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Long-time councillor calls time

There will be at least three new councillors after the local body elections in October.

Sitting councillors Brian Wilson and Karen Fenn have told The Gisborne Herald they will not seek re-election while Rehette Stoltz is standing for mayor and is not seeking a council seat.

Five councillors have said they will stand again. Five have yet to confirm their plans.

Long-serving councillor and finance and audit committee chairman Brian Wilson said he would not be standing again.

“There are too many mountains to climb, waves to surf, cycleways to cycle and waterways to paddle for me to fit in while I am able,” he said.

“I am excited to ramp up these activities but I have enjoyed the 18 years of challenges and achievements while on the council.”

City ward councillor Karen Fenn has decided not to stand.

“My circumstances have changed,” she said. “My main council platform was to do something for youth and their future. In the meantime my other job (the Licence to Work programme through Activate Tairawhiti) has provided an opportunity to do more in this area than I thought was possible.

“My focus is on that future, as well as supporting my husband who started a new business venture this year.

“The council experience has been largely rewarding, helping me further my understanding of our community and share in the council’s vision for the development of the Tairawhiti region. I am comfortable this work will be left in good hands with the many dedicated councillors currently at the table.

“To my constituents, rest assured you will still get value for money from me with what I can do for young people in our region.”

City ward member Larry Foster is standing again.

“I really enjoy and am proud to represent this awesome community by making sensible decisions to assist in sustainable growth and future planning.

“I want to keep rates affordable while also achieving our aspirations of an environmentally, and economically vibrant Tairawhiti. “

“Some of the challenges for the next three years are the heavy vehicle movements through our city, the upgrading of our regional roading systems, the wastewater upgrade and DrainWise project, keeping our infrastructure and regional policies in line with our future growth, and increasing community confidence in the council’s performance.

Pat Seymour will also stand again for the Tawhiti-Uawa ward.

“I believe I offer accountability to the ratepayers of the ward and of the district,” she said. “What do I look to achieve? Active support for community projects — for example, theatres projects, conservation projects and the restoration of Tokomaru Bay Wharf —strong advocacy for improved standards of roading, weed and pest control, and transparency from management.”

Dunn, Burdett and MacLean to standCity ward member Amber Dunn confirmed she will stand again.

“My focus has been on creating the conditions for our people and businesses to thrive, and I want to continue this work.

“A fundamental part of thriving comes from infrastructure, or what I like to call ‘wellbeing’ infrastructure — our transport, drinking water, and wastewater systems, and essential community facilities such as libraries and pools.

“We must ensure those things that really matter to our wellbeing are fit-for-purpose and well-functioning, and be brave enough to look into forward-thinking and multi-functional infrastructure investments.”

Waiapu ward member Bill Burdett is standing again.

“I am sound in mind and body, so why not,” he said. “I still want to be there for the Coast.”

He believes the Coast and other rural areas have not been fairly treated in the apportionment of spending by the council, particularly rural villages.

Another major concern is the way that the uniform annual general charge is charged on continuous properties, which has a major impact on Maori land.

Roads and the Waiapu River protection works will also occupy his attention.

Taruheru-Patutahi ward member Malcolm MacLean is to stand again.

Mr MacLean said he wanted to continue to give his personal assistance to people who have a problem in their community.

He will work for safe traffic movements in and around rural schools and play centres, and rural roads will be a major focus.

“I want to see better communication and understanding of what is going on, and what is about to happen,” he said.

“I will follow up and see that we receive our promised Provincial Growth Fund money. I want to see the CBD tidied up and something done about the homeless.

“There are many other reasons that I want to stand again and now that I have had two-and-a-half years on the council, I can put that experience to better use for our community,“ said Mr MacLean.

Josh Wharehinga and Meredith Akuhata-Brown are to make an announcement later while fellow city ward councillor Shannon Dowsing will give a statement closer to the election.

City ward councillor Andy Cranston said there were five months to the elections and he did not intend to make a decision now.

Waipaoa ward councillor Graeme Thomson was not prepared to make an announcement at this time.

GDC and public to choose a way forward. File picture