Penny’s Piece July 2016

Penny Gaylor Otaki's KCDC councillor
Penny Gaylor
Otaki’s KCDC councillor

This is my final column ever as Ōtaki Ward Councillor.

As the local government election period begins in earnest in mid-July political columns will cease until after the election on 8 October.

After two terms as Ōtaki Ward Councillor, and prior to that a term on the Ōtaki Community Board, this election I’m running for the one Kapiti Coast seat on Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC).

It’s time for a refresh of energy and effort around the Regional Council table, and Kapiti deserves and needs a political representative style that builds positive relationships to ensure we are taken seriously.

The big gains claimed for Kapiti around the Regional Council table, such as the electrification to Waikanae and the Ōtaki River Flood Plain management investment were delivered were achieved during the terms of Chris Turver three terms ago. Since then Fran Wilde was Kapiti’s most useful advocate, and new GWRC Chair Chris Laidlaw is proving a valuable advocate for the needs of Kapiti.

I want to thank the communities I have served as ward councillor. I leave with a sense of fulfilment for I absolutely loved the role as your advocate. I’ve learned so much, I never took the role for granted, and I hope to keep serving through the role of Kapiti Councillor on the Regional Council.

Juggling the differing viewpoints of all constituents is the greatest challenge, and the fear of letting people down is a constant. I hope most will believe that I always took the time to listen, and that their experience was that I then followed-through any undertakings; I was always mindful of the importance of that.

I want to thank the Ōtaki Mail for the opportunity to have a monthly column for the last six years to help be accountable back to the Ōtaki community. Like many times, I’m writing this at a hideous hour of the night to fit it in between being a councillor, a mum, Chair of KCDC’s Environment and Community Development Committee, the cook, Co-Chair of the Wellington Regional Waste Minimisation Joint Committee, the gardener, Chair of the NZ Labour Party Women’s Council, manager of the Ōtaki Football Junior Blue team, FOTOR Executive Committee, the Ōtaki Foodbank Management Committee, a Marriage Celebrant and various other political activities. And yes my husband is a saint (and his support is founded on his unfailing commitment to the Ōtaki community).

Let’s hope the Ōtaki Mail will want to run a column focussed on the activities and issues confronting Regional Council if I’m elected to GWRC.

Come the time for readers to make their choices of who will represent the community on the numerous political postings in the local government and health board elections, please, please try to elect decent people.

Seriously, it really makes for altogether better decision making processes and outcomes, and you would be appalled (as I have been) to see how much of your scarce ratepayer dollar is wasted on elected representatives who wouldn’t last long in any other professional workplace, and who you wouldn’t employ in your business.

My suggestion; back the doers and community focused people who will work well with other people around the table and work hard for you.

My very best wishes for a prosperous and caring Ōtaki and Te Horo community.

Elected or not, I am always an advocate for Ōtaki, Te Horo and their communities.

Take care