Sunday, October 14, 2007

A new era, or more of the same?

The votes have been counted, the dust has settled and what have we got? Virtually the same council as before with the two retirees replaced by Thelma Buck and Lindsay Abbot, and both of them have served before. It appears that the people of Invercargill do not like change.

Invercargill has been riding a wave of prosperity in recent years, rising house prices, the rapid expansion of dairying and the success of the SIT has put new heart into our city. However, the concerns regarding the transparency of governance (many closed meetings), planning and auditing problems and the big odour issue, cause many to ask if it has been good luck or good management that has carried us through.

There have been some strong views expressed on this blog about what should be done in the years ahead from many of our elected councillors. I would be expecting to see the following occur in the near future:

1. Invercargill joining the Communities for Climate Protection scheme.
2. Greater funding and support for the arts.
3. An emphasis on maintaining our CBD as the commercial, cultural and social hub of our community.
4. Further development of safe cycling routes throughout the central city and the continued development of walking and cycling tracks.
5. Continued consultation with South City residents and progress reports on promised work.
6. Setting a Zero waste target and introducing the collection of green waste.
7. Expanding the representation of the Youth Council and improving the working relationship by developing some joint actions and initiatives where progress can be measured.
8. Sustainable practices become a key consideration for all future developments and decisions.
9. A regular bus service is started between Bluff and Invercargill and continued improvements of accessibility on key services for elderly and disabled passengers.
10. The healthy homes concept is introduced to Invercargill to improve the standard of our older houses and increase overall energy efficiency.

BSprout

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

LAST DAYS

We are being told that tomorrow is the last possible day for mailing voting forms to ensure your votes are counted. I have heard that since the mail sorting is now done in Dunedin it may take longer for a letter to be delivered, lets hope there are no delays.

The talk around the country has been around the general apathy around local body politics. Some say it's because people are happy with their civic governance and while there may be truth in that, I think it's because many people just don't know who they're voting for. It was interesting to read the responses to my survey, however while this was a useful guide, it is what the candidates do once elected that really counts and sometimes those that make the most noise don't always live up to their own hype.

I find it useful to read a range of political journalists who report on the performance of our national politicians. These journalists spend some time observing the debating chamber and following the progress of select committees etc. This gives me an insight on what is happening in parliament and how individuals perform. I know that if different journalists are impressed with the same politician's performance, that politician must be doing something right. If I'm really keen I can look at Hansard's transcripts online and see for myself who the performers are and who are always left with the "patsy" questions. This does not really happen with local body politics. Unless we can be bothered attending public sessions we must rely on local journalists who tend to concentrate on personalities rather than issues.

It would be good to have a website that one could visit with regular updates on council business and commenting on the performance of our councillors. Weekly newspaper columns with lively insights and overviews would also help. Who are Invercargill's elder statesmen and women, our enthusiastic young guns and our dead wood (who collect their pay, don't read background material and sleep through meetings)?

I would be interested in any ideas or comments.

BSprout

Monday, October 8, 2007

Anna Andrews responds

Anna Andrews had not received my survey when I sent it out originally and I apologize to her if the error was mine. The answers she provided (after only receiving the questions today) are published below.

BSprout


Anna Andrews replies:

1. Most certainly. It is imperative that the Council leads the way not only for its own savings but it must be seen to encourage all new buildings whether commercial or residential to also follow regulations which will help to preserve the future of our planet.

2. All three mentioned facilities are quite adequately financed at present. The gardens are a credit to Invercargill along with the swimming pool and its two galleries. However, other cultural facilities which could possibly be encouraged would be the visits of top groups/bands which many of the younger age group would like to see visiting here.

3. In the vast majority of cases, businesses are profit driven. When they make a profit do they offer it to the Council? Alas no! However, Vibrant Southland, Chamber of Comerce, Export Institute and the monitoring programme run by the Government are all available to new businesses, plus a fair sprinkling of accountants all willing to help. I speak from experience.

4. Most certainly but the cyclists need education: cyclists on the shared pedestrian/cyclist lanes should also recognise the pedestrian has the right of way.

5. Definitely. I have campaigned on improving the ambience of South City with the planting of more trees. Perhaps the land which has recently been cleared of trees could be made into a park and the extension of the walk way be planted with flowers from time to time. Even a change of name so there is no differential between North and South should be considered.

