Margaret Forsyth

councillor Candidate

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Introduction

I'm excited to be standing for Council again. I'm looking forward to bringing my experience and skills from my previous roles in education, police, governance and professional sport to serve our community. Alongside the many issues that Council manages, my vision for Hamilton is to be New Zealand's most family-friendly city - for all stages of life. previous experience on Council delivering the Western Rail Trail cycleway, the Bike Plan and raising non-council funds for the Hamilton Gardens, and our iconic Destination Playgrounds has given me great insight into what Hamiltonians want. I'll continue to lead the charge for active community facilities.
Our gullies, parks and open spaces enrich our lives in so many ways. Supporting our natural environments is another of my goals.
Bringing a strong work ethic and much needed common sense to the Council table, I'd love support. Let's win together!

What’s your vision for Hamilton?

My vision is for Hamilton to be New Zealand’s most family friendly city - for all stages of life.

Picture a city that has exciting, engaging recreational infrastructure that activates people of all ages and has beautiful, uplifting, burgeoning natural environments. Picture a city that caters for multimodal transport choices – car, bike, scooter, bus, walking, light train. Picture a city that takes a measured approach to growth so that all people can afford to live here –  entry level wage earners, entrepreneurs, fixed income earners, passive income earners, duel income earners. That’s my vision for Hamilton.  

What do you think is key for managing our city’s growth?

The key to managing sustainable growth for our city is to strike the right balance between planning for and servicing growth on the one hand and prioritising and delivering core services excellently on the other. Without strong leadership it is easy to stray and not get that balance right.  The other consequence of poor leadership is wasteful spending – a recent example of this being the inflated $6.49M purchase of 5 commercial buildings valued at $4.3M in the CBD earmarked for demolition. That’s 51% above market valuation. 

A sense of foreboding came over me when I learnt recently that there is an intention to buy up even more commercial buildings in Hamilton.

What’s the one thing you’d do differently that would make Hamilton an even better place to live?

I’ll stay on course to stop the wasteful spending of ratepayer money on unnecessary purchases and I'll strive to rein in the year on year rates increases totalling over 30% over 9 years. Here’s the reality. Household incomes will not increase over 30% in the same timeframe. Our people need reassurance that living in Hamilton can be affordable again. That’s what will make Hamilton an even better place to live.

 

What’s the biggest technology opportunity Hamilton is missing and how can we make it happen?

The biggest technological opportunities for Hamilton are around alternative transport and AI. We’re already seeing e-scooters on our streets. E-bikes, EVs, driverless trucks, driverless cars, shared vehicle services are either here or just around the corner.

Hamilton can look to smart people and businesses through the University of Waikato, WINTEC, local, national and international IT partnerships, sister city relationships, successful international best practice and model cities to contribute to our growing city’s capability in whatever opportunity we wish to prioritise.

In the not so distant future what will an AI world look like? What will our work day look like? How will we use our non work time? How important will our recreation, playgrounds and open spaces be to our physical, mental, spiritual, social and emotional well-being? How will AI impact on our natural environment? 

How do you think we can get more people interested and engaged in Council?

Go to online voting.  Postal voting is clunky and time consuming and is uncomfortable for a large chunk of the population. 

The feedback I’ve received is that many people believe there is no point in voting. They feel disempowered and not heard. Why cast a vote when the elected members won’t listen anyway? They’ll do what they want to do no matter what we submit.

Earning back the trust of our community will be a challenge but with the right people around the council table, we can do this.

Where can voters go to learn more about you?

Website: https://www.votemargaretforsyth.co.nz/ 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Margaret-Forsyth-for-Hamilton-City-100361261313021/

Other: votemargaretforsyth@gmail.com

*All words were supplied by candidates and copied verbatim