Speech to Grey Power – 16/8/16

Good afternoon all.

First of all a big thank you to Grey Power for organising this debate. I think that we can all agree that this type of forum remains an important part of a healthy democracy.

I believe that the role of elected councilors is to set the policy direction for council. For example, if I were asked “do I think that issuing consents for Chinese owned water bottling plants is a good idea”, I would have to say no.

Yet staff say that consents are issued on a first come first served basis and that the ‘market will decide’ the best use of our precious water resources. Since when did this become council policy?

I think a councilor’s key responsibility is to make informed decisions. It means becoming educated about the issues we are asked to decide. It means asking questions. Lots of questions. It means getting out and listening to everyone’s point of view. Especially those people with whom we are likely to disagree with.

There are a number of initiatives that an incoming council need to undertake;

  • Selecting a CEO who is going to bring about positive culture change within Regional Council
  • Moving HBRIC into a separate office and out of the Regional Council buildings.
  • Ensuring staff publicly report what resource consent conditions are due that month
  • Review all staff delegations for appropriateness

I wanted to review staff delegations as I believe some some of delegations confuse policy making with making decisions about day-to-day management of council. For example delegating the authority for approval of all resource consents to staff has allowed for consents for water bottling plants and oil and gas exploration to be issued.

So why should you vote for Paul Bailey?

It is hard to ignore the question of the dam. How can an additional 6,ooo hectares of dairying in the Ruataniwha be an environmental benefit? Excuse the pun but that’s a load of cow crap. Why should we put the Port at risk of privatisation by stealth by loading it with debt? Why are we focusing on producing even more low value commodities?

If we want swimmable rivers for our grandchildren. If we want a sustainable future for our grandchildren. If we want a healthy resilient society for our grandchildren then we need to dump the dam.

I believe the Regional Council has been so focused on the dam it is no longer protecting our environment. Resource consent conditions are not being enforced. Resolving the big questions about the future of Hawke’s Bay are being delayed.

But I have a plan. Five simple policies I am campaigning on. I hope you agree with them.

  • Elected councilors should set policy, not council staff
  • The focus should be on environmental protection
  • Swimmable rivers and lakes as a minimum
  • Westshore Beach needs to be fixed
  • The Port must stay in our hands

Finally I have a vision that Hawke’s Bay can be the world leader in using land and water in a sustainable manner to bring prosperity to all.

Thank you for listening, please vote Paul Bailey for Regional Council.

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