The last 2 months have been an exciting and busy time for me. I have put my name forward for the local body Council elections to become a Tauranga City Councillor. I had intended to do this at the last election but found that it was the wrong time for me in the professional aspect.

Since then, I have become increasingly dissatisfied with some of Council's decisions and actions. Rather than just complaining about it which is not in my nature, I decided to take action. I believe that the time is now right and I can make a positive difference within the Council this term.

The large number of candidates, over 50 people, standing for the 11 positions in this elections demonstrates that I am not the only one who wants to do something about the many issues facing the Council. Of these issues, my main priority is to get back to the basic core services that Council should be providing. We are in a situation now where Tauranga City is so far behind in its infrastructural obligations ie. storm water, sewerage and water treatment, that we will be playing catch up for many years to come.

Running Council is like running a business. But Council has no ‘customers’ – only a population that it taps for rates to meet expenses. In the past, rate increases has been kept to the bare minimum to buy votes. Yet with this limited spend, decisions were made to get involved in non-essential services and unnecessary ‘wish list’ projects using ratepayers money. This has now resulted in a situation where large rate increases are needed just to pay the interest on the money borrowed for those non-essential services. At the same time, many of these Council-controlled organizations like the Tauranga City Aquatics Limited (TCAL) have made operating losses which are effectively funded by ratepayers!

Further, decisions like the new Cosmopolitan Club, the outdoor bowling green at Mount Maunganui and the proposed $7 million upgrade to the Mount Hot Pools are some examples of unnecessary over-spending. I believe the budget can be better spent on projects like the indoor stadium at Baypark because of its great potential to bring in more events to the city to generate tourism and income.

In short, I stand (ok well, maybe sit!) firm with the view that Council should focus back on core services and get them done right! Leave business ventures to private enterprise. We need to restore a city in which we can all afford to live in.