Why Stand for the Otago Regional Council?


“I had a dream….” Well not exactly. But I did wake up one morning with the idea of running for the Council. I do sometimes wake with ideas, but nothing like “Why don’t I run for Council in the elections this year?”. So this was unusual. There were two bees in my bonnet: the lack of urgency with climate change; and the city buses which seemed to be going from bad to worse. I’ve realised that election time is the time residents are most aware of and interested in local government. Plus election time is when the prospective local politicians are most focused on the residents. So a good time to be raising issues and pushing barrows and flying kites.
One thing that’s always seemed wrong to me is that the city buses are controlled by the region. There were reasons for this decades ago, but things have moved on, and the buses need to be moved on as well; from the Regional Council to the City Council. These elections will give me opportunities to gauge the support for this, and to ask what is stopping it happening. And to press the Regional Council to act because the bus ball in in their court.
The response to climate change is looking wrong to me as well. It’s like a nightmare where we can only run in slow motion. It’s supposed to be a climate emergency, but we want plenty of time to decide our options and plenty of time for people to get used to the reality and then plenty of time to transition to alternatives and blah..blah..blah….. Election time seems like a good time to point out that climate change is real, and it’s happening now. And to push for action at every opportunity. And to challenge all candidates to clarify their positions.
So this is what I was thinking when I woke that morning. Since then I’ve been reading up on the Otago Regional Council, and asking around (and finding out that most people have little idea about what the Council does apart from buses). I’ve realised that there is quite a lot that I can bring to the Otago Regional Council.
With 18 years experience in local government in Dunedin, I understand how things need to work. I understand the Councillor role, and the difference between governance and management/operations. I understand that it is a team effort, and that change needs consensus. As well, I see that major local government reorganisation is signalled for the next three years. Having been through the last such reorganisation from the inside, I’m in a good position to help with whatever comes next.
I’ve had a number of leadership roles in a wide range of community organisations over many decades, including at national level.
I’ve been an advocate on a wide range of issues, to local and central government. I know what it’s like to have to go to Councils to advocate for change. And as a Councillor I’ve liked the opportunity to help bring change. I’ve had a lot of different jobs, and experienced a lot of different places. I can bring a fair bit of life experience to the role of Councillor, and I think the next three years with the Council will need all of it and more.

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