Thames Councillors 
Saturday, September 7, 2019 at 11:34AM
Bill Barclay

There are six candidates for the three positions available who all appear to bring different attributers to the table. But my inclination is towards a mixture of comparative youth and experience.. I have already criticized the predominance of superannuants on our Council – an obvious factor in the reluctance to back the ‘climate emergency’ motion that now places our Council a clear minority of two councils overall, and the only one with shoreline.

This election is the only opportunity we have to bring a little more rationality to the table to ‘face down’ the prime ‘denier;’ who appears likely to return to the Chair. More substantive motions relating to ‘climate change,’ are just around the corner.

Both the incumbents who are standing again – Rex Simpson, and Sally Christie voted for the lost motion, but failed to speak out strongly in its favour – they meekly submitted, and deserve no particular plaudits for their stand. But I would like to emphasize that a great number of contentious issues were discussed behind closed Workshop doors – a device long favored by our Mayors..

My conclusion is that despite the desirability of having experience, on this occasion, we need a completely new slate of councilors, and my recommerndations will become clear in the following.

Here are the candidates in List order:

Rex Simpson – Rex has not distinguished himself in any way that I observed. Some would describe him, as a ‘time-server’ who turns up to meetings and ‘openings,’ but little else. He certainly does not ‘hold his own’ in meetings, and repeats platitudes in his Statement. To describe environmental and climate pressures as providing “some challenges” completely understates the case.

The only attribute that I can detect is that of experience – he knows the systems, but does not show any particular interest in fiscal or governance issues – he certainly does not ask the relevant questions that need asking. My feeling is that he has done insufficient to warrant my support for re-election – particularly when there are younger and more interesting candidates.

Murray Wakelin – An interesting candidate who at least is under 60, with a background of work as an ordained Elim Church minister. He has been on school boards and other community organizations which would stand him in good stead, and he has a ‘good bloke’ reputation in this District where he runs a guest-house on the Coast. He emphasizes his ‘trustworthiness’ in his Statement, which should go without saying!

I feel well disposed towards Murray – I think he is someone who deserves a chance to ‘prove his mettle’ on Council, and show that he can stand up to the more conservative elements.

Sally Christie – Comes into contention ‘under a cloud’ of having been a member of the Waikato Health Board that was removed by the Minister earlier this year and replaced by a Commissioner. The Board has been severely criticized for having failed in its prime duty of selecting its Chief Executive – the only appointment for which it is responsible. It failed abysmally in its responsibility to undertake a thorough ‘background check’ that would have revealed his shortcomings.

As far as I am concerned, this demonstrated shortcoming should eliminate Sally from all elective positions – people have to be held responsible for such an important failures. Her Statement is a litany of blathering that fails to mention this blemish, and I simply cannot recommend her candidature for this reason alone. .  

Robyn Sinclair – I am supporting Robyn because on the one hand, she is the youngest candidate, and on the other there is nothing in her limited record of a negative nature that I can detect. She appears to be supported by Transition Town Thames which is heavily into environmental issues, and represents a group of people who appear deeply frustrated with the amply demonstrated resistance of our current Council to any progressive climate-change initiatives..

Robyn works for Age Concern which should give her real insight into the problems facing the disproportionately aged section of the community, and is well connected to a young vital sector that badly needs representation.

Allison Choppin – A active member of a wide range of Thames organizations, and a background as a finance manager at Placemakers.  Allison is well respected and appears to have a particular interest in Search & Rescue, and in particular the Wanderlust Trust which appears to serve the very useful task of assisting the ‘disorientated,’ which I assume means Alzheimers sufferers.

One thing that impressed me about Alison’s Statement is her reference to the Shoreline Management Strategy – this shows a level of interest in Council issues not demonstrated by any other candidate. I just hope that her claim of “having a practical and balanced approach” does not indicate a willingness to ‘roll over’ in the face of stolid resistance to fundamental change needed on our Council.     

Certainly worthy of consideration.

Martin Rodley – Martin appears an outstanding candidate with an excellent business and community service background. Ten years on school trustee boards should count for something, and his voluntary work with the Music and Drama Society, and Kauaeranga Hall indicates an excellent service attitude.

Martin’s background as an IT consultant would certainly bring a skill to the table that is currently lacking. I am impressed with his Statement, and age, and believe that he would be a valuable addition to our Council..

My first choices for what it is worth would be Martin, Robin and Murray. 

Tomorrow - The Community Board




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