6. Without a doubt. I have strongly campaigned on this point. The sooner the better. Even perhaps using vegetable waste to make compost which could be re-sold to the public should also be considered.

7. Facilities for teenagers within the City are very good, especially for the sports minded. There are tennis clubs, cricket grounds, hockey grounds, swimming pools, skate board park, rugby and football clubs plus a number of golf course and a miriad of other sports clubs all of which are open to teenagers. There are café bars for social gatherings, youth groups, cinema and not least the stadium with its facilities. What I do consider quite extraordinarily miserly is the $20K allotted by the Council for the youth of Invercargill.

8. Sustainable practices should be an integral part of Councils activities.

9. I have mentioned within the answers given to the Chamber of Commerce that I would like to see a mini bus operating between Bluff and Invercargill on a regular basis but I would like to add that I would also like to see a subsidy applied to this service, especially for the retired, unemployed people of Bluff. Perhaps a special free pass issued by Council to retired people of Bluff could be considered. I am sure this would go a long way to helping people with small incomes.

With regard to disabled users, I believe there are a number of buses with wheelchair access. However, we must be realistic in our dreams and aspirations. Our small population does not allow for grandoise schemes and excessive facilities without the rates rising. Therefore the established services within the City must remain for the time being. There are a number of facilities available to the disabled, not least of which a subsidised taxi service and one or two private firms which do an excellent and very cheap service.

10. MOST CERTAINLY. Lets try and encourage all new buildings whether commercial or residential to encourage energy efficiency. I believe it is possible to get a grant to have solar power installed so perhaps more along this line might be encouraged. It might be necessary to set up a sub-committee to encourage this together with questions 1 and 6.

I am interested in all aspects of Council business. However, I wish to be a voice or conduit of the voters to the Council: to listen to what they say and to try and interpret it to the very best of my ability. I want to help the people of Invercargill by giving back to them the benefits of my life’s experiences. It is not my intention to have a personal agenda, and I promise that half my salary will be given to Southland charities if I am elected.

I would like to see a more open Council, a more available Council and one which is accountable. In particular I would like to see the Mayor’s monthly spending and activities printed in the paper for all to see not just where he spends his money, but the many activities which he undertakes.

I would like to see the rates increases held to the cost of living or less.
I would like to see ILT being more responsible by closing their establishment by midnight or a little later and not staying open until early hours of the morning.
There are so many things I would like to see happening. Budgetting, Environment, inner City, South City and on and on.
Finally perhaps I would like to see a form of referendum when very large sums of the ratepayers’ money is involved.
No not finally alas. I would also like to see more open Council Meetings.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Invercargill Candidates Surveyed

I surveyed local candidates on ten questions relating to local, national and global issues that impact on the people of invercargill. They were also given the opportunity to put forward their main interests and reasons for standing. Not all candidates had an available email and not all bothered to reply, but I appreciated the efforts of those who did. I can see this could be a useful forum for displaying the views of our politcal leaders on key issues and to provide a way of assesssing their future performance, will they walk the talk?

If non respodents still wish to be included I am open to adding their responses.

BSprout



INVERCARGILL CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATE’S SURVEY.


1) Would you support Invercargill joining the Communities for Climate Protection Scheme (http://www.mfe.govt.nz/issues/climate/sectors/local-govt/ccp-nz.html) as the Southland District Council has done?

L. Abbot: YES

K. Barkley: Yes, but I want to know more regarding this!

K. Crowther: Yes

A. Dennis: I know very little about this scheme, but if it can make a measurable difference and it is fair to all, then I would seriously consider it.

W. Harpur: Yes

J. Kruger: YES. In fact, I personally organised for the CEO of CCP to come down and address Council in 2006 (and also invited ES and GDC to join the workshop too), and EECA later that year. I was not successful at that stage in persuading Council to join, however was successful in getting Council to agree on doing a comprehensive energy audit of council building and utilities (first phase complete of admin building, Civic Theatre and Splash Palace. Phase 2 underway). We have recently also adopted an Energy Policy for ICC, which includes not only seeking cost savings, but also reducing our carbon footprint. With these key steps underway, Council is arguably already doing the basics that any CCP council would be doing. I hope the new Council will see the advantages of joining CCP.

