After serving as Waitaki mayor for two terms from 2007 to 2013, Alex Familton has his eyes on another prize.
Mr Familton has been confirmed as New Zealand First’s candidate for the Waitaki electorate at this year’s general election.
He is the fourth candidate named to contest the seat, at present held by National’s Jacqui Dean, who several months ago confirmed she would seek another term.
Zelie Allan (Labour) and Patrick Wall (Greens) are the other confirmed candidates.
Mr Familton (75), who was born in Windsor, said he decided to put his name forward for New Zealand First because of the “transparent policies which supported New Zealand into the future and put a high value on volunteers and service to communities”.
“I’m drawn to the policies on education and health which focus on service and security, financial balance favouring producers and a planned future which balances employment for youth, immigration, foreign ownership and infrastructure.
“Our present system is reactive – it needs to be planned and proactive.”
He said the community had been “deliberately misled” by central government on the cost of earthquake-strengthening the historic Oamaru courthouse, which was closed in November 2011 after being identified as earthquake-prone.
He outlined what he would like to achieve for the district if elected, which included a “clearer understanding” between local and central government on responsibilities.
“Water and air purity is paramount, and realistic standards for these resources should be set by central government for all regions.
“I would promote and progress our strong volunteer base, our history and our heritage.
“I would link strongly to the projects which, with our councillors, I was involved with as mayor – Waitaki health, the business park, Friendly Bay, retirement options, the (Alps to Ocean) cycle track and irrigation. Focus on the development of regions is a strong plank of New Zealand First policy.
“Waitaki, because of its rural supportive base, has been a happy place to raise a family, live, love and work. Socially and economically, it has flourished.
“Economically, local business has been positive but central government needs to consider establishing more service units in rural areas, not accumulate them in Auckland and Wellington. Central government should not be blaming local councils for housing shortages (and) regions should not be financing Auckland.”
Mr Familton felt his time as mayor prepared him well for the challenge of becoming an MP.