BSc(Geology), DipLibr, DipIS.
I'm a family-oriented local businesswoman, current Regional Councillor and Chair of the Regional Transport Committee. My relevant work experience includes two years as CEO of the Tauranga Chamber of Commerce, eight years senior management in Tauranga City Council and information management for the Ministry for the Environment and Industrial Research Limited.
I'm a Rotarian, a past Rotary President and member of the Institute of Directors. I understand the principles of good governance having worked with and on Boards and Councils.
I offer excellent knowledge of environmental and economic development issues facing the Bay of Plenty, vision and strategic thinking, good commonsense, a great work ethic and a strong commitment to working to benefit the community.
I support managed growth, contribution to key regional infrastructure, affordable rates and environmental and economic sustainability.
I want to make a difference in the community and will work hard to do so.
Top 5 Issues
- MANAGED GROWTH
One of the biggest challenges facing the Western Bay of Plenty is managing our expected growth. Already, significant growth pressures are occurring and they are having environmental impacts. We must plan for this growth while managing our natural resources in a sustainable way.
I support the SmartGrowth approach taken in the western Bay of Plenty to plan for growth. It has huge credibility at a national level and has given government the confidence to invest in our region. However, we need to continue to monitor and adjust the strategy to ensure that we integrate population growth with land use and transportation planning.
We also need the infrastructure to support our growing population – this means investment in roads, public transport, broadband, power and regional facilities. To achieve this, it is very important that there be strong collaboration between central, regional and local government to align planning and investment for the critical infrastructure needed to service growth.
Key to this is strong regional leadership - the vision and willingness to make decisions that will ensure our growth is positive and does not negatively impact on our environment.
- PROTECTED RESOURCES
We are very fortunate in the Bay of Plenty - to many it must seem like paradise. However protecting our harbours and coastlines, managing our water quality and water quantity, and safeguarding our natural biodiversity are issues we must take very seriously.
I am particularly concerned about Tauranga Harbour and its surrounding catchments, and have been pushing for control of sedimentation and selected removal of mangroves to protect the coastal and estuarine ecology that is valued by our coastal communities. I believe we need more science so we can understand the relationships between land use, discharges into the harbour, possible climatic changes and negative impacts in the harbour like sea lettuce blooms.
I want effective action on the ground to mitigate negative impacts of growth and development. I support the integrated catchment management approach being taken to minimise sedimentation, to restore biodiversity and to protect our precious estuarine and coastal ecology.
I believe water is critical to our prosperous future and we need to monitor water quality and address problems which degrade our water quality. We also need to be careful how we manage water use to ensure there is ample for all.
There are many other environmental issues we need to focus on - Rotorua Lakes water quality, Rotorua air quality, pest management and biosecurity, waste minimisation and appropriate development of our renewable energy resources like geothermal and biomass.
I think it is very important to educate people about the environmental issues we face. It is also important to work collaboratively with other agencies and to support community groups who are working to safeguard the environment in their patch, because together we can all achieve so much more.
- THRIVING ECONOMY
If we want our children to have a safe and prosperous future, we need to have a thriving economy. It is very important to ensure we have the right leadership, infrastructure, skilled people and conditions to foster growth of strong thriving businesses. Located as we are in the golden triangle of Auckland/Waikato and the Bay of Plenty we have a huge opportunity and it is up to us to make sure we use our rich natural resources, our strategic advantages like the Port of Tauranga, and our enviable lifestyle to maximise this opportunity.
Local and regional government can help by supporting economic development and ensuring that the right infrastructure is in place. I strongly support the Regional Council's coordination of regional economic development - there are many opportunities to ensure we have a strong sustainable economy - aquaculture, horticulture development, food processing, bio-energy and titanium production -are just a few. To support this development, we need an enabling local government attitude, skilled workers and investment in core infrastructure.
I strongly support the Regional Council's planned investment in regional infrastructure. I think it is in a unique position to leverage its investment reserves and its infrastructure fund to accelerate essential infrastructure to support economic growth - for example to accelerate essential transport projects.
The Regional Council is the majority shareholder of the Port of Tauranga which is the growth engine for the region, and owner of a large area of land in Rangiuru zoned for industrial development. It is important that the Regional Council continues to be a supportive investor to enable the expected economic benefits to accrue from these strategic investments for the wellbeing of the community.
A strong economy will enable a prosperous community. It is essential that our local government leaders understand what is needed for strong sustainable economic growth and are willing to take the necessary steps to ensure community well-being into the future. They also need to create and maintain strong collaborative relationships - with government, industry, education providers and the community - so all sectors are working together to deliver on a shared vision of well-being and prosperity.
- EFFICIENT AND EFFECTIVE REGIONAL GOVERNMENT
There is a lot of change occurring in the local government space - restructuring of local government in Auckland and the sacking of the Canterbury Regional Council. Much of this has been driven by perceptions about excessive bureaucracy and red tape, lack of effectiveness, poor collaboration, high costs and excessive rates. I think the Bay of Plenty Regional Council performs pretty well, but we must continually focus on minimising the problems and perceptions that surround local and regional government.
I think we need to see what happens up in Auckland before we rush to change our local government structure in the Bay of Plenty. Some amalgamation may be called for to streamline local government in the future, however I am wary of change for change's sake. Instead, my focus has been on trying to ensure that the Regional Council is cost efficient and effective in everything that it does. Over the past three years, I have pushed for reviews of various activities to ensure the organisation is doing things as well and cost effectively as possible. Quite a number have been undertaken, but there is still a lot more that I believe can be done to ensure ratepayers are getting maximum value out of their rating dollar.
