Saturday, April 25, 2015
Frana Cardno, A Great Green Mayor
Frana Cardno passed away on Thursday after tragically being diagnosed with cancer last year. She was New Zealand's longest consectively serving Mayor, having served the Southland District in that capacity from 1992 to 2013 (21 years). She was first elected as a Southland District Councillor in 1989.
My first personal contact with Frana was as the Green Party spokesperson for Invercargill when I received phone call from her early one morning. Frana was very concerned about the potential damage to Fiordland National Park through the proposed Milford/Dart Tunnel and the monorail scheme. We talked for some time as she sounded me out regarding my knowledge of the issues and my commitment to doing something about them. She also wanted to know what the Green Party could do. I could imagine Frana having similar conversations with many other people as she attempted to establish prospective allies and galvanise support for any future action.
Meetings were held in Te Anau that led to the Save Fiordland Incorporated Society and the campaign it fronted. Frana had a leading role in the formation of the society, served on the executive and presented the monorail petition to parliament.
Frana also supported our campaign against Solid Energy's plans to dig up the Mataura Plains for their mad lignite schemes. She closed our Coal Action Murihiku public meeting at the end of our 2013 Keep the Coal in the Hole summer festival. In her speech she expressed her frustration with the ever decreasing ability of councils to meet the needs of the people they served. The Government had removed the "four well-beings" (social, environmental, economic and cultural) from the Local Government Act which reduced the ability of councils to include these in the management of consents. Frana implored those present to write submissions to her council plan that would give them a stronger environmental mandate to counter the Government's narrow agenda.
Frana was a passionate advocate for the things that really mattered and energetically pursued the causes she believed in. It was a privilege to have known her and my sympathies go to her family.