Here are the reasons you'd be making a smart choice to vote for me.
Local government experience – from the inside. Having worked for many years in councils from Otago to Auckland, I am well aware of the reasons for ratepayer frustrations, and how to get them fixed.
Clear thinking – backed by technical know-how. The Regional Council isn't here to collect your rubbish - it's here to protect your environment. As a Director of an environmental consultancy Contaminated Sites Investigation, I have extensive experience handling environmental issues in a cost-effective way.
Protecting the environment – for your children and mine. Environmental issues are complex, yet most Councillors have no scientific qualifications. I will work as your moderating voice. I will ask the difficult questions.
I will work to make your Regional Council one you can be proud of!
Top 5 Issues
Effectively countering any potential attempts to dilute the environmental values embodied in the Resource Management Act that may be made by central Government, or indeed other elected Councillors who are willing to discard environmental protections for spurious reasons (for example, misleading arguments about rates). It is essential that regional councils lead the local and national understanding that the health and wellbeing – and economic earning capacity – of current and future generations are completely dependent on the long term sustainability of all of our environmental systems – ecology, soil, air and water.
- Water and Soil Quality:
A recent publication by EW - The Condition of Rural Water and Soil in the Waikato Region - documents that good water quality is found in the forested catchments and poor quality is present in the developed lowlands. The report solely focused on agricultural activities and found that poor water quality is directly related to nutrient loading on the land. To quote ‘nutrients are seeping into groundwater, flowing to streams, rivers and lakes and leading to poor water quality’. Monitoring results from sites along the Waikato River clearly shows (EW website) that the greatest decline in water quality occurs directly after leaving Lake Taupo. Across the reminder of the region the decline is relatively constant. This suggests that urban catchments are having little to no impact on water quality, particularly when compared with the wide-scale impact of intensive agriculture. Therefore, the main causes of poor water quality in the region are considered to be associated with agricultural practices, and primarily come down to the discharges of nutrients, sediment, and microbes. However, in saying that it is important to note that since agriculture is an important part of our economy, the smartest methods of reducing the impact of farming on water quality will need to also ensure that agriculture itself remains a viable economic activity.
Reversing our overall performance with respect to loss of biodiversity. It is not enough to merely attempt to slow the rate of decline of biodiversity – the regional council must become forward-thinking enough to seek to reverse biodiversity losses through a combination of intelligent and properly funded measures including education, incentives, targeted programmes, concerted support for community initiatives, pressure for an industry levy, and regulation. Forest fragments should become forest pathways, pest species should be properly eradicated rather than the currently system of fire-fighting each incursion with inadequate resources, stream ecosystems should be systematically remediated to allow fish passage and adequate protection of native species, and farming should not be allowed to take precedence over genetic diversity in areas where biodiversity is still broad.
- Air Quality:
Dealing with poor urban air quality in winter – particularly in Tokoroa, Taupo, Te Kuiti and Putaruru where national environmental standards for ambient air are still exceeded every winter. EW has been slow to come to grips with this responsibility. To give them credit they have funded replacements of old wood-burners for cleaner forms of heat (for example heat pumps, gas or new standard-compliant wood-burners) – however the total amount devoted to this purpose in the current LTCCP is only sufficient to replace up to about 50 wood-burners per year. This rate of improvement has been much too slow, because meeting national standards for air quality in either Taupo or Tokoroa would require the replacement of thousands of wood-burners. It is mystifying to see how little EW money spends on air quality, compared with the massive amounts spent on transport, given that air quality problems could be solved easily. Of other regional councils or unitary authorities, Environment Canterbury and Nelson City Council have performed very well in this area despite having much worse air quality to begin with, and aspects of their approaches provide models for Environment Waikato to follow.
- Diffuse Contamination:
Specific high-ranking diffuse contamination problems faced by the Waikato region, for which a regional policy response would be warranted include: global and regional generation of greenhouse gases, nutrients and microbes in rural waters, loss of soil versatility, accumulation of inorganic contaminants in soils from fertilizers and facial eczema remedies (cadmium, fluorine, uranium and zinc), presence of arsenic in the Waikato River system, altered flow regimes and increased sediment in surface waters, discharges of natural hormones to waterways from farmed animals, high levels of arsenic in some rural ground-waters (e.g. Reporoa), high profile contaminated sites (e.g. Tui Mine tailings dump, Rotowaro Carbonisation Plant), low profile but high-risk contaminated sites (e.g. old sheep-dips), and mercury from Hauraki peatland drainage entering the Firth of Thames.
I am 43 years old and live in Hamilton East with my wife Justine and my two sons Felix and Bryn. Justine is a registered nurse working in the Emergency Department of Waikato Hospital. Felix and Bryn both attend Woodstock School.
I was born and raised in Whakatane and this is where I met and married Justine. I enjoy spending time as a family unit and in particular playing with my children.
In 1992 I completed a bachelor of Social Science at Waikato University. In 1993 I completed a postgraduate diploma in Environmental Health Science at Wellington Polytechnic.
I have over 17 years experience working for or with local authorities in New Zealand as a contaminated land scientist and strategic planner. I have worked for Otago Regional Council, Gisborne District Council, Hamilton City Council, Environment Bay of Plenty and Auckland Regional Council.
I have also worked as a contaminated land scientist for an environmental consultancy in London, the Toowoomba City Council and an environmental consultancy in Brisbane.
For the last five years I have run my own environmental consultancy – CSI (Contaminated Site Investigations) from Hamilton. One of my clients has been Environment Waikato.
Authorised by Guy Sowry. of 80 Cook Street, Hamilton.
Results - Final
- Paula Southgate
- Lois Livingston
- Tony Armstrong
- Jane Hennebry
- Guy Sowry
- Pat Gregory
- Adrienne (Jane) Lawrence
- Rhys Lloyd