Barry was elected to the Waikato Regional Council in the 2017 by-election.
I have an understanding of the region and the issues facing us. I have demonstrated that I can make a difference and achieve council improvement since becoming a regional councillor in 2017. I have shown competence and achievement in past senior management and governance roles. We have some big challenges ahead and I believe I have the skills to make the Waikato the best it can be for all our communities.
What has the current council (2016-19) done well?
In December 2017 council became the first regional council in New Zealand to attain Certified Emissions Measurement and Reduction Scheme (“CEMARS”) certification for our carbon emissions management and reduction scheme. Council’s performance was comprehensively and independently assessed in 2017 as part of the Council MARK™ local government excellence programme, resulting in an A rating. In 2019 Council launched a flood inundation tool which enables communities to see how and where sea level rise will affect land and coastal areas. This is part of enabling communities to have better information around the effects of climate change. The LAWA (land air water) part of the council website now has much improved detail about water quality across the region in lakes and rivers. Council funded and supported the reintroduction of Kokako to Mt Pirongia. In 2019 council enabled the physically and mentally challenged to ride free on the regions buses.
What has the current council done that you weren’t happy with?
I voted against(carried on a chairs casting vote) the support funding for replacement of Founders theatre to be located in Victoria street Hamilton. Wrong place for children attending performances and no pickup/parking nearby. Also the two independent financial reports said the theatre proposed was very risky and the basis of both the capital costs and the operating costs had not been able to be validated. I am disappointed by my council colleagues inaction to commit to solid statements declaring a climate emergency. I find this frustrating when at least 3 other major regional councils in New Zealand have declared. Our younger generations must be listened too as well as the overwhelming scientific evidence.
If elected, what are your priorities?
We can have clean water and a healthy economy. We are faced with changes in the way farming,businesses and communities use and discharge to water. We need to address these challenges in a pragmatic and practical way which need not be the economic disrupter that some may suggest. I am committed to progressive change. I have led the call to change the outdated council operating systems and I want to see this bedded in effectively over the next term. Council will then operate more efficiently and effectively delivering our services. Within 3 years I would like to see the councils vehicle fleet be substantially EVs. I wish to see the growth pressures from Auckland appropriately managed.