These are responses to questions that have been asked on the Waiheke 2016 Local Board Election facebook page and I’m recopying here for those who don’t have facebook or aren’t on that page: 

In light of Auckland mayoral candidate Vic Crone’s recent claim that the science around man-made climate change remains contentious, I am keen to hear from our candidates what their view is on anthropogenic global warming and what measures they would advocate our island adopting to both mitigate and adapt to a climate challenged future. Thank you.

Yes, it is an issue and I’d like to see us working more actively in this space. Encouraging a range of travel options which transition people safely out of cars and reducing plastics and waste are the usual options discussed. I think we can go further by finding and developing opportunities for food and energy resilience, and economic resilience. If oil prices sky rocket or the weather changes rapidly we will be very vulnerable. We need to look at water security too. On the bright side lots of people are thinking about this on the island and early in the next term I’d like to bring people together to think about what we should be working towards and if there are projects that need to be thought through in this space. It also needs to feature in the District Plan review.

My question is to candidates who are currently or previously served on the board. What are you most proud of achieving during your time in office?

I think I’ve held issues up to the light and tried to consider them from different perspectives before making a decision. I think I’ve generally remained inclusive and respectful of everyone and have tried to listen to and support both individuals and groups to resolve some of the challenges that face them. I’ve tried to understand how Council works and I think I’ve stayed true to my values. In terms of specific things, I’m proud to have brought the housing steering group together and worked with them, supported Waiheke Adult Learning in the transition to the old library, supported funding for marketing the market and supporting WaiDrive. Safety and cycling improvements at Surfdale shops and on Donald Bruce Roads, working on keeping Waiheke TPPA free, taking steps to keep Waiheke kauri dieback free and ensuring we don’t build tracks across kauri areas.

My question needs a one word answer please from each candidate. I either support or oppose the statement….. I support or oppose the establishment of marine reserves adjacent to the Waiheke residential or recreational coastline. (Note, this does not mean that marine reserves shouldn’t or couldn’t be established in the Hauraki Gulf, but not adjacent to the Waiheke coastline).

I’m sorry this is precisely the kind of lack of debate I want to get away from. An answer will come from communities of interest – residents, fishers, supporters of marine reserves working together to work out a situation that everyone can live with, and leads to future abundance and restoration. … I don’t think it’s a good idea to have a reserve on populated beaches where it will have huge opposition, but I’d also like some commitment from those opposed that they will actively work towards supporting an area where people can come and enjoy a restored marine environment.

I am interested to know whether candidates support the growth of tourism on the island and what they would recommend in terms of infrastructure enhancements to deal with the current growth. Do you feel there will come a time when the growth will need to be more closely monitored/managed?

It’s an excellent question and in the last year we’re seeing a transition from operators wanting a lot more trade in the Winter, to being relatively satisfied that they’ve been quite busy. Some businesses have slowed down, but on the whole it’s been steady. Last Summer was at capacity in many venues, and people could not book for a meal on the same day. let alone turn up and expect to be served. Unlike other places we have no mechanism for regulating how many cars or people come to the island, what kinds of eateries open or what kinds of vehicles fit in with the character of the island. Operators seem to fall into two categories – ones that seek the mass tourism opportunity and therefore need to build or buy bigger to accommodate the transport and food requirements offered by cruise ships, or package tours, and ones that cater for the independent tourist who might be less easy to plan for but who will integrate more easily into what we currently have. In terms of Council building infrastructure, we need to think about what kind of experience we’re building for. My preference would be for us to build to meet current demand and encourage the independent traveller so have a slower growth model. But much of it will be driven by bigger players. My interest always is that the visitors have a unique and memorable experience and enjoy what we value about the island. Visitors should also put as much money as possible into the local economy rather than being captured before they get here. And in terms of transport we need to be really careful those commuting on and off island for work can continue to do that efficiently.