D. Ludlow: Yes

P. McIntosh: Yes definitely re my policy to Southland Chamber of Commerce re climate protection/change.
I am very aware of the Climate change debate and believe we the council need to lead the way to help protect the fall out of this problem in the future.
i) We need to operate our various administrations and LATEs by working to save energy in mind. Saving with the use of electricity and travelling by making sure only necessary air trips are taken which use up valuable carbon credits
ii) We need to gradually replace our petrol guzzler council vehicle with cars etc that are more efficient in fuel etc iii) In consents for heating etc we need to be aware of NZ guide lines for heating of homes.
iv) Council could assist those on low incomes with low interest loans who have in their homes very inefficient heating such as open fireplaces, to be replaced with more efficient environmentally friendly heating. v) Council could offer an encouragement for landlords to also look providing tenants with environmentally efficient suitable heating.
vi) Council should encourage all new homes built to include solar heating for their hot water heating, making developers aware of the government assistance available to assure such outcomes 7) Continue with the city infrastructure in storm drainage programme which will help to assist any problems in the future when we other deluge of rain such as we had in 1984.

2) Would you support greater levels of funding for public facilities such as the swimming pool, art galleries and parks, and which facilities in particular do you think may need the most support?

L. Abbot: I will support the necessary infrastructures, amenities, and recreational (inclusive of sports and arts) pursuits as a prime requirement of citizen’s welfare.
These become a priority before any acquisitions of out of area assets? ( i.e. power line company purchases) I do not favour empire building.

K. Barkley: We have great parks and facilities within the City Centre but I feel we need to develop more of our outer ones, but I'm open to suggestions!

K. Crowther: Yes and I would like to see the facilities more accessible to families and in cases like the Swimming pool affordable

A. Dennis: I think that the present level is about right. We are fortunate in having community funders such as ILT and Com Trust.

W. Harpur: No, all the consultation and submissions suggest that these facilities are already adequately funded.

J. Kruger: There is an ongoing tension between user-pays and affordability. I am interested to see public facilities (sports, arts, leisure) very well used and appreciated, and will seek to continue to find fairer ways of achieving the correct balance between 100% user pays fees and fees subsidised from rates. Compared to other cities, our city council does not pay much towards sports and arts. Notwithstanding the existence of the ILT and CTOS, it is possible that Council should make greater investments in sport and art. However, rather than promising greater levels of funding at this stage, I am first wanting to make sure we are using the existing levels of community funding smartly. Towards this end, I have personally advocated for and participate on a new, collaborative sports / arts regional facilities group (comprising ICC, GDC, SDC, CToS and ILT). Some of the ideas being explored by this group is how to get greater synergy not only around capital development costs for regional facilities, but also how to optimise operational funding so that as many people in our community can afford to benefit from the range of wonderful facilities and programmes we already have available.
Per head of population our Parks are the most generously funded in NZ. I would not be advocating for any more funding for parks, but would entertain a redistribution of existing levels of funding following community consultation about how best to ‘cut the cloth’.
The Regional Heritage Committee (a joint committee of ICC, GDC and SDC), which collects and distributes a regional heritage rate from households across the whole of Southland, is a model that I think has potential for the sports / arts sector too (at a regional level). This RH rate is distributed to the Southland Museum and Art Gallery, a mix of Heritage Collections in Gore, and Bluff and Riverton Museums. The remainder is distributed as grants to small museums across the region, and projects that help preserve the Stories of Southland.
Personally I wish to see the SMAG not focus on visual arts except where these inform their telling of the Stories of Southland. I would like to see Anderson Park become the main centre for visual arts in Invercargill, with regular displays also arranged in suitable satellite centres in the CBD.

D. Ludlow: On a case by case basis. The pool and parks I would be hesitant about. The pool is more of a business unit and we already spend a substantial amount on parks and reserves. Naturally, I have a keen interest in the arts and support the Arts Policy put together recently by Mark Winter.

P. McIntosh: Yes by lobbing my fellow councillors to keep Rates, Council charges and Power costs re EIL to a reasonable level so all business and the community could plan to look forward to a future.
By advocating council behave always in a accountable and transparent manner in governance …by regular public consultation especially when large sums on money is to be spent
By advocating council stick to their knitting by doing what the community expects of them and leave private business to do what the community expects of private business.
Expect council staff to be helpful and supportive to our business community when they have problems in which council can assist.
Other than that I am open to persuasion for anything else you consider important for Council via business.

3) Do you think the City Council could do more to support local businesses and if so what?

