These are responses to questions that have been asked on the Waiheke 2016 Local Board Election facebook page:
Do you support or not support the Our Waiheke campaign for an independent Waiheke council?
Don’t support. I submitted against a supercity to the Select Committee that was considering this as I thought it was a mistake to include us in Auckland. As a result of my submission and others like me, Waiheke got its own board and was not lumped in with Waitemata. I think that needs to be acknowledged and seldom is. In terms of the powers of the board, we don’t control a lot of the budget but our advocacy role is quite strong if we are able to use it well and there are opportunities to get more of the budget. The big gripe across all 21 boards is that there is a lack of subsidiarity and there is now an awareness in Council that they have dealt with regional issues well but have been a bit hopeless on local issues. There is currently a discussion paper on governance and there are some interesting comments on Waiheke which could act as a starting point for greater autonomy. I think we get a lot of expertise and resource from Council, but there’s also a lot of wastage. As we work together under this system I think we can make it work. Changing governance structures is in my view unrealistic, won’t get us great outcomes and is a collosal waste of time that I’m not interested in adding to my list of things to do. If someone else can work it out, and the community want to support it, and show how it will happen, then I’ll go along with it but I won’t be leading that process. My preference would be to work with Auckland Council and the other boards and get the best level of subsidiarity and autonomy within that. The One Waiheke has been a great levering tool and my feeling would be to capitalise on that.
What will you be doing to ensure our island’s cultural heritage and buildings/landscapes with historical and/or amenity value are protected?
My interest is in understanding what kind of development we need for the future of our island. It seems that with an ageing and gentrifying population, we need to make sure there is sufficient affordable housing and rental accomodation to support diversity. We also need to be thoughtful around tourism and what kind of experiences we want to have when visitors are here, and what kinds of experiences they will have. The strongest match will be if people come here for the things we also enjoy. I think we need to think about where we could encourage development as well as where we want to protect at all costs. We don’t have a lot of heritage buildings and we should protect them, but we do have significant areas of maori significance and we need to be careful that we’re protecting these sites, our ridgelines and our coastal landscapes.
When did you last visit Kia Piritahi Marae? If elected, how would you foster a good working relationship with iwi?
I was at the last marae committee meeting to thank them for all their work and leadership on the tuwhera, say that I was standing again and ask if there was anything they’d like me to be aware of. Piritahi Marae is an incredible resource for our community and I’d like to explore more opportunities to work together on useful projects. I also popped in at the weekend to support a hui and to sing – the waiata group meets on the first Sunday of the month – except I was late and most people had already left.
Good working relationships are based on trust and respect and I think I work hard to build that with everyone, both iwi and not and I will continue to try and build this.
What are your thoughts on Waiheke becoming a predator free Island?
It’s a great aspiration but quite a challenge to achieve. I’d love to see us working on managing rat numbers so that our native birds have more of a chance. I’d like to see more of a balance in terms of what we spend on animal and plant pest management.
Where do you candidates rate the importance of performing arts on our island and what would you do to help and work with us?
Very important – and I have benefitted from being able to take part in performing arts groups on the island. I’d like to see the performing arts get as much support as sport as I think it provides a similar socialising and participatory function and can be really good exercise. I love the fact we’re getting a bigger range of performer at artworks and have been able to extend some of the Auckland Arts Festival to Waiheke. I’d also like to see the opportunity for some of our performing arts groups to get off island. As a local board, it is our role to support the aspirations for the community. Given the fact that artworks theatre is nearing the end of its useby day, we need to be facilitating a process whereby we transition to an upgrade or replacement of the theatre. This will take a few years and will require a bit of work to get the money together but I think it is the board’s role to support the community in this process. Performing arts also has a maori cultural aspect and I’d like to see this explored and supported more.