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West bids for the south

South Wairarapa’s newest mayoral candidate Brenda West says it is time for action on crucial issues instead of circular talks with no solutions.

West, who is a current Featherston Ward councillor and was on the Featherston Community Board before that, said it was time to “restore the confidence and faith of our district”.

“I am concerned about our wastewater; in this modern day and time, I can’t understand why we are not looking at an environmental and cost-effective remedy,” she said.

“Instead, I believe we are being pushed into a solution that is 10 years old, not fit for purpose and would never be consented on.

“All three wastewater systems in the South Wairarapa are not compliant.

“It appears that we are doing more talking than we are actually implementing a solution.

“The clock is ticking, and this has cost us too much.”

Unfazed by chaos or challenges, West said she was a “doer” and was not afraid to roll up her sleeves to get things done.

She wanted to continue representing South Wairarapa on local, regional, and national platforms.

“There are times where ideas and solutions work great for cities and metro environments, but applying this in a rural setting just doesn’t fit.

“Those in the room need to be reminded of this and look at the bigger picture.”

She said last year’s miscommunicated rates increase made for a “rocky” time for residents and the council.

“Having experienced the silent treatment after the Long-Term Plan and knowing how awful this was for our communities and those around the table, I am satisfied that the changes to our code of conduct enable our voices, and I like to continue to engage and have robust conversations.

“People that bring their concerns to us deserve to be heard. We are a democracy, not a dictatorship.”

She said because South Wairarapa had a small rating base, the council needed to look at “smarter ways we use our rates”.

“I would like to see a closer relationship between governance and council.

“A close relationship with the chief executive to ensure that governance and council are heading in the right direction would be a great start.”

Having served on the community board and council, West said she had first-hand experience at local government.

“My government and corporate career have enabled me to look at the details, whilst being mindful of looking at challenges from a top view.

“This leads to a good dose of questions.”

She said she had a “genuine interest in people and making connections”.

If elected mayor, West said she would act with honesty, integrity, and respect – “honesty in how we treat and behave with each other, integrity by striving to do our best and respecting the views and opinions of others”.

Candidate nominations close on August 12.

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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