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Environment matters

In between the green mantle of the Kaimai Ranges and the sparkling blue of Te Awanui the Western Bay of Plenty has some of the most productive soils in the country.

The region’s agriculture, apiculture, aquaculture, horticulture, silviculture, and viticulture drive our economy and enhance the tourism experience for visitors. It is critical that, as a Council, these sectors are supported and encouraged.

Clean water and clear air is essential to all of us and every effort must be made in conjunction with the Regional Council and central government to protect, preserve and enhance the natural environment entrusted to us.

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Policies matter

Some will campaign on the plank that they will reduce rates. The only way that rates can be significantly reduced is with a significant reduction in services that we expect our Council to deliver.

Obviously we would all like to pay less in rates but we also want to see the parks and reserves mowed more often and the power lines put underground and our rubbish collected for no extra charge and our swimming pools replaced and an upgrade for our old community hall and the tar seal extended on the rural roads and and and …

For some years now, previous Councils have adopted a measured approach to spending, service delivery, debt reduction and rates increases. Should some catastrophe affect our district there is a significant margin between the current WBPDC debt and the amount that could be borrowed under statutory limits. Many councils in New Zealand have borrowed right up to their limit so cannot afford necessary infrastructure works and have no capacity to cope with the unexpected.

Prudence is the key: Minimise rates increases, carefully control spending and ensure Council services deliver what the community expects. That said, I will continue to advocate for the removal of damaging silica from our water supply, even if it costs us a little more for the water we use.

A secondary school in Omokoroa is another priority that Council should continue to advocate for strongly.

And State Highways 2 and 29?

Continue the pressure on central government and NZTA to deliver a proper solution, not a sticking plaster patch-up for these important highways.

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Local voices matter

During the 2013 – 2016 Council term a proposal was floated to sell off various pieces of reserve land in the district.

A number of these reserve areas were in Omokoroa. As a fairly new resident of Omokoroa it was clear that selling any green space in a rapidly growing community was not a sensible idea.

With two others we mobilised the community and filled the Settlers’ Hall to overflowing with 300 plus people vigorously opposing the sale of our reserve land.

The councillors that were around the table during that period heard the community voice loud and clear and the sale process was abandoned.

It was this experience that made me run for the Omokoroa Community Board.

Knowing that change is possible, that community opinion is important and that residents in an area understand it better than anyone else is why I am standing for the Kaimai Ward.

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In your community, for your community

Since moving to the beautiful Western Bay of Plenty district Murray has been involved in a number of volunteer community roles:

  • Chairman of Omokoroa Environmental Managers Inc (current)
  • Community patroller for Omokoroa Community Policing Group (current)
  • Parish councillor for Omokoroa Community Church
  • Webmaster for Omokoroa community website (current)
  • Webmaster for Katikati Theatre website (current)
  • Assisted Western Bay Museum with technology setup
  • Assistance with Omokoroa community foodbank (current)
  • Member of Cooney Reserve care group (current)
  • Toy “doctor” for Omokoroa Toy Library (current)