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Farmer to put money where her mouth is

Rere farmer Kerry Worsnop has thrown her hat into the ring for the Gisborne District Council local body elections this year.

She intends to stand for the Waipaoa ward.

The 34-year-old mother of three has a background in pastoral farming, agribusiness and environmental services.

She is actively involved in catchment-based projects and community and industry organisations.

She and husband Marcus farm Taheke Station at Rere.

“If you find value in the concept of putting your money where your mouth is, taking a good look at what you stand for and jumping in the deep end, then local body politics might suit you,” Mrs Worsnop said.

“Having put that advice to others it therefore stands to reason that I should stand for election.”

Mrs Worsnop formed part of a concerted effort to encourage rural voices to make themselves heard in the 2018 rural representation review.

“I believe the recent prospect of losing the rural wards should serve as a reminder to rural voters not to take for granted the representation offered and not to assume that there will always be someone in the rural corner, as one day there may not be.

“At a national level it is becoming increasingly obvious that the voices of small towns and rural provinces are being muffled by the demands of more populated centres,” she said.

“This is a trend which rural communities will increasingly be aware of as they find themselves defending their rights to decent roads, reasonable rates and recognition for the part they play in delivering prosperity to the country.”

Mrs Worsnop believes delivering on Gisborne’s potential as the best place in the country to live, work and play requires getting back to basics.

“Infrastructure is basic stuff, water and our environmental wellbeing is necessary stuff, while providing the springboard for our communities to cultivate the kind of society they are proud to leave for their children is the stuff of legacy.

“We have the capacity in our region to live up to all these promises, but this requires the best from our leadership and high-calibre management capable of making the basics look easy,” she said.

“We cannot hope to aim for the stars if we are still stomping around in sewage overflows, tripping over in potholes and perpetually tangled in red tape.”

Mrs Worsnop said the future of this region was at a particularly poignant crossroads — “crossroads we have seen before”.

“The land use changes and future demographic shifts foreseen for Tairawhiti are reminiscent of the changes which swept through the East Coast in the 90s on the back of poor farming returns and post Cyclone Bola policies.

“We were ill-prepared then and we need to be better prepared now.

“We know that horticulture’s star continues to rise and that the challenges there lie in labour and water.

“We understand that forestry is riding a wave of good fortune and pastoral returns have never been better, but both rely on roads and both need land, interacting with the environment and challenged by the evolving frontiers of biodiversity, ecology, greenhouse gases and nutrient limits.

“To this end I believe I bring experience as a pragmatic advocate of practical solutions, and a strategic mind with a long-term vision for Tairawhiti that incorporates sustainable balance in our landscapes, sustainable growth in our economy and proper recognition for the role these play in sustaining a strong community.”

Kerry Worsnop: To stand for the Waipaoa ward at the local body elections. Picture supplied