Experienced in risk analysis, Tony is concerned about the effects of council debt especially in a recession.
Positive Change for Hamilton
I have lived in Hamilton for 44 years and can remember when people could afford to buy a home and pay their rates. With average rates set to rise by 54% over the next ten years, these costs will soon be unaffordable.
It is unacceptable that the city I’m proud to call home continues to increase the burden on ratepayers.
I also remain concerned about the deplorable level of council debt and no apparent commitment to reduce it.
As a trusted and effective member of numerous community organisations including Vice-President of the Waikato Winter Show Association, my track record shows I get things done for Hamilton.
I offer honest leadership, commitment and financial expertise and will be part of a team of people making a positive change.
It’s time for new leadership focused on Integrity, Transparency, Accountability and Democracy.
MY VISION for HAMILTON
What’s your vision for Hamilton?
My vision for Hamilton is of a city which people are proud to call home. A city where people can afford to live, communicate with each other, and feel that they have control over their destiny. Increasingly I speak to Hamiltonians who are concerned about the rapidly rising rates and city debt, and are not confident in council decision making. My vision is simple – in order to maintain Hamilton as the great city it is, we must return to a council for, and by, the people. A city where the community is actively engaged in the development of council plans.
What do you think is key to managing our city’s growth?
The only growth that we are sure about under the current plan is that related to debt and rate increases. There is no indication that those people moving to Hamilton can afford the costs of housing in our proposed new suburbs. The 10 year strategic plan has rate rises far in excess of inflation, as well as enormous debt and little population growth to pay for it. The key to managing this is to curb spending and to make existing facilities more efficient.
What is the one thing you would do differently that would make Hamilton an even better place to live?
Listen to the people. Take council meetings into the community at times when people are more likely to attend and thus show transparency in the democratic process.
The council should reflect the wishes of the community through their elected representatives. Increasingly it seems that it is council staff, not the democratically elected councillors, making decisions. Ironically these five questions are an example of this. Questions set and determined by council staff, and which fall outside the legislative requirements of the Local Electoral Act 2001. To make Hamilton a better place to live, the people must not be dictated to.
What’s the biggest technology opportunity Hamilton is missing and how can we make it happen?
Technology can be a wonderful tool to improve communication and engagement with the community. For example, to improve transparency and accountability in council decisions maybe we could erect a simple screen in Garden Place displaying the current debt and how much we are paying for it. This would be updated every hour just like the clock counting down the beginning of the Cricket World Cup a few years ago. Included would be the cost of each major council project, as well as the names of those who, i.) proposed it, ii.) provided the feasibility study, and iii.) voted for it.
How do you think we can get more people interested and engaged in Council?
The community will be engaged if they are well informed, but more importantly they will engage if their submissions actually influence council decisions. We must do what the people have asked for and not just listen to them in a series of organised consultation meetings. Council meetings must be advertised widely, and the content of those meetings and their financial ramifications communicated using simple terms.
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