Why I’m standing for Mayor and Council

I want to ensure that Kāpiti remains the best place in New Zealand to live and raise a family.

In the coming years Kāpiti will experience rapid growth thanks to Transmission Gully. While that growth will bring plenty of opportunities, if it’s not planned for or well managed, it will put even more strain on our already under pressure infrastructure like housing, transport, water, recreational spaces, healthcare, education, and policing.

A little about me

I live in Paraparaumu with my wife Renee and our two young sons Alex and Leon. You’ll often find us down at Paraparaumu Beach where we’ll be taking to our boys to Maclean Park or to the Saturday market.

Professionally I’ve had a varied career that saw me start as a supermarket assistant at high school, move onto being a bank teller after university, and since then has seen me work across New Zealand, Australia, and in London in a range of communications roles for organisations like ANZ, Telstra, and Te Papa, as well as for Prime Ministers Sir John Key and Sir Bill English.

More recently I’ve been involved with the Kāpiti Economic Development Agency also helped lead part of the effort fighting for Victoria University of Wellington to keep its name.

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Why I’m standing now

I believe that with the soon to be open Transmission Gully and Peka Peka to Ōtaki Expressway the Kāpiti Coast is going to experience rapid population growth. The Mackays to Peka Peka Expressway offered a taste of what’s in store for us with property prices and rental costs skyrocketing beyond the reach of many people, especially first home buyers and those on fixed or low incomes.

I have big concerns around ensuring that we have the infrastructure in place to meet the needs of that growth, as we simply can’t build a wall or pretend that it’s not happening. As a council with high levels of debt, we can’t do this all ourselves. We need a Mayor who’s going to be a relentless advocate and promoter of our region to get central government to support and invest in the infrastructure needed to help Kāpiti grow.

There’s also the big question of what happens when these massive infrastructure projects end and the construction jobs from them dry up. There’s a real sense in our business community that Council isn’t prepared for this, a fact highlighted that we have an economic development strategy that’s been left to expire without a new one being ready to take its place.

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More ambition and vision for Kāpiti

I don’t think that our current Council is equipped with the ambition, vision, and sense of urgency to take advantage of the coming growth and manage the issues it will create.

Kāpiti is so much more than a retirement mecca or a coffee stop for those passing through. We’re a diverse district with 40km of incredible beaches matched by even more stunning walks in the Tararua ranges to the east. There’s the vibrant arts and creative scene that runs from Paekakariki through to Ōtaki and numerous IT companies that take advantage of Kāpiti’s easy links to Wellington or via the airport to Auckland.

The soils of Ōtaki and Te Horo grow some of the lower North Island’s best fresh produce. When put in the hands of the talented people in our hospitality sector and matched with our famous craft brewers, they create food and beverage experiences that rival anything you’ll find elsewhere in New Zealand.

On top of this there’s the amazing story that is Kāpiti Island, a sanctuary that’s been returned to as close as what New Zealand was before people arrived as is possible. Combined with attractions like Southward Car Museum, Ngā Manu Nature Reserve, the Wellington Tram Museum, Queen Elizabeth Park, and the Escarpment Track, we’re a district that can cater to everyone.

Better managing the challenges ahead

The challenge with the growth that’s coming is how do we maintain all these unique things that we love about Kāpiti while making the most of the opportunities that are ahead of us.

We can’t stop growth from happening, no matter how much some politicians might tell you that we can. Instead we have to find a way to make that growth work for us while protecting the relaxed and friendly lifestyle we enjoy.

The decisions we make now will help shape Kāpiti for generations to come. I’ll help put in place a community-led approach at Council so together we can better plan for what’s coming and take action on the things that need to be done to keep Kāpiti as the best place in New Zealand to live and raise a family.