L. Abbot: What support do local businesses seek? I am happy to consult and work with them, and their agencies i.e. chamber of commerce, Vibrant Southland and individually.
I would like to see support for the liquor mandate in the city and would encourage a civic pride and responsibility from all.

K. Barkley: Yes we need to do more to support small local businesses as we seem to be having a high turn over of them!

K. Crowther: The continuation of keeping the inner city beautification programme going and working with other authorities to encourage new business to come to the South.

A. Dennis: Encourage inner city development rather than satellite. Use local services when possible.

W. Harpur: No, Venture Southland is the council’s agency and in collaboration with New Trade and Enterprise adequate support is usually found, council also has an active policy around land acquisition and disposal to accommodate business growth.

J. Kruger: The most important thing we can do is ensure that our CBD and existing shopping centres remain vibrant, attractive and full !!! This needs to be supported by a District Plan that sees retail development enhancing the viability of the existing business centres. Uncontrolled sprawl will compromise the integrity of the CBD. Seeing lots of empty shops is not the sort of CBD experience that we want!
Business should not be made to subsidise residential ratepayers (nor visa versa). Targeted rates are a fairer tool for collecting revenue than differentials (which are currently used).

D. Ludlow: We already do a great deal to support businesses (for example, a $75,000 annual grant to Vibrant Invercargill and funding Venture Southland to promote and attract events and visitors. I don’t think we should subsidise business.

P. McIntosh: Yes by lobbing my fellow councillors to keep Rates, Council charges and Power costs re EIL to a reasonable level so all business and the community could plan to look forward to a future.
By advocating council behave always in a accountable and transparent manner in governance …by regular public consultation especially when large sums on money is to be spent
By advocating council stick to their knitting by doing what the community expects of them and leave private business to do what the community expects of private business.
Expect council staff to be helpful and supportive to our business community when they have problems in which council can assist.
Other than that I am open to persuasion for anything else you consider important for Council via business.

4) Would you support the city becoming more bicycle friendly?

L. Abbot: YES very definitely.

K. Barkley: Yes, but I do feel there has been a lot done as far as cycle lanes and the like. I would really like to see more use and better time tables for the City buses !

K. Crowther: Yes more cycle lanes would be a good idea encouraging safer use on the roads.

A. Dennis: Definitely.

W. Harpur: Yes

J. Kruger: Yes – but this will come at significant expense so needs careful and considered planning. The theory and the reality must also be weighed up carefully as the weather is not conducive to cycling at all times of the year. We need to consider the cost against other community priorities. If cost wasn’t an issue – absolutely! I tend to think it is better to have all or nothing…..cycle lanes that ‘run out’ at some point, after which cyclists then have to negotiate vehicle traffic, seem silly to me. The river bank and Sandy Point cycle tracks are awesome and should be well maintained for community use.

D. Ludlow: I believe we already are. Have you noticed the substantial bicycle lanes on the main arterial routes? We have a BMX track and Mountain Bike area. The problem lies with ignorant vehicle drivers and the fact that our climate is not always favourable to riders.

P. McIntosh: Yes definitely
It’s my long term personal plan to get myself a bicycle …I am very keen to see the walkways extended even if possible if money was available to start the City to Stirling point walkway.

5) Do you think more should be done to improve the South City environment and if so what?

L. Abbot: I have campaigned on this issue, and will short answer it, I believe that ALL of Invercargill should become area proud and that beautification, incentives to shop owners, plantings, encouragement to clean up old vehicles on sites, renovate character homes ( of which there are many) street maintenance etc etc in the South area should be encouraged and led by Council. The Public consultation AND involvement with the south residents is essential.

K. Barkley: Yes this area of the City needs attention, Clifton needs the sewerage plant problems sorted-this will be one of my main projects. I will make sure it is up to the capacity the City needs as its suppose to be able to handle a population of 80K and are we are nowhere near that yet. I think the South City and the City in general needs to be encouraged to make sure we don't develop slum areas!

K. Crowther: Yes better use of vacant section and development of land that is at present not being used to its full potential.

A. Dennis: There are many projects and initiatives under way. The best being an urban renewal concept plan by council staff. Most important for the local residents to take real ownership, or any plans are doomed. All parts of our city should receive equal attention, not just the south.

