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Council contender keen on cracking the whip


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The incumbents on Masterton District Council are spending too much time thinking about things rather than doing them – and spending too much money on advice, says Tina Nixon, who will stand to be a Masterton District councillor this year.

She just missed out last election but has been busy since.

She lives in the Rangitumau Valley and her son, who has just bought land nearby, will move his family there shortly.

Nixon is open about the fact that she is on the National Party executive and her board roles encompass the A&P Showgrounds in Masterton, Wairarapa Water and Destination Wairarapa.

She is a trained journalist, has a background in communications and held several senior roles in communications, marketing and stakeholder management at CERA in the wake of the Christchurch earthquakes.

In the past year she’s been an adviser at Taratahi Institute of Agriculture and the business development manager at Rangitane Tu Mai Ra.

She was the economic development officer at the council for about a year in 2014 so when she looks at the region’s economic development strategy document released last year, it’s mostly a “cookie cutter version” of what consultants Henley Hutchings produce, she says.

“There is not a lot of difference to what they’ve done for us to what they have done for others,” she said.

She estimates the process to get the document probably cost close to $1 million over a three-year period.

It’s been said that much of the funding came from Greater Wellington Regional Council.

She said for a while there was very little iwi involvement in the process to form the strategy but that got sorted by “jamming everyone in a room for a couple of days” last year to come up with a basic concept plan for a Maori tourism development strategy.

She said also Destination Wairarapa had been working closely with iwi in the past six months to work out better ways to support them in developing Maori tourism in Wairarapa. It’s a case of watch this space.

But Nixon says she’s frustrated with the pace of things happening in the Masterton District Council area and her Christchurch experience means “I’m used to making decisions at speed”.

“The CBD programme is too incremental to me. We need some change around that.”

How does a parklet sit within a whole CBD?

“The parklets are a good idea but how do they align with what else is going to happen?”

She says there needs to be more of a cohesive plan “that tells the story around the CBD”.

She also says her vision for water in Wairarapa is wider than just water storage.

She wants to look at “what we can do around conservation and storage that allows everyone to share equally in the benefits of water and also procures water for the future”.

“It is a far bigger picture than just the dam.”

She thinks her experience will help with any applications to the Provincial Growth Fund.

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