- 1. Leasehold Land
NCC owns a substantial amount of land that it acquired when the Napier Harbour was disbanded. This land is on-leased to various businesses by way of Glasgow leases. I know of leases that have jumped from 9K to 130K. These large increases are unsustainable and will drive businesses out of Napier or the operators will simply close down.
A business that was going to employ up to 150 people decided to go to Tauranga as there was not a large enough parcel of freehold land available. Another business already employing 50 people will move overseas if the NCC continues its present policy.
- 2. Business Park
The idea of a business park came to me while I was visiting Tauranga. My original idea was that NCC could develop some of its land at Lagoon Farm that was not suitable for housing e.g. beside the expressway and adjacent to the Airport flight path.
The sections in this business park must be able to be freeholded if we are to attract new businesses to Napier which in turn create jobs, pay rates etc. Refer to the section under the heading Leasehold Land.
- 3. Westshore
Larry Dallimore has produced some very compelling reasons why NCC should reconsider building the H-shaped breakwater near the southern reef. The BECA report on Westshore has some points that need to be qualified. These include:
a. Will the H-shaped breakwater affect the reef?
b. What will happen to the beach not protected in the lee of the H-shaped breakwater?
c. Remember that renourishment will have to continue indefinitely.
d. That if you partly alter or try to partly control the forces of nature the problem will resurface elsewhere.
- 4. Marine Parade
Like just about everybody else in Napier I think that the Marine Parade is the jewel in our crown. The major problem is Marineland, which has seen better days and is currently losing 500K per annum, remaining closed. If there is a magic bullet I would support it whole heartedly. So far we have had the following ideas suggested:
Child’s petting zoo
And we already have the following:
Maybe some or all of the above? Over the past ten years this Council has been involved in many new projects on the Marine Parade – these include:
Heated hot water pools
- 5. Tourism
Napier cities roll in tourism is well documented. It owns many attractions including Kennedy Park, McLean Park, Aquarium, War Memorial, Hot Pools, Par 2 Golf etc.
It was thought that one regional tourism organization would be the ideal solution to Napier’s flagging tourist numbers. Sadly it has not worked as well as we had hoped.
Napier needs its own promotional organization to promote the City in particular Art Deco. It is our point of difference over other NZ cities.
- Representation of the people.
I look forward to being a Ward councillor for Ahuriri and attending to the needs and special issues that may arise. I served as a Ward Councillor in Wellington for three terms and understand the benefits of such a system. It gives communities individual opportunities and a sense of local pride in their accomplishments.
However, representation of the wider city goes hand-in-glove. Success is infectious and Ahuriri’s flourishing community is an example to be emulated.
- The Westshore erosion issue.
I support a move to select the best solution for the coastal erosion problem, and that is implemented, without further delay. It has been deferred for far too long, causing much unrest in that community.
Largely an engineering project, withy large expense involved, it will need a strong minded Councillor to seek a review of the solutions presented to date, debate them and demand resolution.
- Business, employment and prosperity.
Council can play a part in this. Without these ingredients a community struggles to maintain a quality of life; economic development is part of natural growth in a modern age and I support Council developing appropriate business initiatives, partner-shipping and creating incentives.
- Leasehold land.
The issues around residential and commercial leasehold land is another that has hung around for far too long. It is now an imperative for resolution. The new rates, announced last year for the renewal terms of residential 15 and 21 years leases, has pushed the financial boundaries – they are unreasonable. The unimproved value system of land and building distorts the true values; there is no logic, no wonder many do not understand it! If it is such a mystery then it’s not a democratic method for valuation by local authority land owners, who actually represent us! This is arguably one of the most serious considerations for change.
The commercial leases present a similar financial problem, but present a different scenario around the ability to free-hold. This factor is holding Napier’s business community back and needs reviewing.
We need some hard talking and decision making. I look forward to the debate.
- Community service.
Community service is both a bottom line necessity and top-line priority. People, people, people. I believe Council can be a lot more effective in serving all age groups and people from all walks of life.
- Economic Growth
Economic prosperity creates a better quality of life. More jobs create greater security, less demand on social services and of course an increase in Council revenue. This in turn helps fund Council’s activities and keeps rates low. It is essential that Council proactively support local businesses and industry to grow and develop.
There is no doubt that attracting new businesses and industry to Napier is an important function of Council. It is equally important to encourage and support existing Napier businesses to grow, thrive and stay in our city. We must work harder now to try and turn around future projections of population decrease and negative economic growth.
By improving infrastructure and services, reducing bureaucracy, championing success, sharing resources, pooling expertise and providing leadership and direction, Council can help stimulate local business and increase prosperity.
- Community Wellbeing
Contributing towards the safety and wellbeing of our whole community is a responsibility central to Council activities. While this extends to all age groups, there need to be specific support focussed on youth, families and our senior citizens.
We need to do more to develop and support initiatives to engage with young people in our community. Facilities, activities and services that they will use must be created or greater Council subsides/support given to other providers and organisations who can meet their needs. Keeping youth active and positively engaged can both help develop our young people and decrease anti-social behaviours in our community.
We should aim to make Napier an even better place for families by developing ‘family friendly’ infrastructure. Extending our safe cycleway system, parks, playgrounds and other low cost family activities must be a priority.
We have an aging population and must ensure our communities are equipped to provide for their needs. Housing, public transport, accessibility to health and other services will become increasingly important. Council must listen to this sector of our community and proactively plan to meet their needs. Two immediate areas that Council should continue to focus on are helping to reduce crime and addressing footpath and road hazards, both which restrict Seniors access to certain areas of our city. Addressing these will contribute to a greater sense of safety and wellbeing.
- Sustainable Lease Solutions
Council needs to be willing to consider a range of measures to help residential and commercial leaseholders to either freehold leases or look at mechanisms to revise or extend lease terms. All options must be on the table.
This needs to be a fair process, one that does not disadvantage those who have paid a premium to purchase freehold property, while at the same time recognising the financial pressure and difficulty facing leasehold property owners.
It is essential that any solutions be financially sustainable and not an excuse for Council to increase rates. One advantage of free-holding property is that the proceeds could benefit ratepayers directly, as the funds generated can be spent on any projects.
Napier City Council needs to work effectively with the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council to develop a solution to this issue as it is not going to go away.
- Ward Representation
Greater emphasis must be placed on Napier’s Wards. Potentially this is a very effective means of engaging with local communities to address their specific needs, yet Council has failed to embrace the potential. There is currently no compulsion for Ward elected Councillors to hold community meetings or a mechanism to reports back to Council on Ward issues.
Wards provide an effective mechanism for empowering communities in their relationship with Council, leading to great partnership, ownership and accountability.
It is essential that Ward Councillors are committed to listening to, relating to and acting on behalf of the voters in their Ward who elected them.