Sue Wilson is a member of our St Arnaud branch. She is standing in the Lakes-Murchison ward of the Tasman District Council.
What do you see as the most important qualities for a local councillor?
The qualities I see are about keeping the community in touch so people feel engaged in decision making, rather than only a few that might be involved in the community councils about the district. I have lived in the area for some five years and met my councillor for the first time at one of the ‘meet the candidates’ meetings last week. I intend to keep up my Facebook and Twitter accounts to keep my widespread community involved in open dialogue with what is happening on a micro level, rather than reading announcements in the newspaper.
What are the top three rural issues facing your community?
1. Tasman District Council justifies its debt as inter-generational equity, synonymous with sustainable development. However this can only be sustainable if future generations aren’t lumbered with a large debt that impedes their ability to service the debt and be able to move forward with any future infrastructure they require. The proposed Lee Valley Dam has the ability to cause inter-generational debt unless we look at alternative funding models to assist with sharing the load such as public private partnerships.
2. Growing GE or GMO crops in our district needs to be done through the resource consent process and be publicly notified activity, making GE crop growers pay a sizeable bond so that should there be an outbreak our farmers are adequately protected, otherwise without these protections we will all pay.
3. TDC’s Long Term Plan is about having positive, healthy sustainable outcomes for our community. The community drives decision making by Council, so I support a collaborative approach in attaining these sustainable outcomes to provide a balanced vision of sustainability in moving the community forward, so we need to be proactive rather than being in damage control with regards to future weather events. A lot of work has been done on our renowned Waimea Estuary, so allowing sewage overflows or eutrophication from rivers and streams after heavy rain is no longer an option. To keep Richmond’s predicted growth sustainable and to protect valuable arable land for food production means Richmond needs quality high density housing to prevent urban sprawl impinging on productive land.
If you could change one thing affecting the rural community during your term in office, what would it be?
To advocate Council sticks to its sustainable outcomes advocated in the LTP and champion sustainability for all future decisions made so we aren’t paying the price for bad decision making going forward. Intensive farming is justified as the way forward for food security on our fertile Waimea Plains, however not all intensive farming practices are for food crops, so when promoting the dam as necessary for food security the community needs to decide if sustainable intensive farming can be a reality in our region.
Categorised in: Uncategorized