W. Harpur: Yes, although this needs to be a partnership between council and the residents of South City,

J. Kruger: Yes – every part of our city should be known as a desirable place to live. It breaks my heart when new residents get advice to live north of Tay Street! I have personally ensured that South City is on the council agenda following several community meetings. To date we have proposed new rules for the District Plan to stop houses being dumped in South Invercargill and we have a new bylaw giving council more teeth in relation to unkempt sections and derelict homes. Public submissions will be heard by the new council and I hope to see them adopted by Christmas. Council has demolished several dangerous (and unsightly) houses in the last 2 years.
The process for developing the South City Concept Plan is now on the table formerly, which will include the location of the exeloo public toilet. Residents are able to ring the parks dept directly to ask for curbside trees. The SE entrance will be beautified by the Parks Dept, and the Russell Square Reserve has been opened up to foster greater security for families using the area.
I still think Elizabeth Park needs more thought – it is great area but prone to vandalism. Building a sense of community is important too, and Council will continue to advocate for Neighbourhood Support Groups to be established in South City. Council can do its bit, but the local residents need to do their bit too. For example, locals wish to see a Paddy’s market. This needs to be driven by the community. While Council, through Venture Southland, can provide advice, the actual initiative needs to be taken by the community themselves. I will continue to advocate that some VS events, such as Kidzone and Shakespeare in the Park, also use venues in the South.
As for the smell at Clifton, that simply has to be sorted! Council has, once again, allocated significant funds towards technical solutions for addressing the issue. It is my understanding that there is also an improvement in on-site management practices so that breaches in trade-waste can be dealt with promptly in future.

D. Ludlow: We are already investigating and substantial rejuvenation project and public toilets, which should be underway soon. In comparison to other suburbs (i.e. Waikiwi, Glengarry, Grasmere) South City is now being well looked after.

P. McIntosh: YES
Re look at the Southern city report presented at the 28 August Council meeting by Mr R King and P Gare council planner after virtually NO public impute …and passed by most of the council as a late addition, in which the recommendations for most was NO FURTHER ACTION required.
Hold the Focus meetings with community as promised re South City meetings three years ago.
I will advocated the development of the Kew wasteland behind the Hospital into a reserve or if possible a community park.
Clifton sewage problem - permanently fix the problem.
Lobby for the use of endowment funds to assist with the rejuvenation of Appleby area.


6) Do you support kerbside collection of green waste and do you think Invercargill should join the 48 other New Zealand councils that have set a zero waste target (www.zerowaste.co.nz)?

L. Abbot: YES

K. Barkley: Yes I do. We also need to look at getting food scraps processed so they don't end up in our Land fill, making BAD green house gases! These two (green waste and food scraps) could be composted or made into an Energy Source .We all need to do far more in reducing what goes to the tip. More needs to be done to recycle or better to not produce the waste in the first place!

K. Crowther: Yes

A. Dennis: Yes

W. Harpur: Yes

J. Kruger: Council has asked staff to do some homework on a kerbside collection system for greenwaste. I do not have a position on this yet, as cost will be an important consideration. I also wish to ensure that local companies that do this service already are not compromised by any council decision, but rather invited in to consider some form of partnership should the idea proceed. Greenwaste is not permitted in wheelie bins. Last time Council set transfer station charges, I unsuccessfully advocated that green waste should be accepted free of charge at the transfer station as should encourage residents to keep beautiful gardens as this adds to a sense of wellbeing that can’t be achieved by concrete slabs! I will keep advocating for no-charges on greenwaste to the transfer station. I nonetheless accept that some less mobile residents will find even this a challenge and that some alternative will need to be provided for them too.

D. Ludlow: Yes and yes.

P. McIntosh: Yes I presented submissions on this and other ideas re user friendly rubbish collections such as a return of the annual kerbside spring non organic collection at the annual plan this year … they replied that they plan to do the green waste collection…. but as yet surprise, surprise it hasn’t happened …they refused the kerbside spring collection of non organic collection.


7) Does the city do enough to consult with and provide facilities for our teenagers?

L. Abbot: IT try’s.. The success rate ? hmmm. I believe that teenagers are underestimated and undervalued. 71% of press reports show them in a bad light, BUT in fact across the whole of the population inclusive of all ages only 8% of ALL peoples are bad.
Doesn’t help the teens much with the 71% ratio does it? There needs to be an education to the critics of teens AND teens need to be listened too, maybe not always agreed with but a compromise can always be accomplished. Dictating older values and ways is NOT the answer. Recognition of their (teens) values, lifestyles, and comprehensions is essential WITHOUT judgement.

