proactively seek interaction with council. Move past the voices of the famous and those who regularly engage so all voices are listened to.
Our council functions and does get things done. They’re never going to please everyone, nor move at a pace that most would like but when you look around at other councils, I think ours is doing okay. There are some good people within our council and we need to acknowledge that.
Delwyn Smith (Cambridge and Community Board)
I would push for an open-all-hours dumping space people can bring rubbish in pre-paid bags. Rubbish has been a responsibility of councils since their inception as part of a public health measure. The disposal of rubbish burden lies more on end users, those who buy second-hand stuff and cannot re-use it. They are stuck with the cost of disposal. There should be an inorganic collection. It is in the public’s interest to not have build-up of rubbish.
Council has promoted recreational activities for the enjoyment of the public. Focus on the core functions before the extras.
Clare St Pierre (Pirongia-Kakepuku)
I would love to work on getting the Three Waters reform revisited so councils retain ownership of waters assets. I would like to progress housing affordability, expanding environmental restoration and urban forests including edible parks, and co-ordinated approaches to climate change issues and youth employment.
Staff are good at setting general direction for the district. One reason for this is there is reasonable diversity in councillors, and staff have established networks to bring forward useful feedback on proposals. There is so much council has an influence over across our community yet big chunks of our demographic are oblivious to it.
Corilin Steel (Pirongia-Kakepuku)
Repel Three Waters.
Anyone who is willing to serve on a local council should be thanked for their hard work and service. What do they need to improve on? Engaging with the public and encouraging community participation in decision-making.
Takena Stirling (Māori)
Not sure if I would want to drive change per se, but what I would like to drive is the need for Māori input into decision making particularly around the growth of the Waipā district. I wouldn’t want to necessarily stand in the way of progress, but to help ensure that any growth is sustainable, positive and represents all our community.
Liz Stolwyk (Cambridge)
We are entering a post-Covid world so sensible rate increases must be top of mind. One big change I would like to see is the establishment of CCTV cameras throughout our towns and state highways
Waipā residents are led by a very competent group of councillors and a team of experienced and highly regarded staff. I have seen this first hand for nine years and have been impressed with the effort made with ratepayers over the council’s long-term plans. I would like to see more community liaison groups established for key projects, so the community has more ownership of these.
Jill Taylor (Te Awamutu-Kihikihi Community Board)
The review of the relationship between the community board and council indicated improvements are needed. I have an interest in ensuring activities are implemented for young people and support provided for the elderly. I would like council to listen. Many feel priority should be given to housing and an entertainment centre rather than a museum.
Staff are excellent at maintaining gardens around our community and on the front line. All are very quick to respond to requests I make for information. We should not employ outside consultants – staff with local knowledge should complete these tasks, resulting in cost savings.
Bruce Thomas (Pirongia-Kakepuku)
I am a team player. An individual cannot drive issues they prefer. We must think what is best for Waipā whilst also putting our ward issues forward. I look forward to continuing being an elected representative of the council as next term there will be many more challenges to be worked through in this rapidly changing local government sector.
Staff keep elected members well informed, are very good at their jobs and have pride in what they do. They perform very favourably with other council staff and have won national awards for their work. Not bad for a small council.
Bernard Westerbaan (Mayor, Te Awamutu-Kihikihi and Community Board)
We are losing the town identity for both Cambridge and Te Awamutu and if we are not careful, Pirongia will lose its identity too. I would like to have the minimum size of a section increased to 1000 square metres. I will fight against the high density and three-storey home issue.
Staff on the bottom level are doing okay. No comment on the rest. Regarding council? Be more responsive to the ratepayers regarding submissions. Council must start listening to residents so improvements can be made. Council is employed by the ratepayers, and I would always remind council of that fact.
Chris Woodhams (Mayor)
The change I most want to drive is to move us to a more socially, culturally and physically connected Waipā. I’m seeing a disjointed, disenfranchised community, and a lot of “them and us.” You need a Waipā where no matter who you are or what your heritage is, being a part of Waipā gives you the ability to grow stronger within your community which, in turn, contributes to helping your community be stronger around you.
There is a great deal of talk and future planning. We are delivering our ‘Business as Usual’ reasonably well but we are not looking forward.