Congratulations to Geoff Evans an Associate member of Rural Women New Zealand who has just been re-elected for a second term for the Marlborough District Council in the Wairau/Awatere ward.
Looking to the next three years, Geoff says:
There is unfinished business and much more to achieve. Also, it is vital that farmers and other rural landowners are represented.
There needs to be strong rural representation on councils – particularly unitary authorities like Marlborough. Services supplied and rating are very different for rural and urban people. There is a population crossover, but rural people are usually a minority. Achieving a fair balance is not always easy, and promoting understanding is essential.
Having spent a number of years trying to cajole Council to accept and understand rural issues in both Federated Farmers and Rural Women NZ, I thought I could achieve better outcomes for all around the Council table.
Has being a Rural Women NZ member influenced your decision to stand then?
Yes. Support from Rural Women has been very important and encouraging over the past term.
What do you see as the most important qualities for a local councillor?
The most important qualities are fairness, balance and an ability to listen and understand. There is no place for extremes or personal agendas in Council business.
What are the top rural issues facing your community?
In Marlborough currently they are:
1. Earthquake recovery for the badly affected Wairau/Awatere ward.
2. Water issues – use, storage and availability (including reticulation for rural towns).
3. Regulatory reform – central government has directed councils to improve their regulatory delivery processes to achieve cost and time savings. I support this.
Reflecting on your previous term in office, what were the high and low points?
The most distressing thing was the huge property revaluation-driven rate increases for some. Over 40 percent for some rural people. Individuals cannot afford increases of this magnitude. I suggested several options to smooth this impact.
One achievement was to get Council to agree to review their Freedom Camping Bylaw.
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