K. Barkley: The City Council has a Youth Council, who I thought they liased with, but I went to a “Meet the Candidates” meeting with the Youth and they felt enough wasn't being done. The City Councillors didn't think the Youth were doing enough for themselves, so things need to be talked through with both parties!

K. Crowther: Working in collaboration with other organisations would be of great benefit the one stop shop for Youth and Young People is a great initiative and one the council is involved in.

A. Dennis: Yes. Junior council is working well.

W. Harpur: No we do not consult enough, although we have a youth council it is not representative of all teenagers particularly those not in the school system.
I think Invercargill does have adequate facilities for youth and the general public and we have generous community funders should further facilities be required.

J. Kruger: ICC has a youth council – 13 yrs – 20year olds (or thereabouts). This is an important forum for engaging with teenagers / young adults.
I have also personally gone around to all the high schools (except Verdon College who did not respond to my request) to ask about a youth entertainment facility. The feedback was mixed, but certainly strong enough to say that a youth-focussed entertainment venue (café style, music, art exibitions etc) would be welcome and well utilised. We are talking about something well funded and nice here – not an el-cheapo version! I fought hard and succeeded in stopping Council from withdrawing an annual $20,000 grant for a youth venue, and asked that the funding be re-directed to the Youth Health One Stop Shop (currently under development at former RSA rooms) in the meantime.
The community is needing someone with vision and drive to set up / run / manage a Youth Venue. I am are reluctant to support ‘plans on paper’ – I want to support a person / team with vision and drive, as the success of this will rely on their role / ability, not bricks and mortar only. (We nearly had it, but the champion unfortunately got snapped up by a school into a senior management position.) Do you have any ideas on the right people for the job?
Young people in our city are very appreciative of the Stadium, Splash Palace etc. I get mixed messages about the skatepark – some love it, some want it bigger, some want it less hidden away, and some want an all-weather skate-park.
Inspired by separate meetings with Steve Broad, Gavin Booth, Storm Uru and Angela Newell, I have a vision for a annual Southland Youth Best of the Best Expo, with our best artists (all genre), scientists, business and sports persons having turnabout to receive top-rate mentoring to help them reach and show-off their talents. This will foster and strengthen our local view that Southland’s young people can and will always punch well above their weight! This is arguably a good “Spirit of a Nation” project in my opinion.

D. Ludlow: Yes. We provide an annual $20,000 to the Southland Community Youth Trust, have provided support for the One Stop Youth Shop – alongside the extensive recreation facilities we have for a city of our size. We also have six-weekly feedback from the Youth Council. We listen very closely to their input and have acted on their suggestions.

P. McIntosh: Not sure on this answer …I suspect they do yes but I am open to any discussion on how they don’t do enough for our teenagers ..as in truth I see the sporting facilities they provide for mainly our Youth are very good and they have used ratepayer funds to assist in the set up of the Zero fees scheme of SIT.

8) How importantly do you regard the establishment of sustainable practices for local governments?

L. Abbot: Would encourage and work towards this principle

K. Barkley: Yes, it is important to be sustainable but this needs to also be practicable otherwise it may add costs to our rates, which out ways the benefits!

K. Crowther: This should be an essential part of looking at all new strategic initiatives and development of policies.

A. Dennis: Excellent goal to work towards.

W. Harpur: Very important, sustainability is our future and we need to take a long term view when assessing our needs for the future.

J. Kruger: Critically important – environmental, cultural, social and financial sustainability must be achieved. Projects that compromise sustainability must never be allowed to proceed! Current practices that compromise sustainability must be stopped / changed asap!!!

D. Ludlow: I haven’t considered it a great deal, but the principle is good.

P. McIntosh: Yes I agree .. re Peak oil its very important …I understand Bluff has a problem re public transport would be interested in seeing maybe a mini bus service re Bluff set up via In-gill transport

9) Should Invercargill do more to promote public transport and would you support improved accessibility for elderly and disabled users?

L. Abbot: YES. And would look towards sponsorship from local business/corporates to the expansions of services and facilities (great profile for the participating business’s).

K. Barkley: We need to make our Bus Service work better and get used a lot more. Fuel is getting dearer and may be shorter in supply, unless they strike it BIG time in the South Basin? There is access for the elderly and disabled through a subsidy with ILT, ICC & Taxis.

