How do you plan on supporting local contractors and/or businesses? Have you any plans to help reduce the relatively high number of unemployed of our region?
Thanks for your questions. To answer your first question I would, with the help of my councillors, create a Council policy that encourages all council contracts and suppliers to go to local contractors and suppliers first.
As for your second question, this refers to something that is a New Zealand wide problem, we have had job summits, work programmes, etc... But at the end of the day, we need to all be realistic about supporting our local economy. Just like the Saturday morning growers market, this is Whangarei people going to Whangarei growers and buying their produce from them, and in turn the growers then buy their supplies from the local businesses.
Too many times I have seen the local money leave the district, this is not acceptable to me. On saying that I have had people tell me that it is cheaper to buy something from Auckland than it is from Whangarei, I ask is it? When you buy something from Auckland, you then must pay freight to get it up here, if you buy local this will all be included in the price and when something goes wrong, who will fix it? If it came from Auckland then you will need to send it back, at least if you purchased it from up here, the supplier will sort it out for you.
We as a district need to get behind one another, I personally try to employ locals for jobs that I need doing, just like my clients use me to fix their computers, but we all need to be realistic about our service and pricing. If we are greedy or unhelpful towards others, how does that encourage local people to use local people?
This council is already supporting local contractors. The move to design-build roading contracts has meant efficiencies which have made the money go further and kept locals employed. Government has also been persuaded to spend an additional $123 million on Whangarei roads over the next three years, and that means employment. Our building contractors do find it tough getting a look in on major government jobs because of the procurement processes -- they are asked to nominate the last job they built for $10 million, for instance, and of course we don\'t have projects of that scale here, so they are disqualified. It doesn\'t mean they are not capable of doing the job. The fact is that locals are employed, even if an Auckland firm is the lead contractor. Look at the courthourse extension -- it went to an outside firm, but was built by Hill Construction. In job creation, tourism is our big hope, and Council can promote tourism by creating attractions which will entice visitors to stop off in Whangarei. The best hope for regional employment, outside the relatively low-paying tourism jobs, is mining on non-sensitive land, which offers large pay packets and would be a huge economic boost for Northland.
When elected I will ensure that wherever practical local suppliers must be given preferential consideration for the supply of goods and/or services. In the last 5 years of attending Council meetings and watching the processes, I have always been vocal through our many letters to the editor and my website to \'have a level playing field\'. In my opinion I believe tendering processes need to be open, transparent and honest in all regards. This provides equal opportunities to all and even better value to the ratepayer. We also endeavour to purchase anyting we can locally and we must be seen to encourage this practice to all who live here. By keeping money in our community, results in better living qualities for all who live here. Money is made round to go round and when kept local it is the locals who indeed benefit.
In regards to the unemployed in our region...There are groups that are presently working well in these areas, so lets not reinvent the wheel, but council must be supportive to them in any way possible. We only recently went to a job summit and many great ideas were forthcoming from the working groups that attended. Lets build on these ideas. There are a number of projects that council needs to undertake to make Whangarei a better place and this in turn can create more employment by moving forward and instigating these projects.