After much consideration I have decided that in the 2016 local government elections I will not run for KCDC, but instead will run for election as the Kapiti councillor on the Greater Wellington Regional Council. I could not have loved more the role I have of working in my community as the Ōtaki ward councillor, but when I look at what are now the significant stalemates for Ōtaki and Kapiti, I see that the GWRC is the place I can best serve the interests and needs of Ōtaki and Kapiti.
Having served two terms on the Kapiti Coast District Council as Chair of the Environment and Community Development Committee, plus an initial term on the Ōtaki Community Board, I’ve gained huge experience as a local government representative and honed my skills as an issues campaigner.
I’m committed to utilising my advocacy skills, my strength for building relationships, and my readiness to lead on an issue. The important role of the voice for Kapiti in Wellington desperately needs a refresh, with a positive and proactive person on the job.
I fought hard alongside the Capital Connection train users (for several years) to save the service, and now we need someone who is willing to keep the focus on the future needs of the Ōtaki community and fight to get improved public transport services here, including extension of the electrification of the train up here.
Not only is the commitment to those community transport objectives woeful, but just in last 2 months we’ve heard that GWRC are taking out the Te Horo Hyde Park bus stop. Typically the current councillor has ducked for cover and not returning our community board’s phone calls on the matter.
In my view, the priorities for the next Kapiti representative on GWRC, will be: to build constructive relationships with community, business and local government; focus on leveraging greater economic development opportunities for Kapiti; and shift the thinking of local and central government agencies to see the benefits of spatial planning and increased shared services. With the environmental imperatives top of mind, we need to focus on future proofing our Kapiti lifestyle because we live, work and play here. We must make sure our lifestyle is protected and that there is better co-ordinated planning, which in turn will benefit the whole Wellington region, given Kapiti is where the region will ultimately grow. This is crucial here in Ōtaki.
Leading in to this decision has been the huge number of people sharing with me their dissatisfaction with the current Kapiti representation on GWRC, they’ve expressed their frustration at the lack-lustre representation which as one businessman put it has ‘marginalised Kapiti in Wellington’. We can’t afford a seat-warmer. There are significant issues facing Kapiti that GWRC hasn’t contributed too, let alone taken a constructive leadership role in. For the betterment of Kapiti this must change at next year’s election.
As Kapiti’s representative on GWRC I will be fiercely loyal to Kapiti, grounded in the needs of Kapiti, determined in my advocacy for Kapiti. Furthermore, I believe renewal is good for our community, and there are others in the next generation of leaders who we should be encouraging to take-up this opportunity.
Kind Regards, Penny