Local Elections 2013 – Jacqui Church – standing for Awaroa ki Tuakau ward of Waikato District Council 04-Sep-2013

September 4, 2013 10:51 pm

First time candidate and Onewhero Rural Women member, Jacqui Church, has romped home with the highest number of votes in the Awaroa ki Tuakau Ward of Waikato District Council, according to preliminary results.  The ward spans a large rural area from south of Auckland right to the Waikato river.

What inspired you to put your hand up for local body politics?

Being honoured with the Franklin’s Finest Person Award for 2012 has set me on this path.  I am putting my money where my mouth is for a better way!  We need a vigorous, much more consultative and inclusive culture and voice at council than we current have on the Waikato District Council.

Has being a Rural Women member influenced your decision to stand?

Yes!  I realise how precious our rural lifestyle and values are and how very cool the rural women are I have had the privilege to meet since moving to the country from Auckland over 15 years ago.  This very powerful thought gave me the strength to ‘put myself out here’, to hopefully add value in the long term to our community.  Rural Women gives me strength of purpose and I feel supported!

What do you see as the most important qualities for a local councillor?

My reputation is based on a philosophy of being counted upon when the going gets tough; loyalty, honesty and integrity; supporting positive change and growth; and a no-nonsense, common sense and business-like approach, while always on the look out for some fun!

What are the top three issues facing your district ward?

1.  Reverse sensitivity issues that are rapidly increasing with the rapid growth throughout the ward.  Horticulture is growing in the ward as current quality land use is changing over to housing and infrastructure needs.  We seriously need some overall strategic planning, not the past usual haphazard ad-hoc planning decisions that have occurred.

2.  As a mixed ward split approximately half and half rural and town, there is a generally held feeling of dis-enfranchisement with local government, its policies and the ever-increasing rates being charged throughout the area.

3.  Managing the growth and getting our heads around understanding that we are on the ever-growing Auckland border.  We need to get on board with the Auckland Unitary Plan and ensure there are cohensive and logical plans in Waikato that maximise our ‘riding the growth wave’ while sustaining and protecting our past heritage, environment and farming and rural lifestyles.

If you could change one thing affecting your rural community during your term in office, what would it be?

I would like to see an appreciable increase in the amount of people excited and engaged again in our ward. That this silent majority is heard and considered properly in the consultation process, whereby the present culture of ‘ticking the box’ of consultation is actively taken seriously and the will of the many in our democracy actually works again.  Have we women and particularly our younger women forgotten how we fought and won the vote?  How we were the first women in the world to vote?  This is such a precious gift of our own to honour.  I believe the many make for a better, well-rounded society and future.

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