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« OUR VIEW: Onus on new face to deliver in council | Main | Christiansen does many things able-bodied people cannot »
Monday
Oct112010

Tony Christiansen: Looking forward to shaking things up

Someone has to hold Tauranga City Council accountable - and newly elected councillor Tony Christiansen says that man will be him.

Newly elected councillor Tony Christiansen is looking forward to shaking things up at Tauranga City Council after a sweeping victory. Photo: Sam AcklandMr Christiansen is one of three new city councillors elected Saturday after gaining a landslide 10,862 progressive votes At Large and he has plenty of fire in his belly.

Since losing both his legs in a train-shunting accident when he was 9, Mr Christiansen has built an exciting and varied life for himself.

Mr Christiansen has worked as an inspirational speaker, raced at speedway and drag racing, qualified as a lifeguard, gained a black belt in taekwondo, learnt to fly and climbed Mt Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest mountain.

Mr Christiansen told the Bay of Plenty Times he planned to hold the council's bureaucratic decision makers accountable, especially focusing on "an excess of over-spending in council on wish-list things".

"We are not really looking to sort the core services out any more," Mr Christiansen said.

"The storm water situation is an example. In 2005, we had the floods and it couldn't cope.

"We are still behind the 8-ball. We are always playing catch-up."

Mr Christiansen said the over-spending was not balanced out by rates and it needed to be "sorted out".

"The council have had minimal rate increases over the past 10-15 years, they have just been buying votes and meanwhile debt has gone up $300 million.

"If we were a business we would be broke."

Mr Christiansen referred to some former councillors who were too focused on inner-council bickering instead of the real issues, like the downtown city that suffered under "bad decisions".

"There are some changes that need to be made."

Mr Christiansen was excited he and fellow new councillors Larry Baldock and Terry Molloy, now had the chance to make them.

"I have never been the person to sit down and complain about things and not do anything about it," Mr Christiansen said.

"I have spent my life dealing with difficult situations. I was run over by a train when I was 9 years old.

"I could have chosen to spend my life in a cupboard - or make something of it.

"It's time to bring something back to Tauranga."

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