K. Crowther: Yes the free bus service is wonderful but not always accessible to the elderly or disabled but there are other ways that these people can be assisted.

A. Dennis: I am not aware of any concerns in this area, would of course would be happy to consider any improvements if required.

W. Harpur: This is a complex issue, our relatively small population and flat sparse city does limit our ability to promote public transport in a cost effective manner, I doubt our current public transport is efficient.

J. Kruger: There is a need to tackle public transport between Bluff and Invercargill. This is a priority. Key is determine what is perceived need, and what is real need.
The Invercargill freebie bus service has recently been reduced due to cost constraints – while I can live with the reduced hours, I am watching whether the revised inner-city route will disadvantage elderly and disabled users (a matter I raised when the decision to reduce the route was discussed at Council).
The city has access to low floor buses and we get good feedback from elderly and disabled users (and mothers with babies / prams).
In regards disabled persons, the city runs a very good Total Mobility Scheme whereby passengers only pay 50% of each trip made – which is a good level of subsidy. Again, Bluff could be at a disadvantage as a trip to town is a more significant cost and the subsidy cannot exceed $25 per trip.
While public transport is a good ideal, it is important to balance the theory with the reality. Invercargill residents don’t drive for miles, or sit in traffic for long periods. We do not have major congestion issues either. So public transport needs to reflect the needs / lifestyles of our community. We do not have to find a big-metropolitan-solution to our city’s public transport needs. That’s not to say we shouldn’t be more sensible about using cars, wasting resource etc.

D. Ludlow: We keep trying, but transportation has to be cost-effective. Regarding elderly and disabled, we have already begun to introduce kneeling buses.

P. McIntosh: Yes I agree .. re Peak oil its very important …I understand Bluff has a problem re public transport would be interested in seeing maybe a mini bus service re Bluff set up via In-gill transport.

10) Do you think the City Council should play a greater role in improving
the energy efficiency and insulation of Invercargill dwellings?

L. Abbot: YES I understand that representations have been made to council by energy related trusts, I am not privilege to the council’s position on this but my initial reaction is that council should consider the provision of long term perhaps even no interest loans to implement schemes. Maybe some of the well touted dividends from Electricity Invercargill could be applied to this cause?

K. Barkley: Yes they have done it in Bluff and there is Govt money to help. I think so, yes!

K. Crowther: The Warm House initiative is a great idea and should be included in our future planning so that homes in the Invercargill area meet the Safe Homes standard.

A. Dennis: Yes. Makes good sense. Saves energy and improves quality of life. It is a real issue in many older homes and those built with little thought given to insulation and heat retention.

W. Harpur: Yes, I think council needs to take a very proactive role and encourage the community funders to join with it in improving the cities housing stock.

J. Kruger: YES. ICC has already listened to submissions from agencies such as Bluff Healthy Homes and the PHO advocating some council partnership with them to achieve healthy homes in the city. I do not believe that we should be raising rates to fund these initiatives, but Council has an enormous role to play in advocating / promoting these sorts of initiatives, and assisting in-kind eg. making grant applications / holding funds, minor administration etc. There is great opportunity for ICC to advocate that EIL makes healthy homes a key part of their funding agenda.

D. Ludlow: Supporting and promoting it – yes. Providing ratepayer funds for it – no. We are investigating ways of accessing funds that will progress this though!

P. McIntosh: Yes …re above climate change policy.

Please also describe what particular areas of council business interests you as a candidate, and what the real issues are for you.

L. Abbot: My area of Council Business is to be a VOICE .. Not mine but of the people, the people that have concerns, issues, criticisms, comment s and solutions. I am NOT that naïve to suggest that I will agree with them all. BUT there’s always compromise. I believe that elected members have to recognise just that….that they are elected as representatives.
Personal agenda’s and grandstanding are not my intentions. OPEN honest dialogue round the table and in committee are. I abhor the numerous and in my view unnecessary occasions that decisions affecting the ratepayer/citizen are made away from public scrutiny. I want to be satisfied that council is operating within it terms of
Obligations and that Audit reports and the like with their criticisms and recommendations are adopted. Further to that I would like to see that these criticisms of bad fiscal management and services desist immediately.
I have concerns about the suggested expansions of line company portfolios, that concern being that in the future the commerce commission may legislate and the “ring fenced” guarantee’s may fail and inevitably be a cost to the ratepayer.
City pride and public safety are a catch phrase BUT problems do exist and responsibilities should be addressed. i.e Host responsibility BEYOND the doors of the establishments that provide liquor and entertainments.
I COULD FILL MULTIPLE PAGES……..with other issues and concerns
i.e. rates indexed to the CPI or 5% whichever is the least
Budget constraints for ALL staff and elected representatives
Public information’s and accountability…. etc etc

