It has been my privilege to have served as your Mayor for the past 8 years leading a very competent Council team. I am standing for Mayor this year as there is some business critical to our futures unfinished by Council including the ABC (Amalgamation, Boundary change or Cross boundary services) boundary work with the PNCC and the Sanson Hotel Site development which has great potential to assist the economic and social development of our region.
My Councils have invested heavily in infrastructure, ensuring we are in a strong position going forward. This will also enable Council to hold rates during the next three years and at the same time continue to provide a sound base for economic growth.
I offer proven leadership, accessibility, integrity and am committed to a unified progressive Council, providing sound control of council costs and making good decisions for the future of all in the Manawatu District.
Top 5 Issues
- Economic Development:
This Council has a very strong working relationship with the PNCC through joint venture operations in Vision Manawatu and Destination Manawatu who are charged with driving our economic growth in the City and District. Our focus is on providing an environment which will enhance our ability to grow our employment base, our wage levels and to capitalise on our strong science and environmental bases. If we were able to lift the average wage in this Region by 10% we will give our people a significant advantage. Manfeild Park will play a significant role in this sector through its ability to attract new innovative business to the Manawatu as do Feilding Promotions who are passionate about the future development of Feilding and the District.
- ABC(Amalgamation, Boundary change or Cross boundary services) report:
This report has been commissioned by the Palmerston North City Council and the Manawatu District Council jointly and reported back to us both on the Boundary matters related to both Councils. It has recommended that we go out to our Communities seeking feedback on the future of the boundary with respect to possible Amalgamation or Boundary adjustment. The Manawatu District council has discussed this report and we are recommending to our Community that we have further discussion on the prospect of a major boundary change in the area surrounding Longburn and Bunnythorpe including some of the Kairanga area. This report can be viewed in full on the Manawatu District council website:mdc.govt.nz
Previous Councils have rated to repair and upgrade infrastructure during the past five years leaving the next Council in a strong position and whilst I can give no guarantee around future rate levels I can assure you all that if I am re-elected any Council I lead will pay much attention to this area of our business and we will be particularly aware of the difficult situation many of our ratepayers families are in. Because of the previous Councils commitment to upgrading infrastructure it will not be difficult to restrict rate rises to a minimum in the next three years.
- The Council:
I have led a strong proactive Council over the past three years and will if re-elected continue to do so. We have been served by a very competent team of Councillors who have proved capable of making the hard decisions after robust debate and remaining a strong unified team. Lorraine Vincent has taken over the reins as Chief Executive from the long serving Rod Titcombe and has built an outstanding team of staff capable of serving the District well into the future. I will undertake to continue to encourage the development of our Councillors and Staff to serve our district with transparency and integrity in the next three years.
I am offering myself for election for the position of Mayor of the Manawatu District for the next three years. I am Married to Sue and we have three adult children and a growing number of grandchildren, who provide Sue and I with a great deal of joy.
Whilst I have had the privilege of serving in this position for the past eight years there is work that we as a Council have to complete to ensure that our future is secure, and progressive, for the coming generations.
For the past three years we have been served by a very competent Council who has shared a vision for the future of our region. This meant progressing some of the more pressing issues facing us, particularly in the Roading, Building Services and Environmental areas. This has come at a cost to the ratepayer. However we are on top of these issues now, and can look forward to a stable and realistic level of expenditure from Council in the next three years.
I firmly believe that a Councils role is to look to the future. I see this as vital and much of my time as Mayor has been focused on this. We now have a very strong platform from which to build, and, as a result of prior investment, we are in an enviable position in these recessionary times.
The three major achievements of this Council have been:
- The refurbishment of the Council building and IT upgrade allowing us to provide a much better service to our Community from a public interface perspective. It has also allowed us to continue to employ the best team possible to ensure we are at the leading edge of service delivery and innovation. This is well demonstrated by our team leading numerous shared services, partnerships and contracted relationships with our neighboring Councils and leading much of the regional discussion about our future governance and economic direction. It has also enabled us to create efficiencies that will save us cost in the future.
- The ABC (amalgamation, boundary change or cross boundary services) work with Palmerston North City which has been necessary for many years to establish the best way forward for our District, the City and the wider region. The current boundary has led to inefficiency, poor planning and has restricted development for many years. It has to change for our region to progress. Our decision to support the Boundary change 2 options is, in the opinion of both Councils, the best solution for our future.
- The instigation of a number of projects and actions that are essential to the future wellbeing of the Manawatu district, are:
1) The Sanson Hotel project: We believe this project has significant future benefits to Sanson, The District, Palmerston North and the wider Region as it will allow us to capitalize on the 5 million people who pass through there every year. This will be achieved by the establishment of an Iconic I-Site and rest area for the travelling public, national and international. This will be achieved at little or no long term cost to the District ratepayer.
2) The facilitation of the Coachhouse re-siting: An exciting opportunity for the Coachhouse to now provide an iconic tourist attraction adjacent to Manfeild Park brought about by the significant and much valued assistance from the Higgins family.
3) The establishment of the Manawatu Community Trust which has taken over the operation and ownership of the Councils Community housing. They have done a great job with them and the tenants. They are also heavily involved in the development and provision of the Feilding Health Center.
4) The promotion of the “Leisureville” project, encompassing the redevelopment of the Makino, which is still in its earliest stages.
5) The development of a new Regional Economic development strategy which will capitalize on our ability to concentrate on the environmental issues facing the country, and establish us as a world leader in food and health innovation.
6) The major upgrades to our districts sewerage plants, to meet our community’s expectation of our environmental standards, particularly related to our rivers.
7) The injection of significant funding into our roading programme which has allowed us to ‘catch up’ and now stabilize costs whilst continuing to improve the standard of our Roads.
All this has been achieved or instigated, at the same time our provision of the essential services and infrastructure has continued to meet the expectations of the greater majority of our people. I do not claim that we are immune to making mistakes and realize that we will never please all of the people. Our role is to ensure equity and fairness to the best of our ability.
One last thing: short term gain – long term pain.
“Nothing ventured, nothing gained”
Authorised by S J Taylor of Bodell Place Palmerston North