Has being a Rural Women NZ member influenced your decision to stand?
Rural Women NZ has certain had an impact on the path I have taken towards local body politics. As a newly married farmer’s wife, I joined what was then WDFF. I took on office bearer roles at branch and area level. This taught me a lot about meeting procedure proceses, remits etc. I was fortunate enough to attend the Wellington Experience (Rural Women’s leadership programme), and this gave me insight into the way that governance and government work. I felt now that my children had left home and with the experience I had gained working in community development for over 20 years, that now is the time to step up and put myself forward.
What do you see as the most important qualities for a local councillor?
A councillor needs to be a good listener and communicator. Staying positive and being prepared to stand firm and be strong when necessary are also essential requirements in my view.
What are the top three rural issues facing your community?
1. At present the possible loss of Invermay research centre is a key issue, as that has huge potential ramifications for both rural and town constituents.
2. The balance between urban and rural rating is a perennial problem.
3. The third issue is that Dunedin city is starting to feel the pinch that loss of services causes. This is something that small rural communities faced 10-15 years ago.
If you could change one thing affecting the rural community during your term in office, what would it be?
The lack of skilled workers, particularly in dairying, continues to be a key issue. Farms cannot work at full productivity without good staff. Dunedin City has high youth unemployment rates. We need to continue to look at new ways to encourage farming as a good option for our young people. As to me, Dunedin City with its strong mix of rural and urban ratepayers may be just the place to look at new joint initiatives in this area.
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