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Cancer threatened mayoral plan

By Geoff Vause

[email protected]

South Wairarapa very nearly did not have Viv Napier donning the mayoral chains.

Mrs Napier’s husband Martin knew he was suffering from prostate cancer in January when Adrienne Staples said she was standing aside.

“He had an operation and treatment at that time. Everything was way up in the air,” she said yesterday.

“In the last couple of weeks he’s had as much of a clearance as the surgeons can give anyone, so he’s a very happy chappie.

“He had quite a major operation. It’s looking as though everything is very positive with his treatments and seems everything is clear for now.

“It was quite a tricky time to be making a decision to stand for the mayoralty when we didn’t know what the end result was going to be as far as he was concerned.

“He was very supportive of me doing it and of course I wouldn’t have run unless that was the case,” Mrs Napier said.

“It’s been a good couple of weeks, I have to say.”

South Wairarapa District Council’s new mayor and husband live at Greytown.

They have a daughter who has returned recently from Melbourne with two children and a husband, another daughter in France, and a son who is a golf pro at Mount Maunganui.

Mrs Napier said she feels as though she has a mandate with 1408 people putting her in the mayor’s office.

“The main issue is the Local Government determination early next year.

“There will be a proposal re some sort of amalgamation plan for Wairarapa. That will be the biggest issue for the near future.

“If it’s the three councils amalgamating – who knows if that’s the best option.

“I would prefer to see some sort of shared decision-making for Wairarapa in the things the Greater Wellington Regional Council does at the moment, water management and so on.

“I’m only one part of the council, so it’s about what we want to do as a council.

“We’ve got big projects ahead. The waste water project alone is huge for a small community.”

A Greytown Ward councillor for five terms, Mrs Napier said “one of the key things will be making sure we can work together as a district”.

“There have been some concerns in Featherston they haven’t been getting a fair share of what’s going on so we need to work through that and determine how the three towns can support each other and grow together.

“Tourism is going off at the moment, for example, and we need to know how to do it as a whole district not just individual towns.

Mrs Napier said she was aware she was mayor of three very different towns in Featherston, Greytown and Martinborough and a rural community as well, and each had a strong identity separate from the others.

“You can’t turn all three towns into a Greytown or a Featherston or whatever, you want to be able to let them all shine in their own way.

“We also have a lot of rural people in their rural communities, and our coastal communities – there’s huge diversity here so we have to ensure everyone gets a fair share around the council table.”

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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