Retaining an independent voice for Paekākāariki, community engagement in local issues and keeping council services affordable are the priorities for Paekākāariki Community Board candidate Sam Buchanan.
“Despite its small size, Paekākāariki has an abundance of community-led initiatives and a healthy streak of stubborn independence. The board needs to keep backing these projects and encouraging involvement in community activities and decision-making,” he says.
“I hope we can restore the previous high level of community engagement, and prevent further instances of the council demonstrating a regal disdain for public opinion,” says Mr Buchanan.
“Council spends more and more money on communications, yet the public feels less and less listened to, as demonstrated by the debacles over both water metering and the Coastal Erosion Hazard Risk report. Community engagement can’t be turned off and on like a tap to suit council wishes, nor can councillors rely on showing concern for public opinion only when elections loom.
“Assurances that council debt will not exceed planned levels, together with the stated need to revalue roads to prevent a problematic debt to asset ratio, indicate that the current council has commited us to a dangerously high level of debt.
“I’m all for a creative community, but not creative accounting. We can put a dollar value on Kāpiti’s pretty sunsets, its kereru population or the land under the roads, but this only obscures the debt problem.
“I’d like to thank Carol Reihana and current board deputy chair Helen Keivom for nominating me for the board,” says Mr Buchanan.
Sam Buchanan was made in Paekākāariki. His grandparents arrived in 1953, he grew up there and moved back several years ago. He has a history of flaxroots political involvement that stretches back to the anti-apartheid and anti-nuclear campaigns, has been active in several local community groups and projects, won a couple of prizes in the Local Table cooking competition, and took a leading role in the campaign against the council’s user-pays water scheme.no