I'm a first term Councillor and proud of my first three years. My biggest achievements was introducing 2 hours free parking which has played a part in revitalising the central city. I've had to battle to make free parking happen and I will continue to battle to ensure the council doesn't stop it.
As chairman of the River Plan Task Force I am passionate about opening up the central city to the river and we are on the verge of making this happen.
I am married with four children, I'm a journalist, a former deputy editor of the Waikato Times and editor of Waikato Business News. I'm a writer - I've published two books - and my wife Julie and I also co-own The Hamilton App, a community news and information service.
If re-elected, I'm really excited about achieving more for Hamilton.
A city with a flourishing central city that truly interacts with its river through numerous jetties with great access to Victoria St, superb river views, a pedestrian and cycle bridge and attractive places on the river to eat and drink.
A city with affordable and plentiful quality housing and with quality parks and recreational facilities.
A city providing a variety of transport choices other than cars – much better utilised public transport, off street cycle lanes and pedestrian walkways.
Above all, an inclusive city whose citizens feel great about their home.
What’s your vision for Hamilton? People are going to continue to come to Hamilton to live whether we like it or not. At present we are welcoming something like 40 new Hamiltonians each week.
The key is managing this growth so we grow in a sustainable way that feels good for our citizens and won’t disadvantage us in future years by being expensive or causing congestion.
There are two key points to this: ensuring amenities like parks and recreational facilities are never compromised and ensuring great public transport links are available where the biggest population is going.
The new Peacocke suburb is for me a good example of managed growth. Transport in and out will accommodate bus lanes, cycle ways and pedestrian paths from the outset and plenty of room is being set aside from the start to ensure great river frontage and park land. It will be a great place to live.
I think I’ve already done one of those things by leading the move to bring in 2 Hours Free Parking in the central city in my first term. I campaigned on that three years ago because I knew it would make a difference in changing perceptions of our central city. It has and I’m proud of it.
Secondly I have this fantasy about encouraging our developers to stop building subdivisions where although people are neighbours, they usually remain strangers. It seems to me that the design of many of our new suburbs encourages solitary living. I want to see subdivisions built that bring back a true sense of neighbourhood and community – where kids can play in the street and everyone knows each other. Wouldn’t that be nice?
I would also love to see Hamilton offer its citizens a free central city street party every month to encourage a more open, social and inclusive Hamilton.
I’ve been involved a lot with transport on council in the last three years so I see opportunities there. Traffic congestion is getting worse – already we have 50,000 people commuting each day into the city from outside our boundary and in 30 years that will rise by 50 percent. At current rates, Hamiltonians will own 66 percent more cars in 25 years so if we don’t do something you can imagine the congestion then!
I think an opportunity lies in creating a transport system that truly services the city and region. It will probably come from a whole variety of options - car share, driverless cars, e-bikes and scooters, electric buses within Hamilton and light rail between Auckland, Cambridge and Te Awamutu.
I would like to see a lot more neighbourhood days throughout the community. Neighbourhood days we held in Glenview, Nawton and Rototuna over the last year were extremely successful and seemed a really good way of reaching people. We should hold many more of these – but smaller. I think the key is to keep them small and localised and to make them fun.
What about a regular Open Day at the council where people can come through freely and see what it’s all about and where things happen? The Mayor, councillors and staff could host it.
Personally my other one is door knocking. I try to get out whenever I can just to chat to people in the West Ward.