October 12 marks one year out from the next local body election. The Southland Express asked our 12 Invercargill City councillors and mayor if the intend to stand again and two further questions. 1. What do you believe has been the council’s biggest achievement during the past two years? 2. Where do you believe council can improve? This is what they had to say.
TIM SHADBOLT – YES
1. There have been numerous achievements such as the survival of Zero Fees, the redevelopment of our airport and our state-of-the-art water purification plant, but I believe the most significant achievement is the increase in our population. We desperately need another 10,000 people in our city and we are on track to succeed.
2. I believe we need to increase our commitment to warm, dry, healthy homes, but the entire country is facing this challenge. We have already launched an accommodation bursary for SIT students but we also need to increase pensioner housing and homes for skilled workers.
REBECCA AMUNSDEN – YES
1. Council has been very busy this term. I think one of our best achievements was the significant projects identified in our Long Term Plan, most of which grew out of the SoRDS Action Plan. For example, the Arts Creativity Invercargill, Anderson House redevelopment, Living Dinosaur, and fast tracking the museum redevelopment.
2. I think over the next few years we will see a lot of improvements made with council especially now we have a set of fresh eyes, a new chief executive. In particular for me, I still believe that we can improve how the council engages with the community. We have made some progress, but there is more that can be done.
TONI BIDDLE – YES
1. I believe this council has delivered the one thing our community desperately wanted and needed, change. New culture, transparency, transformational decisions to make our city a better place.
2. Delivery and communication. Now, we need to deliver the goods. The Long Term Plan is out, the public are supportive and now we need to deliver the goods, keep the community informed and get to work.
LLOYD ESLER – UNDECIDED
1. Vision for the future beginning to take shape. There have been setbacks, such as the museum closure, but a lot of opportunities are knocking. The council is beginning to recognise that it is not just business as usual ,but that there are huge possibilities in tourism development, education, commerce and industry.
2. I’m an amalgamationist. Rather than have three territorial authorities, I want one that deals with all the Southland stuff – Tiwai smelter, Milford Sound, Stewart Island, exports, tourism, Te Araroa, Southern Scenic Route, dairying, heritage and so on, without the need for borders. Only 100,000 people in Southland – it makes sense.
DARREN LUDLOW – UNDECIDED
1. Getting the Long Term Plan in place. It sets the tone for the next 10 years(and next three in particular), and with all of the major projects and infrastructure work on our plate, it took some good strategic thinking to agree on the best way forward.
2. Communication is still a big issue for us. Information is key. The traditional ways of letting ratepayers know what we are doing and why, or seeking feedback, have changed. While we have improved, there’s still a way to go, but that’s also because communication can sometimes be a moving target.
LINDSAY ABBOTT – YES
1. Essential infrastructure, i.e. Branxholme water quality exceeded. Proposed new slide, changing rooms and alterations for the pool. Library extensions and its second placing internationally putting Invercargill on the map. A recent deliberate move to review council assets, reserves funding, and expenditure.
2. Implementing of alternate water supply for the city (past summers recognise the dire situation). Flexibility in future thinking with the potential for council to form a joint venture with private companies, .i.e. housing crisis, CBD development. Planned events within the CBD and city to attract locals and the tourist dollar.
IAN POTTINGER – YES
1. This term the greatest achievement has been for council to work with new management leadership and formulate far more transparent financial strategies that clearly show where and why money is spent, as well as engaging these strategies in its long-term financial forecasts. Prudent financial decision-making will depend on this.
2. Council can never cease to improve on how it engages with the public. In everything from roading services to building consents, council must be a co-operative team player and fully realise that if it fails its role the flow-on financial and social consequences are far reaching.
LESLEY SOPER – YES
1. A Long Term Plan containing multiple development initiatives for Invercargill, from locating an alternative water supply to building a new Arts Centre.
2. Improve on shared services with other councils, and better engage the public. Further support inner-city development and a balanced heritage-buildings strategy. Be part of housing solutions for the planned thousands of new residents. Complete the Invercargill-Bluff walkway, prioritise waste management, responsible transport solution, recycling, and better prepare for civil defence emergencies.
ALLAN ARNOLD – UNDECIDED
1. Some things I’m very pleased with so far is the positivity going forward with all the big developments planned, which will remodel Invercargill and make a small city with a great vibe. I feel very positive about the progress that came from the rehoming and euthanasia review of the animal control department. I am stoked that Anderson Park is finally being fixed.
2. I’d have to say my biggest disappointment that springs to mind was the closure of the museum.
ALEX CRACKETT – YES
1. We are entering an exciting period of transformational development and advancement. Our recent appointment of a new CEO and some fundamental staffing changes are creating a fresh environment for change and efficiency. The combination of the HWCP pivate/public partnership, council projects and business/community is a catalyst for positive impact we desperately need.
2. Less red tape, more proactivity. Genuinely engaging stakeholders and community to enable development rather than inhibit. Local government moves slowly, I would like to see swifter action and a “how can we help you make this happen” culture shift. Our role is to listen, act and to serve, I think some of us sometimes forget that.
GRAHAM LEWIS – YES
1. Taking on the positive marketing of various aspects, including business potential of the inner city, with the flow-on potential to increase jobs and increase the desirability of Invercargill as a city in which to live, stay, and enjoy.
2. Ensure council expenditure commensurate with affordable rates and be aware of the average citizen’s ability to live a worthwhile lifestyle within their means. But at the same time provide at least the essential services expected. Difficult balancing act but vital.
Cr Karen Arnold was unable to be contacted by deadline.
Cr Lindsay Thomas was unable to be contacted by deadline.