K. Barkley: To conclude there are several areas I want to see vast improvements with:
Firstly I want to see a more open Council, less of this behind Closed doors stuff as it's the RATE Payers Money they appear to be wasting .
Then I feel the City has MAJOR infrastructure problems #1 Sewerage #2 Enough Fresh Clean Drinking Water #3 Roading being done to very poor standard, just Look at Stead Street by airport and street marking Lines (I don't know what they are using these days but it doesn't last much over 3 Months and needs redoing at what COST to the RATES?). There are lots more!
I want to get the Airport sorted out so that it's used as an International Airport with out paying excessive salaries to run it as at present!
I feel that, as a councilor, we should "NOT" be also on boards of other funders eg: ILT , Community trust , Venture Southland as these would be a conflict of interest.
I'm standing also for SDHB but I hope this is not seen as a conflict . As I have major concerns about the way our run down health care is heading with less & less services at Kew and having to travel to Dunedin for treatment and to see specialists!
As far as employment goes, I feel we need to be bringing new businesses to Invercargill & Southland , not more of what we already have (eg Meat Works & Dairy Factories) even though these are good employers they are only going to take jobs away from what is on offer at Alliance , Blue Skies etc .
I Want more new jobs for our young so we can keep them here and not lose them. We need to look better at what we are doing instead of just thinking “Ah great it's a business” - we need new jobs! "

K. Crowther: I will work to see a greater collaborative relationship between all the local authorities especially the Southland District Health Board to ensure that all the community has access to the services and infrastructures that support a healthy and safe community and make this city and its surrounding areas a place of choice and a great place to live raise a family and spend our retirement years.

A. Dennis: Works and Services.
Res. Management Issues.
Finance and Policcy Making
Environment and Planning.
Issues; Budget,Attracting viable business to our city which leads to job creation, i
improving CBD, Developing the many empty and fully serviced sections in our city.
Creating more walk and cycle pathways.

W. Harpur: My particular areas of interest are community development and financial management, I believe council often thinks it is its job to do everything whereas it has a stronger role in supporting the community not replacing it. I support good quality spending and want to ensure we are as efficient as possible.

J. Kruger: We have majorly expensive but necessary infrastructural costs coming our way. Our community, on average, is not wealthy. Affordability is key. We need to be smarter about how we use the resources at our disposal. Greater efficiencies are achievable through greater collaboration / shared services with neighbouring local authorities. This must be a priority rather than ratcheting up rates.
Our asset planning and financial planning / policies / procedures need attention too. The community must not be lulled into thinking that gung-ho decision making a sign of progressive and positive governance. Council must insist on complete, accurate and robust information before it makes any major decisions. Piece-meal, ad hoc decisions are a recipe for disaster. Progressive and positive councils will always insist on good planning!

D. Ludlow: I prefer to face things issue by issue and come from the perspective of the regular blue-collar ratepayer who has objectives of:
- fairness
- an open mind
- value for money
- common sense
My vision is for a city where there is continued growth in both population and economic prosperity, and for continued development of our District Plan that clearly defines where certain activities (domestic, commercial and industrial development) can occur.

P. McIntosh: Accountability and transparency ..public consultation before any major decisions made regular community focus meeting before the annual plan and after to show how the plan is progressing. Listening to the community and its problems re Clifton sewage.
Lobby for the Audit of our city finances to be completed ASAP.
Lobby for HOLDCO to be disbanded and the LATES to stand alone reporting directly to council every three months ..sale assets that are not core assets such as our Forestry and Cook Adam building.
Personally I want to lobby for the walkways to continue and the development of the Kew wasteland.
Election reform STV voting and BCIR with our council.
Lobby via Local Government conference for low interest loans from our Reserve bank for essential local projects we need to implement i.e. sewage ( this was done with Farming industry re in the 1960s-70s) This will help to keep our rates at a reasonable level.
Facilitate community initiatives to encourage community social interaction for the betterment of a happy and peaceful community.