Local body elections are being held this year on October 8.
That may seem like a long way off but it will soon come around.
There is going to be a concerted effort in encouraging people to stand this year and then hopefully a better percentage of voter turnout.
Last week, some of our council team organised an opportunity for anyone interested to meet with a couple of retiring councillors and our chief executive. Only a few came along but it was a start to creating interest.
I have decided not to stand for the next term and am happy to share with you my experiences of being a councillor.
I have had a lot of satisfaction in being involved and definitely recommend that you consider it also. We live in a wonderful district and being part of the team that plans the future is a privilege and an honour. I am one of two councillors in the Corriedale ward.
Straight after each election, a swearing in session takes place. At it, each successful candidate takes an oath to work for the whole of the Waitaki district. We place great importance on this and while I might represent a country ward, I support what is best for the whole district.
The district elected a group of councillors for the last term who have worked well together — although seven males v three females is not quite equal. There is a mix of retired and working people and the average age is at the higher end. We have come from a range of working backgrounds and that adds to the diversity of thought within our team.
Last year we appointed a new chief executive.
Alex Parmley has been a breath of fresh air to the council. He hasn’t made sweeping changes but we are looking at what we do, how we do it and are constantly looking for better ways to achieve our goals.
We have been looking at future economic development possibilities and developing a council property strategy. These initiatives are district›wide and cover tourism, housing, employment, infrastructure and more — of course always being mindful that we achieve what we want yet keeping our rates affordable.
We have assessed governance responsibilities and improvements. By the next term, councillors may well be having to spend less time at meetings, having less but better- targeted reading, with even more meetings and workshops open to the public or online for those who may be interested in following council’s deliberations.
It is not all about serious debate either. We do have some fun, as any group should.
One of the things I have really enjoyed is visiting businesses in our district. We have so many good things happening and often very much unseen.
So, if you are at all interested in becoming a councillor, have a go — you won’t regret it.
Bill Kingan is a Waitaki district councillor for the Corriedale ward.