A lot is about attitude - looking for innovation, being customer focussed and action oriented. It is about asking - is there a better way? - a more cost effective way? - a more responsive way? I want the public to be confident the Regional Council has cost conscious management and is an organisation that is easy to do business with, rather than one that puts up barriers and ties people up in red tape.
The Bay of Plenty Regional Council is looking at shared services with other councils to reduce costs. I applaud this approach. I also support benchmarking with other appropriate organisations to help us understand how we compare and where we could improve.
I want Council to take a prudent approach in setting its work programmes and therefore its rates - and making careful and reasoned decisions on how to rate fairly and how to apply its investment reserves for maximum benefit for the region and its community.
On the other hand, Council does have a regulatory role, and from time to time it needs to make hard calls to safeguard our environment. I want Council to be brave where necessary, but also to be fair, consistent and always professional.
The bottom line is - we need high calibre people voted onto the Regional Council, who will work with our people to ensure we have efficient and effective regional government in the Bay of Plenty.
- WORKING COLLABORATIVELY
The key to making limited resources go further and to making fast progress is to collaborate and work well with other key players to achieve a shared vision. The western Bay of Plenty is already pretty good at this, but I would like to see this approach to be strengthened in the future - particularly across the region and with other adjoining regions.
We need to work closely with government departments, other regional and local councils, our businesses and our communities - sharing and applying resources to leverage opportunities. The work the Bay of Plenty Regional Council is doing in with transport and geothermal energy, and in the Kaimai Mamaku catchments are good models and we need to look for more such opportunities.
I would like to see parochialism disappear and the use of a collaborative approach to achieve win-win solutions where at all possible.
Unfortunately the work of the Regional Council is not well understood. Helping people to understand the work of the Regional Council and what it is doing has been a key focus for me over the past three years and will continue to be a key focus for me in the future if I am re-elected.
For me, the past three years have been about learning the business of the Regional Council. If I am re-elected for another term, my focus will be on reaching out to the community and strengthening my relationships so I can strengthen my contribution to the Regional Council and the region as a whole, on behalf of the community.
WHO AM I?
I am a local businesswoman with a strong sense of social responsibility. I’m strongly family-oriented with a great husband, four wonderful children and three gorgeous grandchildren - with another on the way. I was born and educated in Wellington, but have lived and worked in Tauranga for fourteen years. I am currently a sitting Regional Councillor for the Western Bay of Plenty constituency of the Bay of Plenty Regional Council (also known as Environment Bay of Plenty).
My husband and I have a manufacturing, distribution and exporting company called International Merchants Limited. I am a Director for the Quayside Holdings Group of companies, and am Chair of the Bay of Plenty Regional Transport Committee. As Deputy Chair of Council's Finance and Governance Committee I have called for better reporting and more cost-effective organisational performance. I am also qualified to act as a commissioner for resource consent hearings.
I have a strong community focus and try to contribute where I can. I’m a Rotarian and have served as a past Rotary President and Club Secretary. I have served on a number of charitable organisations and am currently a Trustee for the Coastal Bay of Plenty Charitable Trust. I’m a member of the Institute of Directors (IoD) and am on the organising Committee for the Bay of Plenty Branch of the IoD.
My background in science, information management and general management - and my knowledge of business and central and local government - has provided me with a good background for my current role as a Regional Councillor. Because I have worked in all levels of government in management and governance roles, I understand how regional government works and what is needed for good governance.
I believe that the Bay of Plenty is a wonderful place to live and I want it to continue to be a wonderful place for my children’s children – and their children.
WHY SHOULD PEOPLE VOTE FOR ME?
The Regional Council needs people with a good understanding of the issues – hard-working, sensible people with integrity, willingness to listen, and who are pragmatic, passionate and committed. It needs people who understand that working with people on the issues and incentivising people to change their behaviour is the best way to safeguard the environment – rather than bureaucracy, red tape and unnecessary regulation. I believe I am such a person.
I offer excellent knowledge of environmental and economic development issues facing the Bay of Plenty, sound business experience, vision, strategic thinking, good commonsense, fresh ideas, and a strong commitment to working to benefit the community.
Over the past term I have represented the Western Bay of Plenty strongly around the Council table - going to bat for the issues that are important in the Western Bay. Significant achievements for me have been:
- Gaining recognition of the importance and vulnerability of the Tauranga Harbour resulting in mechanical removal of mangroves, significant additional funding for harbour restoration and research, and a focus on addressing sedimentation issues through an intergrated catchment management approach.
- As Chair of the Regional Transport Committee, led the development and successful funding of the Regional Land Transport Programme (including acceleration of the construction of the Tauranga Eastern Link), and the review of the Regional Land Transport Strategy.
- As Deputy Chair of Council's Finance and Governance Committee, the initiation of a series of efficiency reviews of the organisation to keep Council costs down.
- Continued funding of SmartGrowth and regional economic development - areas where significant progress has been made for the benefit of the region.
- Personal qualification as a commissioner for resource consent hearings and participation in a number of hearings.
I want to ensure that the Regional Council offers value for money. This means I will push for the Regional Council to be a streamlined efficient organisation which uses money wisely, which makes it easier to get things done, which is solution focused, and which will support local communities and work with them to achieve their goals.
The bottom line is - vote for me for fresh thinking, commonsense, commitment and integrity.
I will work hard to make a difference.
Authorised by R J McLeod of 11 Maru Street, Mount Maunganui