The Tauranga City Council, with 500 people in its employment, over $160 million in annual revenue and close to $3.4 billion in assets, makes a pretty huge and impressive organisation.
I did not decide to run for Council overnight. It was something I contemplated for quite some time. I also discussed this with my partner Jiun since being successfully elected would change our lives so much. She supported me but said in no uncertain terms, "Please don't become a politician".
I have been in the position for almost 2 years now and I have learnt what I already knew; that I am no politician. Not only do I not know how to play the game, I don't like the game. I have never believed politics to be productive at all and it certainly does not have a place in any City Council.
Unfortunately but not surprisingly, Tauranga City Council at all levels, is a very very political organisation. From the Council Chambers, to Council staff and even within the council-controlled organisations especially the big ones like TCAL and TCVL. And I'm sure that is why we are often deemed inefficient and why some processes take so long. Many decisions are not promptly made to avoid accountability.
I have become aware of the manipulation and I was not pleased when I discovered I made a decision based on incomplete and therefore misleading information. I have observed my colleagues vote for personal agendas, not for the benefit of the people they represent. And it is often too obvious when speeches are made for the benefit of the press in Chambers on a given day.
Perhaps naively, I wear my heart on my sleeve and I say it as I see it. I am not afraid to make seemingly unpopular decisions and I have no reason to speak in the hopes of making tomorrow's headlines. Many people have asked why they hardly seen me being quoted in the media. The answer is simply because it is not a necessary part of doing the job I was voted in to do.
Many of the people who voted for me told me to get into there, kick some butts (pun intended!) and sort them out. I did. Well I tried. But I learnt that it doesn't work that way. I got into "trouble" in more ways than one and was reprimanded by my "boss", the Mayor on various occasions when I became too persistent (or they said, forceful). It was counter-productive because I was accused of harassing the staff.
Those who know me know that I like things to happen or work right away. Imagine how frustrating it is for me on a daily basis. Unfortunately, going through the slow and possibly long processes in addition to dealing with things "diplomatically" appears to be the only way to get anything done and preferably done my way.
So please do not lose your faith in me nor think that I have become one of "them". I haven't and I won't. I have no interest to be a politician. I don't know how to be one.