Today Richard Kempthorne announced he will be retiring as Mayor at the end of this term. So after much consideration, I have decided to take the Deputy Mayor’s advice and run for Mayor. I was considering just running (like Forest Gump) after three years of receiving mostly complaints about the Council even though I had little input into the direction that Council proceeded down. Most of my suggestions fell on deaf ears, and the old boys club pushed through their agenda with the occasional help of a Mayoral casting vote. But I have been persuaded to stand for Mayor by those councillors and ratepayers who don’t want more of the same.
Of course, the Deputy Mayor did not tap me on the shoulder and say he would like to see me run for Mayor, but he did make the remark that if I didn’t like the way the current Mayor ran the Council then I should run for Mayor myself. Effectively he put down the challenge to either put up or shut up, and as I believe that someone needs to stand up for the underdog (in this case the ratepayer that doesn’t have unlimited reserves to call on) I am prepared to accept his challenge.
But I do not expect my challenge for the Mayoral race to be an easy one and I will certainly be needing your help if I am to succeed in my bid. Therefor, if you would like to get behind my campaign and assist me in whichever manner you feel best able to contribute, I look forward to hearing from you.
I feel that current Mayor and Deputy Mayor team have had their time and with Council debt and liabilities going through the roof we cannot afford more of the same. My experience on the Council has shown me that there is an unwillingness to do things differently than the way they have been done in the past. Examples of this would include my attempt to make rainwater retention tanks compulsory on new builds (defeated by those who won’t entertain change), or my attempt to be more creative in the way we fund raise for a dam (the scoffers would only apply for Government assistance or pass debt to ratepayers).
But we cannot keep doing what we have always done. During the tenure of Mayor Kempthorne and his old boy
In Tasman we have the best that New Zealand has to offer. We have spectacular parks and coastlines, our weather is some of the best in the Country (even when it is bad here it usually worse elsewhere), and there are lots of opportunities for sport and recreation. But we will enjoy none of this if we cannot afford to live here.
How much do you value Democracy? The good old boys regime believes that once they are elected they have a mandate that does not require further consultation until the next election – even when increasing the LTP budgeted spend on a project by tens of millions of dollars.
The Mayoral casting vote was used twice to deny referendum for the ratepayer’s to have their say on the largest infrastructure project this region has attempted.
The Mayor and his group also denied the district a say in the voting system that we use to elect councillors. A proportional vote system where people rank candidates in order of preference was deemed to be beyond the comprehension of Tasman ratepayers. Or perhaps a minority mayor (more voted against than for our current mayor) was afraid to face a preferential system?
Democratically elected dictatorships may have been how we did it in the past, but I want to be a part of Council not afraid to hear what the ratepayers think and the ratepayers that I talk to tell me they are ready for a change too. There are a number of councillors that believe we are ready for a culture change within Tasman District Council, not just a change of face, and together we would like your support to make that happen.
Come October the choice will be yours.
More of the same, or time for a change?